Chapter 13 Cold
The world was in shock. The world was indeed saddened. And why wouldn't they be? Years ago, Sailor Moon and her scouts had been the heroines that saved them many times. In later years, they took complete control and since then, youma attacks fell. Sometimes, even disappeared. When she married the man who they found to be the King, they rejoiced. Sailor Moon was their queen. Now she was leaving. Returning to the moon and nobody could stop it.
It was time for me to go. I allowed time for people to say their goodbyes. Still some others asked for citizenship on one of the planets. I could not refuse. It was there decision. It was a sad time. For Helios, it helped that his father was always at hand. Trista had yet to visit. For some reason, she did not even know Zane had returned. Venus had vanished leaving her kingdom in turmoil – Artemis held a tentative hold on the economy. Amara and Michelle told me Hotaru was awake and preparing for battle. I had not told Darien, or the other scouts this – it was my burden…Dealing with all of this though, took its toll. After eight months of pregnancy, I had to go in to get my cervix stitched…Darien was given a temporary pass to be by my side while I recovered…Beryl did not waste time to press her advantage…the war had begun.
Darien released her hand when his communicator went off. She was asleep – or seemed to be. "Yes?" he whispered.
"It's Malachite. Youma attacks are increasing. Ten thousand people have died already. We're doing everything possible but we can't hold them off for long."
"Where is Nephrite?"
"He is in the north domain – he has a broken leg but he has managed to stop the attacks there. He's keeping patrol. Zoicite – he's in ICU. He's no use to us in his current condition. We need more doctors."
"More than half of our medical doctors migrated to Mercury, Malachite."
"I know. If this continues, the world will soon be over run and if I know Beryl, she'll be heading for the moon next." Malachite replied.
"I'll be back in a few days-"
"Try to get back sooner, your majesty. One more thing-"
"What is it?"
"My men have been seeing a woman around-she looks like a sailor scout but none of us know her. We've never seen her before."
"I'll ask Rei. Has she sent help?"
"Jadeite just arrived with help. He's currently securing the palace and the south domain. Rei would be more help-"
"You know she cannot help. We have no alliance with Mars. It is enough that Jadeite is here for now."
"I will call back later. Be home soon, Darien-" Malachite signed off.
"You should return and help your people." Serena said to him.
"I thought you were sleeping."
"I know. You need to return."
"They blame me you know-I chased away the scouts. If my world dies, it was because of me. Telling the child I'm dead won't be a lie much longer." He said.
Serena didn't comment on that. "Return to earth, Dark Knight. Fight for your people." Darien looked at her a moment longer than left to make arrangements for his departure. Serena called for Luna.
"Call the scouts together. All that you can find."
"We'll be at a disadvantage without Mina." Luna said.
"We will make do." Serena said sitting up. She held her stomach as a pain traveled from her back.
"You shouldn't be moving around."
"If the earth loses this battle – again – I won't have much of a choice. A new alliance must be made. It will be in our best interest."
"As you wish."
"Call Seiya and his brothers as well. They will be needed." Luna left and Pluto appeared.
"Will you have need of me, Queen Serenity?"
"Watch our backs – give us as much time as we need to defeat Beryl. I won't need you in the front lines."
"I will do all I can."
"Have you been to Elysion of late?" Serena grimaced as more pain rippled through her.
"I do not think-"
"You should stop by." Serena interrupted. "Helios wishes to see you."
"Is this an order, you highness?"
"Do I need to make it one, Trista?" Sailor Pluto stood up and then she was gone.
Serena made her way, slowly and carefully to the throne room. As soon as she sat down, the scouts started arriving. They all bowed low before taking their seats. Rei was the last to arrive.
"I think you know why I have called you here." Serena said. "We need to formulate a new alliance with the earth."
"Is that wise, Queen Serenity?" Amara asked.
"For us, yes. Beryl will make her way here once she is through with earth. We do not have the defenses yet to stage a war. We need to cut her off on Earth. The planets will have ample protection in any case."
"How will we do this?" Ami asked.
"I will speak with Darien. No doubt he will refuse but we must insist. Past trespasses must be forgotten." She said and looked pointedly at Ami.
"If you so order." Ami said.
"I do not order, you Ami. I ask that you put aside, temporarily, your argument with Zoicite and help put an end to the scourge that had destroyed us once before. Look past their ill treatment of us and help them. There are innocents among them."
"I agree with the queen." Michelle said.
"I agree, too." Lita said. The others nodded their assent.
"From what I hear, also, Sailor Saturn has been visiting earth." There was tense silence. "We must do all in our power to ensure she does not destroy us."
"Detain her if needs be. Allow her if she aids us. Watch your backs around her. Do not kill her." They all nodded. "When this alliance is made, report to the generals you were assigned to. Amara and Michelle, aid at your discretion. Seiya will help you." They nodded again. "Return to your planets and begin preparations to leave for earth with as many able bodied and willing people. Strategy is important. Dismissed." When they left, she transported herself to Darien.
"Serena, you should not be standing-"
"Be quiet. You need my help."
"What?" understanding settled in his mind. "I will not have you fighting in your condition."
"Do not worry about me fighting yet. I will not endanger myself or the child. But we need to come to an agreement. Verbal for now – written later. The allied planets and stars have agreed to help you defeat Beryl. We will leave when we're finished."
"You will do what you must to protect the Earth. If your world dies, so does mine. Let us help."
"We are wasting time, Dark Knight. Even now, people die and Beryl grows stronger. Let us help." He watched her silently warring against his desire to protect her.
"Fine but you will not fight unless absolutely necessary."
"Agreed." She sent up a signal to the rest of the planets and stars. "Wait here for two hours. I will have a small army ready for to leave with us."
"You aren't coming."
"Yes I am. I will stay in the palace." She turned away and with her first step she was gone. He waited as she asked and when she returned, she had an army to go with her. "I will get us there. This convoy is too small." She closed her eyes and a light enveloped them. In a few seconds, they were in the palace. She retired to the bedchambers while Darien and her men left to do battle.
Serena paced the room. Reports told her that neither Darien nor Beryl had an advantage. They were for now at a stalemate. Beryl would not keep her peace for long. Even now, Darien had scouts looking for her lair. He needed to draw her out. Serena suspected she would come out if she were present. However, she couldn't just show up. Darien needed to gain the upper hand, force Beryl's hand and get her to come of hiding.
