Title: When the Morning Comes
Author: Candyland
Fandom: Sailor Moon: A group of girls in sailor outfits fight evil under the guidance of a talking cat through the use of extensive stock footage. Behold, the formula that launched an empire. I do not own the series or any of the characters!
Wordcount: 777
My fandom introduced a whole generation of viewers to anime.

The scenery was barren and empty around her, or at least as barren as a landscape filled with the remnants of life could be. Though the wind did not blow, the trees and grass were bent as though caught beneath a heavy breeze. The ripples on a nearby pond were frozen in a never-ending arch, unmoving and unfading.

It was frightening, really. It was the sort of scenario that could make a person feel like the last person left alive in the entire world. But the instinctive fear of being alone was tempered somewhat by the knowledge she possessed, brought to her by an earlier experience that had given her a glimpse of what ultimately was to come.

The world was not dead, but merely asleep, awaiting the time when it would be brought back to the world of the waking. If she were to go into a house or building, she would find people frozen in time, poised in any number of tasks.

This had to be what they called suspended animation. There was no other way to describe it.

She herself had been caught in that same state for…goodness, how long had it been? Probably a good millennia, if history was any indicator of how long these things took. But her case was different from others; she carried with her the instrument of both the world's slumber and the world's salvation, which was to act as her alarm clock, for lack of a more eloquent description.

Now she was awake.

Her name had been Tsukino Usagi before the world had lapsed into its frozen state. She had let herself fall to sleep with the rest of them when the Crystal had flared up. It was an easy decision to make at the time: send the world into the sleep that it had been destined for, or let the world be destroyed.

It was more a surprise that she herself would be the one to put the world to sleep; she had not known about that. Still, she had used the Imperium Crystal, and set the world to bed before entering her own sleep to await the future that she knew was ultimately coming.

Now, clad in the pink and white sailor uniform of her magical alter ego, still torn and tattered from her final fight, Usagi wandered the silent streets. It was indescribable to see a piece of paper suspended in the air, caught on the crest of a non-existent breeze.

She stepped beneath an arching gateway into the local park, where she and her friends had spent many hours, both happy and less than happy, some downright deadly. The grass did not even bend beneath the heels and toes of her boots. She passed two children, caught in motion as a ball hovered, motionless, between them.

There was a specific spot she had to get to, though. She remembered the city of the future, where the palace of Crystal Tokyo had stood. And that was where she needed to go now, to complete her duty to the world and save it one final time.

Usagi stopped at the spot where the crystal palace would soon stand. She looked around; there was enough room here to bring things back to life. This would be the place where a capital would be built. She knelt on a smell grassy knoll on the corner, beside a tree. Her mind drifted back (or forward, as the case may be) to Crystal Tokyo and the future that was now becoming the present.

Usagi reached down towards the ground. As she did so, her torn white gloves faded away into bare hands and arms. As her fingers touched the dirt and gathered it up into her palms, the torn sailor outfit of the world's savior turned to the pink-white gown of a princess. The Silver Crystal floated before her, free of the locket whose power had lent her the strength of her magical alter ego.

She lifted that bit of earth up, holding it beneath the Silver Crystal. And she watched as the earth itself seemed to regain its color; she could actually feel it warm in her hands.

Usagi…no, she was not Usagi now, but Serenity. A princess lost long ago, reborn and ultimately destined to be queen of a kingdom as great, if not greater than that of the Moon. Serenity looked up towards the leaves of the tree beside her. And as the leaves began to move, and the wind combed its way through her long hair, she smiled. It was morning, so to speak.

It was time for the world to wake up and begin anew.

PS. Inspiring song for this was "A Bit of Earth" from The Secret Garden. Total fannish speculation, along with the realization that it has been far too long since I watched this series. It was the show that got me started on anime, way back when I was a wee little fangirl. Memories…le sigh…

Thanks for reading, all! Much love!