Never before had time moved so slowly. For someone who had fallen through countless centuries, who had never flinched whilst drifting from one millennium to another, six years shouldn't have been as painfully sloth-like as they had been. Helios had seen the glow of infinite stars come into existence and fade without disruption as the soft winds of Father Time rapidly carried him along, timelessly living in a dream world. Regardless of the breezy weather outside of his flat's thin walls, he remained on the surface of the spectacular blue planet, waiting for some sign that his beloved Elysion hadn't forgotten him.
A timid knock at the door awoke the snowy-haired man from his late night reverie and, for a split second, he contemplated not answering it. After all, with a startling glance at the clock, he reasoned that any visitor calling upon him at the delightful three o'clock hour meant trouble. Not sensing any danger, he propped himself off of his couch and placed the open psychology textbook he had been reading on the coffee table beside it.
Considering telling off his unwanted guest, he immediately held his tongue at the sight of long, loose rose-colored locks and deep, ruby eyes with dark bags underneath them (he figured that they mirrored his own.) The petite Chibiusa, no longer small, seemed disoriented and terribly disheveled as he led her into his small apartment.
"I'm sorry to wake you up at this hour," she began listlessly and Helios immediately felt a coldness wash over his body.
"I wasn't sleeping," he replied, nodding toward the textbook as they sat down on the couch. He stared at the beautiful woman, who seemed to have forgotten his presence altogether and was gazing at the clear night sky through the glass doors to his veranda, and felt the ever present twinge of emotion in his chest.
"I tried to transform three or four times before," her voice was sharp and bitter as she steadily kept her eyes on the horizon.
"The Crystal still won't respond?" Helios knew she had been having trouble transforming for weeks; it was the general consensus of the group that her Pink Moon Crystal had gone dormant, though no one had any idea as to why it did such a thing.
Chibiusa shook her head. "I just had to get out of there... you cannot imagine how dispiriting it is having to watch your friends risk their lives day after day for your powerless, weak self."
Helios wasn't about to remind her that he did indeed know how she felt, that he too was completely powerless against any enemy and had to rely on the senshi to protect the exquisite planet. "You'll be able to fight again, Chibiusa-chan." He knew that she would be able to again, eventually; it was her destiny to become Princess Lady Serenity, after all. Her own senshi were waiting in the future for her and if more proof was needed, he'd seen a vision of his maiden years ago.
For the first time, she turned her head to face him completely and he spotted a few rebellious tears leaking from her eyes. "Do you think Mama's forgotten me?"
His mouth agape, Helios was speechless. He doubted that the Queen of the 30th Century had abandoned her daughter in a foreign era... Yet, that his maiden would even conjure up such an idea was truly disturbing. She seemed lost, tragically left behind in a realm where only she and her depression existed. He was aware of a past in which a dark, deadly spirit had taken over her mind and soul; he presumed that this "Black Lady" had been a stone's throw away from the current Chibiusa, a child stuck in an adult's body.
She had finally matured, and with appreciation, he had seen her grow to about Hotaru's height. Still, she seemed unwilling to grow and experience maturity without the guidance of her future parents beside her. He knew that she loved Usagi and Mamoru, yet they would eventually be married and start their family without the future princess... Chibiusa would not be able to stay in the 21st Century when that happened. He could only imagine how wonderful it would feel to her to be able to show Neo Queen Serenity her 20-year-old body after nearly 900 years of stunted growth...
"She probably enjoyed her time without me so much that she asked Puu to cut off my Crystal Key. Can you imagine anyone being able to relax with a little pink imp running around?" She laughed humorlessly and curled up into the couch, tucking her legs into her arms. Still, the laughter quickly turned to sobs as she buried her head into Helio's shoulder, shaking in unbearable pain. "How could she leave me this way?" she whispered, her voice breaking through the tears.
"Chibiusa-chan..." He felt the perennial pang inside his chest at her touch and carefully wrapped an arm around the thin girl. "How could anyone forsake you, let alone your mother? I'm sure she misses you as much as you miss her. And I'm also sure she didn't cause this situation."
Chibiusa looked up at him with a glint of guilt in her eyes. "I'm acting like such a child... at least I have connections left to my family. Helios," she sat up, holding on to his hand and he couldn't help but notice how close they were to one another. "How often do you try to get back to Elysion?"
He felt his eyes cloud with drowsiness and he tried to shake the ever waiting sleep away. "I used to try making portals a lot when I was first blocked out, but I haven't done anything in a very long time. If the Gods want me to return to my post, I will. If not, then I will live like any other normal human should."
"But what about the dreamers?" The pink-haired princess yawned and attempted to look somewhat alert.
Helios smiled as Chibiusa, clearly falling into the first stages of slumber, leaned back into his arms. Daring to run a finger through her mane, he recalled the two Maenads of his shrine. "I have friends that stepped in for me."
"I'm glad that you're not alone, Helios-kun..."
He watched the ruby eyes close as he too drifted into a deep sleep and, for the first time in eight years, Helios knew he didn't want to leave this world while his beloved maiden existed in it, no matter how slowly time moved.