She allowed herself to sleep, drawing on the power of the Crystal to strengthen her enough for what she knew she had to do. No doubt, she would need Venus very soon. She had been seen but she had done nothing to aid or deter Darien's forces. Yet.
She was shaken awake by an explosion that sounded very close to the palace. She dressed quickly and went to investigate. What she saw made her heart falter. Half of the courtyard was on fire and many people were injured, or worse dead. A page entered the room with an urgent expression.
"Nephrite's forces have been driven back, your majesty. Sailor Jupiter is doing her best to give us time to get you out of here."
"Where are we going?" she said not questioning.
"King Darien has prepared a place for you. We will go there."
"Isn't that the front of the battle?" Serena asked.
"Tactical Maneuver. He thinks Beryl knows you're here so he will move you closer to the front. It will divert her for a little while. We must go. We're already evacuating. The injured are all being moved."
"Let's go then." They quickly packed supplies and then they were on their way. Serena's heart bled for the despairing faces she saw. When they stopped to rest, she offered what help and encouragement she could.
Finally, under the cover of darkness they slipped into Darien's camp. "Darien?"
"You're safe, thank god." He exclaimed hugging her.
"You're injured." She said looking at his face.
"Just a scratch. I'll live. You need to stay out of sight. I suspect we might have double agents." Serena nodded.
"How are you doing really?"
"I'm nervous. Beryl is a strong mage. We need to draw her out of hiding or we will never survive this attack."
"Then I think it is time that I fought-" she covered his mouth with her hand to prevent him from talking. "Not yet. I will wait a while longer. Send word to Rei and Jadeite. Tell her to use her reserves. Tell Ami to freeze what she can. Zoicite as well. Beryl will have to react in a few days at the most if she hopes to win. My scouts will not give up." Darien nodded. "Only when she comes out will I present myself. Do not engage her, Darien. You cannot-" he nodded.
"I need to get back to the line. Be safe."
Three says later, Rei and Ami were on a rampage. The youma were retreating. Venus took great fun in aiding this. But Darien's troops had suffered a great loss. Many soldiers had died. Spies were killed without mercy. Darien had fever from his 'scratch' and Serena was nursing him.
"You are a stubborn man. I could have healed that injury and you wouldn't be in bed with a damn fever now." He pouted at her scolding. She had healed the wound but it would take a bit more to get rid of the fever. She predicted once he could move without being dizzy he would be back on the line. As it was, he snuck out that night.
She was pacing in the tent when a soldier ran in. "The king has left to engage Beryl. She has appeared."
"Why that-" she squelched the many words and got herself ready. "Tell the men to hold the line. Malachite is in charge. If he calls retreat, you follow him. Tell no one that I have gone. No one."
"Yes, Ma'am." He turned and returned the front lines.
Serena donned a dark cape and stole away under the cover of the night. This was it. Today would decide if Beryl would win. Today, she hoped to be rid of the woman.
"BERYYYYLLL!!!!!" Darien yelled.
"Darien! You came to see me win! When I am done, I will make you my slave." She cackled and proceeded to send a new wave of youma at the small group Darien had with him. She laughed as her youma died and when one of Darien's men died. Before long, Darien was alone and surrounded by jeering youma.
"You are no match for me, King Darien." Darien sank his sword into the ground and it opened up. Youma sunk beneath the surface where fire consumed them. A powerful wind took away others and still Darien was surrounded. He was tired from fighting and from the fever. He sunk to his knees and they closed in on him. A bright light suddenly enveloped him and the youma pressed away from it. Too late, they realized their doom.
"Beryl, face me!"
"S-Serena!" Darien yelled. "Get awa…" he passed out from the effort.
"SO you have finally come, Sailor Moon."
"We end this now, Beryl!" Serena said and transformed into her Sailor scout uniform, modified so that white fabric billowed around her – a shield for her child.
"I see you have some extra weight!" Beryl yelled in anger. "You carry his child! It should be mine!" she launched herself at Serena who was prepared to fight. Before the attack came, four women were seen standing before her, blocking the evil woman – it was the inner scouts. She watched as Sailor Neptune and Uranus removed Darien from the fray and then took their place with the other scout.
"You'll have to go through us first!" Rei yelled. Without hesitation, attacks were launched at Beryl. A few times she staggered under the assault but for the most part, the scouts were at a disadvantage. In addition to that, Serena was in labour. A fact that she kept to herself. She needed to end this now or all would be lost. Her child would be born only to die.
Suddenly Ami screamed. "No!" Serena yelled as Ami landed on the ground at her feet. "Stay alive, Ami!"
"I can fight no more, but I will hold on." She closed her eyes. Serena transported her to where Darien was. Seeing an opening she fired at Beryl, surprising the mage with the force of the attack. Neptune and Uranus pressed this advantage and knocked her to the ground. Venus, cut off the woman's wings then stood by as the others fought. Serena suddenly felt a presence behind her.
"It won't be long until I have to destroy you, Queen Serenity." She smiled darkly.
"Why? We're fighting for out lives here!"
"It is not enough! Sacrifice must be made!"
"Your power would be better spent helping us." Serena said then grabbed her stomach, barely able to stand from the pain.
"She is eager to enter the world. Will there be one for her to enter?" Saturn stepped back and then Serena turned back to the battle. Beryl was standing amidst her friends – all unconscious. Even Venus. Beryl managed a tired laugh.
"It's your turn, Sailor Moon." She spat. A dark ball was flung her way but a debilitating pain prevented her from evading and she got hit with the full blast. She landed heavily, pain shooting through her entire body. Breathing deeply through the contraction, she remained on the ground.
"Get up! I will not fight you like this! I want a battle with the Queen of the Moon." After the contraction, Serena stood slowly, holding her belly.
Hold on, baby. Just a bit longer. "I will give you your battle." White light emanated from her and she pushed Beryl back. She flew towards her and attacked her with a sword that she called forth. She cut Beryl multiple times only to see the wounds healing before her eyes. Beryl laughed but Serena could see it took its toll.
"You'll lose, Sailor brat and I will have him." Beryl grabbed her by the throat and proceeded to choke her. Serena struggled but Beryl was too strong.
"No, not like this!" But no help came for her. She slipped into unconsciousness.
Darien woke up just as Beryl released Serena, her body slumping to the ground. She wasn't moving. Beryl was standing over her a sword raised above her stomach. "I will cut his child out of you then kill it – better yet, I'll raise it as my own." She cackled and the sword started to lower with rapid precision.
"NOOOOOOO!" Darien yelled. Faster then ever before, he dove for the two women. Knowing he couldn't stop Beryl in time, he covered Serena's body with his – taking the length of the sword. Pressed to the hilt into his back, the tip stopped just above Serena, pricking her skin enough to draw a drop of blood.
"Again!" Beryl yelled. "You take my sword in her place again?" she wrenched the sword from his body his blood covering Serena.
"This time, I do it not for love of you – but for love of her. This time, she will survive." Serena came to on a scream as another, more powerful contraction consumed her body. When the stars in her eyes disappeared, she looked around. There was an uncomfortable heavy weight against her already pained abdomen.
"D-Darien! No!" Beryl was standing a few feet from her and she had an agonized look on her face. "How could you kill him again?" she said more to herself then anybody else.
"I didn't mean to-he jumped to save-no! No! This was your fault!" she held her head and shook it.
Serena was paying her no mind. She shifted until she cradled Darien against her. "Please don't die. Not like this. You were supposed to grow old this time." She cried. He shifted against her.
"Defeat-defeat her. Win, Serena. Win." He said and coughed.
"Stop talking. Save your strength. I can-"
"No-No. Save your energy for this battle and our child. Win." He inhaled with a might effort. "I love you." He said then he closed his eyes.
"No!" She held his bloodied body to hers and willed her energy to him. His heart beat rapidly as it tried to live. "No." She whispered, tears falling from her face unto his. "Don't leave me." She kissed his lips, tasting the blood that stained it. "Darien, please-don't leave me." She wailed in agony as his heart beat once more then stopped. His breath stopped. She leaned over him and cried in agony. Her child burdened her loins, seeking entry into the world but for all the pain she felt there, it could have been a pin-prick. "Please, wake up." She pleaded to his still form.
Suddenly Pluto arrived. "Serenity-" tears were in her eyes.
"Save him, please."
"I cannot save him. Only you can. I will give you more time. You know what you must do." Serena looked at his face and Pluto raised her wand then she was gone. Darien stirred against her bosom and she knew what she must do.
"Darien-I'll always love you." She said and put the crystal against his body. He jerked to life then slipped into unconsciousness. She stood wearily, knowing her child would need to be delivered soon or they would both die.
"My friends, fight with me, one last time." Light surrounded her and she absorbed the silver crystal. Beryl watched in amazement then without hesitation attacked Serena. Using all her energy, she sent dark waves to the small queen. It hit the barrier that was around Serena. Serena waited no more than a breath – she countered forcing the waves back. She stumbled but she held on. The waves were forced back.
"No! No! No!" Beryl yelled as her attack was repelled and light engulfed her. Her scream died suddenly and then she was no more.
Serena succumbed to the pain and exhaustion. She hoped her child would survive.
So now we come to the end of this part of my story. The rest is for me and my friends but I will tell you how the rest ends. Then you will choose who to believe, the account of the queen or the media…
Seiya rushed her to the medical wing of the castle where Ami waited for him with Greg and Taiki. "Put her here. We need to get the baby out now. Prep for surgery." Ami commanded.
In whirlwind, the exhausted men and the one woman sterilized themselves and prepared to do the operation. In ten minutes they were sinking the scalpel into Serena's yielding flesh. They cut through the skin, the abdominal muscles and then baby Serenity was delivered. "Get her to NICU, Taiki. Save her."
"Let's close her up." Greg said. They were about to when her vitals went awry. "Her blood pressure's dropping. Bag her." The nurse did this while they fought to keep her heart beating.
"She's flat lined. Give her a shot of epi. and get the paddles ready!" Ami ordered. "One, two, three, four, five…" she counted as they did CPR. She injected the epi then waited. "Nothing. Paddles."
"Clear!" Greg said. Serena's heart was shocked, her body stiffening and lifting from the table. "Nothing."
"Do it again!"
"Charge to 350."
"Nothing." Greg said. This went on for two more minutes. "It's almost been five minutes, Ames."
"No. Do it again!"
"It's too late. She's gone-" Ami grabbed the paddles from him and charged the thing herself.
"I said clear!" Greg stepped back, his eyes tearing up. Ami delivered the shock but Serena's heart didn't respond. Ami got another shot of epinephrine into her, ordered the nurse to bag her then she yelled. "Clear!" She watched the machine and trembled in despair. Her shoulders dropped in defeat and she turned away to cry on Greg. "No."
Beep Beep beep beep
"Oh-oh my god, she's alive." The nurse exclaimed putting the bag back over the queen's face.
"Get me a tank-" Ami said even as another nurse rolled the tank of oxygen closer and after testing the mask, slipped it over Serena's head.
"She's stabilizing." Greg said tears running down his face. "She's stabilizing."
They watched her a moment longer before finishing the surgery.
Three months later, Serena was allowed to walk around for short distances. She visited her little girl in NICU. She was born premature but she was fighter like her mother. She was already out of the incubator and taking feed from Serena. Today, she found Darien trying to give the child a bottle.
"She doesn't like the bottle." She said rising form the wheelchair. She took the seat he vacated and took the baby. Darien helped her uncover her breast trying to ignore her slight blush. "You shouldn't be walking around yet." She said.
"Neither should you." He countered. He watched avidly as the baby latched on to the nipple and suckled hungrily.
"When do I get to leave here, Doctor Shields?"
"Not for a long time. You still need observation. And so does she. She'll likely leave before you." Serena frowned.
"Hmm?" he said totally absorbed by the whole affair of Serena breastfeeding his daughter. He ran finger over the babe's cheek. Serena felt it more than she should have given the circumstances.
Serena didn't answer.
Sighing Darien spoke up. "I want us to be a family but I won't force the issue. I'm content with whatever you allow me."
"I don't know if I can." She hid her eyes from him lest he use the emotions in her eyes to sway her. Or worse, his eyes could seduce her.
"Don't know what?"
"I thought that I could do it. I thought I could hold on to you until I defeated Beryl. But how can I be sure that you love me and aren't just settling because she's dead?"
He straightened away from her and turned away. "What do you want me to say? That the feelings I had for her are miraculously gone? That I never really loved her? That it's been you all along?" he sighed. "I wish I could but I just don't know. I don't know what was going on in my head? But when I close my eyes and picture a life without you, my heart clenches and refuses to beat."
"And when you think of a life without her?" Darien was silent for a long time before he answered.
"I hurt. But it is not unbearable." He finally looked at her. "I loved the woman she was. The one untainted by the darkness. And I guess I always will love her."
"Then there is no place for me." She stated.
"I never said that."
"I am saying it." She looked up from the baby. "When I think of love it fills me to capacity and then even more so. When I think about how much I grew to love you and-how much that love-that love continues to grow, I think I might burst. There is no place for anyone else where you reside in my heart, Dark Knight." She breathed brokenly.
"And what of Seiya?"
"Indeed I love the man but I could only love him so much. But with you-it was the same on the moon. Back then. Can I then settle for only a part of your heart? How can I share you when I wouldn't allow you to share me? How can I give all when you only give a part?" she was crying by now. "It wouldn't be fair. To either of us."
"You would deprive us both? And this child?"
"Don't say that. I gave all I could to you, Darien. I can't give anymore without giving everything that is me. I can't do it anymore."
"Fate says we should love each other."
"And that we do. We have satisfied fate. Do we dare risk more? My heart can only take so much."
"So I should just let you take my daughter and disappear out of my life?"
"As I said before, I wouldn't keep her from you."
"But you would keep what I crave for from me? You would keep your love from me?"
"That I could never do. I just can't live with you and the memory of the woman that she was in this house. It should be me etched into your very essence."
"You ask too much of me. I am only a man."
"I don't ask too much when I ask for all. The same that you asked of me in our former union. The same that you ask of me now."
"Then I guess-it seems this is the end of our love story."
"No, Dark Knight. Our story will live on. Just not the way we would want."
Malachite was in the hospital bed nursing his broken leg and fractured ribs when Mina walked in. "How are you feeling?" he asked her.
"I should ask you that." She said smiling at him. She jumped up on the bed and straddled his chest careful of his wounds.
"I see you're back to normal." He said scowling.
"You prefer me shooting you with arrows?" she questioned, her bow and arrow appearing suddenly.
"No." he said hastily. "I'm quite fine with annoying cheery Mina."
"Good, because when we get out of here, we're going on our honeymoon." She said.
"But we need to be married to have a honeymoon." He stated.
"Oh, don't you remember? We got married two weeks ago!" she said thumping him then showing him the ring. Indeed, it was his ring on her finger.
"You conniving little-"
"Watch it buster. You're still disabled." She leaned forward carefully and kissed him. "See you soon. I gotta get back home. Kingdom to rule and all that." She said and then she twirled out of the room.
"Serves you right." Nephrite said from the other side of the curtain.
"I bet you were the witness." Malachite said moving the curtain.
"Of course." He moaned in pleasure as Lita massaged his head. "Lita would have killed me if I didn't." he hissed when she pinched his cheek. "You wait until I can move about again." He warned.
"Whatever." She said. To Malachite she said. "If you hurt her again, I will kill you."
"I think she would have first claim on that."
"Glad to see some of us are happy." Zoicite said entering the room.
"Serves you right." Lita said. "You're lucky I even let you live." She said.
"Hmmm." He grunted.
"But don't worry, Ami will come around. With a bit of prompting from Greg. Have you apologized to him?" Lita asked.
"As if she would let me anywhere near him."
"Have you heard of the telephone?"
"This isn't something you say over the phone."
"Trust me, use the phone. It'll be easier on your hide." Nephrite said. "Now shut up. You're disrupting my massage."
Darien had managed to convince her to stay at the palace until it he was comfortable with her progress. She agreed good naturedly knowing this was his way of prolonging the inevitable. Her departure.
She watched him with the baby. Their little girl. The little piece of him she could love unconditionally. She wondered what it would be like to love him a little less. Could she walk away with less pain? Already, her rejuvenating body yearned for that closeness he loathingly gave to her before. In those times, she cursed her beauty and the magnetism between them. And she cursed the same magnetism now. She caught his knowing glance and looked away. It didn't help that he had mastered their mental link and she could no longer shut him out. She had the silver crystal to thank for that. He spared her only in words. He smiled and she had to get up and walk away. A swim would do her well.
One lap. Two laps. Three laps. Splash! She stopped long enough to recognize him then continued her strokes. His presence spiked her energy and she stroked that much harder.
"You'll kill yourself that way. You're not strong enough yet to be swimming so hard." He said and she stopped and allowed herself to float.
"The last time I was in this pool, I almost died." She listened as he made his way to her. "I think I wanted to die."
"For a second. The numbness felt so good. It was a nice reprieve from all the stress. And then I wanted so badly to live."
"Do you know what went through my mind that night?" when she didn't answer he continued. "I wondered how I would go on without you. I wondered who would put me in my place when I was being an idiot? When you slipped away for that brief second, when I couldn't save you for that breath, I thought I had died. And I resented you for making me feel that way. I shouldn't have felt that way when I kept telling myself it was her that I loved." She opened her eyes and looked at him.
"When you opened your eyes, when I knew you were back, I never felt such relief. And it was unnerving. Unsettling. It made me question my decisions and what I thought was love. I'm not good at admitting I'm wrong. And I was wrong for treating you the way I did simply for the fact that you loved me. And for the fact that you made me feel something for you. I was going to try and seduce you into staying with me but that would be wrong."
"Yes it would."
"So I'm letting go."
"I can't bind you to me anymore. I want you to be happy." She started treading water so she could look at him better.
"Really? Yo-you're letting me go."
"Thank you. So I can go home now?"
"If you wish. I ask one thing."
"Can we try being friends?"
She smiled at him. "I'd like that. Very much." She hugged him quickly then swam back to the edge of the pool.
Serena went back to the nursery and found Helios leaning over the crib. "Helios."
"Your majesty." He took a knee and tried to hide his blushing face.
"She is a bit young for a boyfriend." Serena teased.
"I was-I didn't-I should have-"
"Calm down Helios. You can visit whenever you like."
"But do me a favour, when she is old enough to notice boys, give her a chance to choose."
"I would never take away her choice. No matter how my heart beats for her."
"We'll hope she chooses you though. I already like you as my son." She hugged the kneeling boy. "Now go spend some time with your parents."
"I left because they are-uhm- spending time alone." He blushed.
"Oh. How about you go visit Rei. Her daughters wouldn't mind seeing you."
"They are tiresome." He complained.
"IT will be training for Small Lady. She'll be a handful."
"Very well." He said then vanished.
Speaking to the sleeping baby, she said. "Maybe I can start dating. Zoicite is available."
"I'd break his legs." Darien sung behind her.
"That isn't something a friend says." She countered looking at him.
"How about you try dating someone I don't know."
"I'd have to leave this galaxy to do that, Darien."
"Very well. Date someone who is not a member of my court."
"I can do that." I think. She saw the smile at her slip. "Fine. I won't be dating it seems."
"You could always date me, Meatball Head." She narrowed her eyes and glared.
"Stop making this difficult."
"Hmm. You're no fun, Queen Serenity."
"I've learned not to play with hot guys."
She ran a hand over her face. "Being friends with you is going to be harder than I thought."
"Maybe you should stick around a bit longer and try it out."
"I don't trust you, Darien Shields."
"You shouldn't." He teased. "Is it wrong to want to have sex with one's friend?" he asked. She gasped and back pedaled into the crib.
"I'm leaving tonight." She announced. He smiled.
"Oh well." He said.
She didn't leave that night. Or the other night. In fact, she stayed for three years. And it got that much harder to resist the increasingly charming Darien Shields. Her best friend. Right now, they were stretched out on his bed with Rini between them. She could feel the slight pull as he played idly with her hair. Rini giggled at the antics of the cartoon character then quieted. She looked over at Darien who was looking back at her knowingly. She glared at him and got up.
"Mommy needs to use the bathroom, sweetie." Rini went right back to watching the cartoon. She heard them both laughing but she held her head straight.
"Relax, Sere. You'll be leaving in a few days and then you'll be able to get yourself together. So what if he's charming? What if he's like he used to be in those very early days? So what if he's possibly the sexiest guy alive?" she groaned. "I'm going to die a frustrated old maid." She splashed her face with water then went back to the room. Rini was curled up against her father and fighting the effects of sleep.
"Seems like somebody is ready for bed."
"I'm not tired." She said softly then yawned.
"Uh-huh. Come on. Time for bed." She scooped up the fading girl and took her to her room. "I'll sing you a song until Pegasus visits with a sweet dream."
"So you're really leaving this time?" he asked.
"I've delayed long enough. I should return and rule my kingdom."
"Then you should sign this before you go."
"What's this?" she took the paper then looked angrily at him. "You didn't file them?"
"Well, I couldn't file them without your signature. And-" she grabbed a pen and slashed her signature across the page. "I'll send them in now." He said softly.
"Were you still hoping I'd change my mind?" she asked and started to brush her hair.
"No. Yes. I just didn't get around to it. Things have been busy with all the repairs we had to do." She looked back at him and sighed.
"Fine. Now we're officially divorced and have shared custody of our daughter."
"Yes. Well, goodnight."
"Am I supposed to leave my own bedroom?" he teased.
"I should throw you out you big louse." She got up and stomped to her room.
The next day, Darien had left for a house meeting in New Zealand. He wouldn't be back for two weeks. "Sometimes I think you do this deliberately. How am I supposed to leave with our daughter if you're not here to say goodbye?" she dialed his phone and waited while Malachite tried to get his attention.
"Serena? I'm kind of busy right-"
"I know you're busy. I wanted to tell you I'd call you when we're leaving so you can speak to Rini. That's it. So I'll see you soon." She hung up.
"Are you really going to leave him?" Rei asked.
"What else can I do? I can't live with him. It's hard enough not to jump him."
"I thought you guys were friends."
"Tell that to my raging hormones."
"So that's what that was."
"What are you talking about?"
"Apparently just like you couldn't keep your love to yourself, you can't keep your libido."
"Your raging hormones having been like aphrodisiacs to all of us. I appreciate it, Sere, but I need to sleep sometime." Serena stared at her normally ansty and agitated friend.
"Are you telling me that I've made my scouts horny?"
"Not just the scouts." She sighed. "Poor Zoicite. Ami walked in on him-well-you know-relieving himself. Poor guy."
"If I wasn't so mortified, I'd scream." Serena said that sat down. "I am a hazard to this damn place."
"Yes. Yes. But there is a solution to this current hazard."
"Just take the edge off." Rei said.
"There is no taking the edge off with Darien. I'd just want more and more."
"So you prefer to burn?" Rei asked.
"Burning is not so bad." Rei looked at her watch.
"I wonder if you'll be saying that when you can't help but touch your-" Serena threw a pillow at her.
"I will not touch myself!"
"Hmm. We'll see. I gotta head back to Mars. Jadeite is bugging me."
"Now?" Serena asked incredulously.
"And later. Maybe I'll be announcing another baby soon. Rini could do with a sibling."
"Go away, Pyro."
She had hardly been settled two weeks later when she got a call from Nephrite. "Hello?"
"Your highness, permit me to speak freely?"
"Oh. Go ahead then."
"I am appreciative of the extra - boost you and my noble king have given my sex life but Lita was already insatiable. I am afraid I will die if I don't get at least a week to sleep of the strain." He stopped and listened. "Serena? Your majesty?"
"I-uh-sweet Selene. I don't know what you expect me to do."
"A quickie would suffice."
"I cannot believe you just said that to me."
"And I apologize but if we don't get some rest-well-just think about it." He hung up before she could respond.
Over the course of the next few months, Serena kept getting calls. And not just from the scouts or the generals. Everyone seemed to know that their queen wasn't getting any. "Damn you Darien Shields." She punched the dummy. "I try to be good queen. I am a good mother. I'm a good friend. I should be satisfied. I love my life. Why are you plaguing me?" She continued to take her frustrations out in the gym and the calls decreased. This just made it worse. She became angrier. "Damn you, Darien Shields."
"I don't think I like being damned." Darien entered her private quarters wearing jeans and a white T-shirt. "So what am I being blamed for now?" Before she could respond, the phone rang. Darien moved to it and Serena almost screamed. She knew it would be some person begging her just to have sex. "Hello?" she brushed her hair idly while he talked. "I see. Well, I shall give her the message." He hung up and it was a while before he faced her. His face a slightly red tint and embarrassed look. If she hadn't been so mortified herself, she would have teased him.
"Who was it?"
"Well what did they say? Why didn't they just talk to me?"
"How long has this being going on?"
"How long has what being going on?" she threw her hands up. "Just spit it out already, Shields."
"These phone calls? How long have you been getting them?" She considered playing dumb but what use would it be?
"I don't think I like people knowing that my queen isn't satisfied. Even if we are divorced." He walked to her.
"I don't like it either. But I sure as hell don't want them to know I'm being satisfied either." She countered. "How am I supposed to live a private life when my stupid emotions run amuck? If I'm not killing the world out of pain and anger I'm killing them with heightened sexual appetite." She covered her face wanting to cry but feeling it would just make the situation worse.
"How do we rectify this problem? I don't want your mother to say anything like that to me. A man can only take so much." He went to her and touched her shoulder. He would regret it a few seconds later. "Dammit!" he snapped his hand back. "Are you trying to kill me?"
"What? I'm sorry. I didn't do it on purpose. If it makes you feel any better, I very nearly electrocuted myself in the shower." She plopped back on the bed uncaring of the robe that slipped away from her leg.
"Who knew you were such a hazard?"
"Yeah, who knew? I grieve for the man who marries my daughter. She is a combination of the both of us. The future looks grim." She chuckled good naturedly.
"I could take the edge off."
"Uh-no." She stood up quickly moving around the large bed. His eyebrow shot up mockingly reminding her that she wasn't the only powerful one in the room. He could move just as fast as her if not faster. "Friends don't help each other with this kind of problem."
"But as the king and queen we must solve this problem. It affects all of our kingdom."
"I know but-I just-" she looked at him, her hands wrapping around her in a protective gesture. "I just can't be with you that way. Not again. Please understand."
"There are many ways to satisfy you without actually having intercourse." He said bluntly. She blushed in accordance.
"You underestimate your own appeal." She admitted and tightened the belt on her robe. "And you overestimate your own self control." She said this to let him know she was blushing for more reasons than his words.
"Are you saying I can't control myself around you? What the hell have I been doing for the past three years?"
"Trying to be friends." She replied.
"I'd call it sexual suicide."
"How did you take the edge off?" she hadn't intended to ask but she realized she was dying to know if he'd been seeing anyone else. He looked at her. Then he glared at her. Then he just let her see it in his mind. She covered her mouth. "Oh."
"Don't 'oh' me. Do you know how embarrassing it is to have to worry constantly about-" he couldn't say ejaculating. It was still embarrassing. Malachite had laughed at him. It was hard thing to make Malachite laugh.
"You just looked at me. How can you get off on just looking at me? Why don't I have the same privilege?" His mouth fell open at her declaration. It brought back to his mind her tendency to…vocalize during her orgasms. He smiled at her.
"I wish you did." He murmured.
"Pervert." She said. Then she sighed. "We're a pair aren't we?" she walked back to him and couldn't help but hugging him. He tensed at her touch. "Doomed if we do, doomed if don't." Slowly he hugged her then stepped back.
"I should go see Rini before I leave."
"Why don't you stay a few days? She'd like that." He grimaced.
"I'm not sure I could explain to my daughter why my pants are suddenly wet." He said . Serena giggled at the thought.
"Well aren't you the typical dad." She said. "It's only a few days, Dare." She said in that soft voice. He realized she hadn't called him that in a while. He found it was too intimate a name for his libido to take.
"Hmm?" she'd gone back to brushing her hair. She didn't have time to evade the sneak attack. His lips covered hers and she couldn't have stopped the melting sensation if she was made of stone. It wasn't even a long kiss. Or invasive. Just the touch of his lips against hers.
"You'll be the death of me." Suddenly it seemed strange to let him go. For a split second it seemed like life and death. So when her hands locked in his hair and pulled him back, she wasn't sure who was more surprised. "Serena-wha-" she used the opportunity to deepen the contact. Her leg wrapped around his hip and she pushed up.
"Shut up." She said. The bed was too far for him so he sat her atop the dressing table. She scooted forward and his eyes rolled back into his head. His mind split into two just then. He wanted her to come to her senses and stop the madness. And yet he wished she was so caught up this wouldn't end. That she wouldn't stop holding him. A rampant thought forced them both to pull apart with such force, Serena's head smacked into the mirror.
"Shit!" he pulled her away and looked at her head. "Are you okay?"
"You thought of her when you were kissing me." She whimpered. "I-"
"It wasn't like that Serena."
"It's not the first time." She slipped of the table top aware he hadn't stepped back far enough. "Do you understand now? Do you see why I can't do this with you? No matter how much I want to?" She tried to hide the tears. "Dammit. After all these years you still make me cry." He was too shocked to respond. It wasn't the fact that her name had come up in his thoughts. It had always been there. A wall between them. It was the crippling pain he'd felt from her-a pain that seared him. She was trying to shut him out but since she saved his life, it was impossible. They were inexplicably linked. He tensed against the onslaught then gasped.
"I-Is this what I put you through? All the time?" She looked at him. She shook her head.
"Not all the time. Just right then. Right when I'm so consumed by you; when I can't help but show you everything. When I realize I can't compete with her. When -" she shivered unable to go on.
"Don't. Don't. I know how it feels to love some one the way you love her." Her words seemed strange to him. Love? Had he known love without this woman? What he shared with Beryl? A few moments? A week of uninterrupted passion? Could it compare to what he felt with this petite creature before him? "Maybe being friends isn't such a good idea." He agreed but the alternative was losing her for good. Could he survive that?
"I can't lose you, Serena." He said suddenly. She tried to protest. "No. I can't-" he closed his eyes and it was as if something snapped inside of him. He looked at her in shock. Her eyes were wide too.
"Impossible." Serena said and backed away from him. "All this time-no. I won't believe it." Darien wasn't really listening. He was still trying to wrap his head around the fact that for all this time, he hadn't even loved the woman. "There is no way. Get out."
"No. Get out. Go see your daughter. Please just leave me alone."
It was almost six months before she saw Darien again. His face was grim. He seemed troubled and yet- "This meeting is to discuss opening communications between Mercury and Earth. They have the best doctors and we would like for our aspiring doctors and scientists to be instructed by the Mercurians." Darien said. He barely glanced at Serena.
"Mercury," she began. "Is willing to do this. The queen only asks for a public apology from General Zoicite." Darien looked at Zoicite and glared.
"You haven't apologized in all this time?"
"Not publicly." He said.
"It will be done." Darien said. "Next order of business…"
The meeting went on for two hours before they called for adjournment. Serena desired to talk to Darien but after their last encounter, she wasn't sure how he'd react to her. "Your highness?" she said. He looked away from the papers Malachite was showing him then sighed. A wave of his hand dismissed the general.
"You have not visited in a month. Small Lady misses you." He didn't answer. He seemed to look right through her. Or maybe he could see that she missed him too. She continued when he didn't answer. "Is it okay if she stays with you for a while?" he tilted his head slightly and she had to fight the urge to fix the lock of hair that fell against his forehead.
"That's fine." He said shortly. "I'll send Malachite for her in a few days-"
"Actually, I brought her with me. Or rather, she made sure she was with me when I was leaving. I hope you don't mind." Their words were formal and stilted.
"It's fine." He said. She wanted to say more. She wanted to ask how he was doing but he'd already dismissed her. She sighed softly.
"Well, it is good to see that you are well, King Darien. Goodbye." She faltered on the last word, a sob punctuating the air. She hurried out before he could comment on it.
She hadn't counted on him following her. "What?" anger was a good distraction.
"How are you?"
"I'm fine." She said. He couldn't agree. She seemed to have lost weight. Her eyes weren't so bright anymore. It was like those earlier years when she'd given up hope. It hurt.
"Please, your majesty, I am fine." She said with formality. "I've just had a lot to deal with. I'm just a little tired." He seriously doubted that. All those years he'd wasted on nothing more than a figment of his imagination. A clever spell to befuddle him. "Mina is waiting for me. Thank you for your concern."
This was classic Serena in protective mode. Quiet. Polite. Direct eye contact. No matter how teary her eyes might have been. The spell seemed a light excuse for his obsession with the former mage. He had no right to treat her the way he did. "We should talk about this." He said. But what could they say. They had both been victims of a sadistic plot to end her life. Her brief affair with Diamond had caused so much pain.
"There is nothing to say. I accept full responsibility."
"But it wasn't your fault."
"Wasn't it?" she chuckled humorlessly. "I caused all this just because I wanted to make you jealous. Childish behaviour."
"You were a child. You were only twelve."
"I was old enough to know better." She said. "I should have just left it alone."
"How were you to know that I wasn't really in love with Beryl? That I was doing the same thing you were doing?"
"I don't want to talk about this." She said holding back the tears. "It's the past. It can't be undone. But we end this now. This cycle that is us. Let it die with us. I couldn't live another life with all this. Please." He was silent.
"Very well." He finally said. He tried to leave but he couldn't walk away from her. It was better she walked away. If he moved an inch in her presence there was no telling what would happen. So he closed his eyes and waited.
"My Dark Knight." She whispered. "So noble."
"Noble?" he looked at her. She had moved closer to him. Too close.
"I've thought a long time how to end this and now that I've said the words-I can't seem to walk away. Why can't I give you up?" Her hand came up to touch him but he grabbed her wrist. He should have just stepped back.
"Make up your mind." He said coldly. She looked at him.
"My mind is the cause of all this. Maybe I shouldn't depend on it."
"Your mind is fine."
"Is it?" She pulled gently at her hand. He tightened his hold momentarily then released her. How could she know so much about this man yet at the same time, know so little?
"What do you really want, Serena?" he asked the question that she hadn't ever been able to answer. But standing there, looking into his eyes it seemed so obvious.
"I don't want anything." She said softly and she winced. "It's not what I want, Darien. It's whom I want. I want you. I've always wanted you. But you were never mine to have."
"Well, here I am now. There's nothing stopping you from having me." He said. "But you're still hesitating."
"There was never any question of who I wanted Darien. It's always been whom you wanted. Did you want me on the moon? Did you want me when we met here? Do you want me? Am I the woman you want? Am I-" she wasn't sure how else she could ask the same question.
"You wondered? I can't blame you. But for the past few years, living with me, raising our daughter together, how could you wonder?"
"I never hid that I wanted you during that time. Maybe I should have showed not that I wanted you but how much I needed you. How much I need you." She inhaled deeply.
"Is this our breakthrough?" she asked tremulously. "Because I don't know if I could survive if I walked away this time."
"I'm not letting you go." He declared.
"Tell me what happened. Tell me what happened that night. Tell me I'm not dreaming this all up."
"Princess Serenity?" she turned to face her silver haired visitor. He smiled at her and she returned the gesture.
"Prince Diamond. How good of you to come on such short notice."
"I would travel the universe at your command, fair maiden." Serena blushed prettily.
"That is why I have called you." She invited him to sit. "I cannot in good conscience continue this affair with you."
"Affair? This is no affair." He protested. "This is love."
"I'm afraid it is not." She removed herself from him. "I have been fooling myself. And you. I love another. For a long time now. Before I even made your acquaintance."
"I tried to forget him. But it is impossible. And even though he has promised me nothing I cannot pretend to love you the way you love me. It would not be fair. Do you understand?"
"I think so. You have been toying with me,"
"N-No. I would never toy with you. I truly do like you and enjoy your company. In the beginning, foolishly, childishly, I encouraged your attentions so I could make him jealous. But I grew to like you and I treasured our friendship. I fancied it could become more but it never did. Not on my part anyway."
"You except me to walk away? Just let you be? I asked your mother for your hand!"
"Yes. I did."
"But we-we never discussed getting married."
"And what do you think I was in this for?" he yelled.
"You will pay, Serenity."
"Please. Forgive this foolish child, my lord." She knelt before him. She waited.
"I will give you time to change your mind, Serenity." He walked away.
"Do you hear that?" he asked his companion.
"Sounds like crying." Andrew replied.
"We should check it out."
"No thank you. The last time I tried to comfort a crying girl, she almost stabbed me with an arrow."
"You knew what kind of person Venus was." Darien said rolling his eyes.
"Just the same. If its one more of those senshi. I prefer to be on the safe side. You go. I'll go find other forms of amusement."
"Fine, you coward."
"Prince Darien. Of Earth." He announced then came into the clearing. "Serenity." She blushed before hiding her face from him. But not before he saw the sadness.
"Go away, Prince Darien. I cannot stand your cruelty right now." True to form, he approached her, invading her space.
"Are you hurt?" he pulled her chin towards him and inspected her blotchy face.
"Not physically." She said trying hard not shed anymore tears.
"Some one as pretty as you should never cry." Her face crumbled.
"Please don't say things like that." She said tried to pull away. All it accomplished was pulling him off balance and on top of her.
"Now look what you've done." He teased. "If I didn't know better I'd think you were trying to take advantage of me."
"Release me, Darien."
"I don't think I shall." He said and before she could protest, he kissed her. After a few seconds she wrenched her mouth away.
"How dare you?" She breathed.
"Hmmm. You are an interesting flavour, Miss Moon." He rose and pulled her to her feet. "Have you forgotten your heartbreak then?"
"How can I when he won't leave me alone?" she blurted out before she could stop it. She registered the shock then realization on his face. She saw the pitying look and she couldn't stand it. Not from him. She would have preferred disgust. Repulsion. But pity? "Just don't." She said then ran away.
"Prince Darien?" Darien turned to face the caller.
"Prince Diamond. Good morning."
"Might I have a word with you?"
"I'm afraid now is not a good time." He never liked the man. Especially his attention to Princess Serenity. Though jealousy could explain that.
"It is about the Princess."
"I cannot deal with her right now. Speak to one of her guardians."
"I am unable to locate them and it is important." He pressed.
"If you'll follow me." You sniveling bastard.
"I followed him and then he must of knocked me out. When I woke up I had this urge to find you and when I did-I felt such hatred. Such resentment. I left for earth that night. And I met Beryl. She seemed like a breath of fresh air."
"And then our parents announced our betrothal." She supplied. "Foolish me. I thought it was the best news."
"And we know what happened next. He worked with her to make me fall in love with her. But they hadn't worked the spell correctly. They didn't factor in that I might have already been in love with someone else, with you. They didn't factor in the night we'd-well-"
"Don't. I can't believe I let that happen. I was only sixteen." She walked away from him. "You should have known better."
"I wanted you. I couldn't have resisted you. I didn't."
"Did you know?"
"That you were pregnant? Yes. I figured that's what set Beryl off. I realized I had to save the child even if I h-hated you."
"I wanted to die. That's why I sought her out."
"I was going to let you go. I was going to let her have you. I was going to marry Diamond."
"You would have too, huh?"
"She wanted me dead. And when I heard you say you love her, not me-I decided life wasn-"
"I guess your mother didn't remove it when she sent us all here. I'm so sorry. I messed up your life."
"I caused all this. I shouldn't have broken up with Diamond. But you-even then-it was like-" the words weren't there but he could feel what she meant.
"Serena- I need to kiss you. I need to hold you right now." He sensed her uncertainty. So he did the only thing he could, he let her see. He opened his mind to her. He let her feel all he felt for her. Can you deny it, Serena? He thought.
"I love you. I love you so much. So very much."
"I-" he had to touch her. He went to her and cradled her head.
"Even when I thought I loved someone else, I felt it. I felt the pull. I resented it but I felt it. I craved you. You were etched into my very being. And I couldn't get rid of you. And part of me knew I didn't want to. That's why I kept pulling you back. That's why I was so possessive. That's why I couldn't stand the thought of you being with someone else. You were mine. You are mine." He said.
"I am sorry for what they did to us and what I did as a result. And I can't apologize enough for it. I can't erase it but I hope you'll give me the chance to triple all the good times we could have."
"Don't make promises-"
"If I don't-how will you ever trust me? Trust me to love you properly. Trust me to do my damn best to make you happy. Please. Give us a chance."
"Darien-" tears filled her eyes.
"Please, don't throw us away. Let-"
"Would you shut up?" she slapped the back of his head. "I swear you never listen." She said. "I've been trying to tell you to shut up and kiss me." He smiled then obliged.
She would wake up a few hours later sore and replete. She turned and looked at him. He was watching her. A memory of the time he walked out on their honeymoon surfaced and she cringed. "One day, I'll make that uncertainty go away." He touched her face and traced the line of her lips. He drew her to him.
"So what now?"
"How about we get married? For love this time." He looked at her.
"Shouldn't we take it slow?"
"I'm not giving you a reason to get out of this. I want you for keeps this time." He trailed his finger over her collar bone. "And I'm giving you everything. Everything, Serena." He emphasized. "Now how about we work on a brother or sister for Rini."
"I-" he silenced her with a kiss and a subsequent seduction.
"Say yes. Tell me you'll marry."
"You call that a proposal?" she breathed as his hands wandered to secret places.
"I'm not a romantic. I'm a practical man-" he groaned when she bit into his shoulder. "Say yes, princess mine. Say you'll marry me moon beam. Say you'll be mine just because I asked and not because someone said we should. Marry me for love." He spread her legs and joined himself to her.
"This is not fair." She said as reason slipped from her mind. "I can't think." She met his dark gaze and he joined his mind to hers fully and completely. She slammed her head into the pillow. "Darien-"
"Say yes. Be mine, Serena."
"Yes. Yes." She said and then he gave her what they both needed. "Oh, Sweet Selene, yes." She breathed. "If only for this, yes." She teased and kissed him. His dark head lifted from hers and he smiled.
"You mean it?"
"It's this, or more embarrassing phone calls." She smiled. She rolled her hips. "How about we stop talking and make up for lost time-" she stopped when the door opened slowly and a tiny figure crept into the room.
Said father swore vehemently even as Serena giggled. "Yes, sweetheart?"
"I'm scared, Pegasus didn't come to visit and-I miss mommy." Darien looked at Serena and sighed.
"Well, mommy's right here, Rini." There was scuffling as Rini ran to the bed.
"Mommy." Rini hugged her mother while Darien sneaked off to get on some shorts. When he returned, Rini was asleep and Serena didn't look far behind. He slipped back in and pulled them both close.
"Tomorrow." He said.
"We're getting married tomorrow." She looked at him and smiled. He kissed her forehead then snuggled in to sleep with his family. "I'm never letting you go." He said seriously.
"Me either." She murmured then sighed.
That is it. I won't say it was utopia after this. We still fought but we stuck together -make up sex is great. We had to restore the economy and it was taking some time. But in time, we'll get there. By way of information, Rei had two more kids so that makes five. Lita had one daughter, Mina is working on the second. Ami finally forgave Zoicite and now he is the proud godfather of Ami's son. Michelle surprised us all and married Yaten. Amara was less than pleased but she suffered Taiki's attentions thereafter. Hotaru became a little girl – she visits frequently. Seiya – he married the princess after all. Pluto and Zane ran off and had another child – a girl who Helios dotes on. He visits Rini – that's my baby girl- quite frequently. Darien thinks he wants another child-but I don't know…oh who am I kidding? I'm already pregnant. He just doesn't' know it yet…I love him more than ever and finally, he loves me too.