~~~~~~~@ THE ROSE GARDEN @~~~~~~~

A fanfic by Pandora Diane Waldron

Chapter 1 The Nightmare

"Mystery glows in the rose bed, the secret is hidden in the rose."
--Farid ud-din Attar, 12th Century Persian poet.


He was in the grip of nightmare again. The same one, but tonight, so intense, he could almost
smell the burning fumes of destruction and death in the air. He was back in the moon kingdom
again. And Queen Beryl had won. Pain, searing pain, how can I bear this pain....and then
numbness, a floating sensation. The pain, why did it stop? What does this mean? And
suddenly, I can see HER--down there. She is crying, screaming, I hear the despair in her voice.

Her voice that I would know again, would listen for, in a room crowded with a thousand voices,
all talking at once. As I have. Walking across those vast ballrooms in the moon kingdom, yet
always, I was able to find her, unerringly. Just follow that voice. Like radar--no, telepathy,
between us. When did it start? I don't know. Maybe the first time I looked into her eyes. And
felt something change in me forever.

All these things I am remembering, as I am floating, weightless, feeling light-headed, semi-
conscious. And all at once, my head clears. And I know why she looks like that, why she has
sunk to her knees on the ground, as if her legs will not carry her anymore.

I am dead. That is what has happened, why I no longer feel pain. Oh, No, No, my Princess, my
Serenity, don't do this. PLEASE!! You, so young, so beautiful, so dear to me, you MUST go on
living. You MUST.

But she cannot hear me. She hears only the voice of her own despair and grief. Oh God, she
sounds so alone. And now I cannot hold her in my arms, I cannot even touch her. I can't bear it.
I can't bear it. The pain I felt when Queen Beryl killed me, it was nothing to this. And if I could
hold her, just for a moment, could I stop the tears? When she knows I am dead, that I can never
come back, that things will never again be as they once were?

I feel a bump, and something cold and hard underneath me. In the darkness, I feel around me.
I'm on the floor AGAIN. Always at this point in the nightmare, I seem to thrash around, without
knowing it, as if I were fighting every enemy in the universe at once. Anything, anything to
deaden this pain I feel. I hate everyone, and everything, because of what she is suffering, which
I feel with all my soul. And that's when I fall out of bed, and the cold floor wakes me up,
drenched in cold sweat.

So now I stumble back into bed, shaking out the tangled covers that I have twisted into knots.
And get back under the blankets, shivering. But I know the nightmare will come back, just
where it left off. It never ends, before I have experienced and re-lived all of it. Damn, why did
I have to get ALL my memories back? I was happier without remembering THIS.

Chapter 2: Bitter Regrets

Now another face I see in my dream, a face well-remembered and yes, I realize, a face I loved.
Another figure, tall, slender, regal in every graceful movement, steps out to confront Queen
Beryl. Her face, her voice, too, I would know anywhere. She is well-named, Serenity.

You, a Queen in demeanour as well as in reality, you who were the first to accept me, when no
one else would, as a suitor for your daughter. It didn't bother you that I was a Prince of the
Earth, and not from the moon kingdom. You looked at me with those compassionate, wise eyes
and saw all the qualifications you hoped to see in me. For you saw that I loved your daughter.

And from that day, you welcomed me, treated me as your own son. And then it didn't matter to
me, all the hostile mutterings I would hear, just out of earshot, when I would walk by. That the
moon princess ought to marry one of her own kind, not me, an Earthling. For I saw you smile at
me when I came to call for your daughter, and I knew everything would work out all right. How
naive I was. How naive we all were.

And again, I snap out of my reverie. She is holding her Moon Wand aloft now, pointing it at
Queen Beryl. And I see terrible purpose in her eyes. The Silver Crystal is flashing, beaming,
throbbing with blinding white light. And with each pulse of the Silver Crystal, my heart seems
to beat, too. How can this be? I am dead. My heart shouldn't be beating at all.

And a heart-rending scream pierces the night. "No, Mother, NO!! Don't do this!! Don't do
this!!" I look around, and Princess Serenity is floating too, her white dress shimmering in the
celestial light of the Silver Crystal. She must have died too, but our souls are linked--and I can
hear her heartfelt cry to her mother, Queen Serenity.

It is all too late. It is done. Queen Serenity is sinking back against a pillar, limp, dying. The
moon kingdom is destroyed, but Queen Beryl and her allies are destroyed with it. I can smell it
again, the awful smell of death and destruction. Where once there were rose gardens, filling the
air with their heady scent, now there are ashes, nothing but ashes. And nothing remaining on
this moon world to see. I shut my eyes for a moment, and try to imagine the roses again. But the
smell of death is there, even when I close my eyes. Will I always remember that horrible smell?
Will I never remember the smell of roses, of walking with Princess Serenity in the rose garden.
Oh, please, take me back to THOSE memories. Don't make me re-live THIS one again.

She has done this for us, Princess Serenity, me, the other Princesses, Luna and Artemis, she has
done this for all of us who loved each other and were loyal to the Moon Kingdom. No, Queen
Serenity, no. You shouldn't have made this sacrifice. I don't deserve this. Your lovely
daughter, Princess Serenity, named for you, SHE deserves this. The others, all her loyal friends,
they deserve this. But Queen Serenity, LET ME DIE. I have failed her, she whom I love most
in this universe. I have failed you too, you who had faith in me to love and protect your
daughter. I have failed both of you. LET ME DIE.


Oh God, if you can hear me, if I can just have a second chance. Just one more chance. Then I
promise, you, O my Princess, I will be there for you. I won't fail you again. I will be there for
you, I will fly to your side, from wherever I am, whenever you need me. I will know if you are
afraid. Take strength from my strength, my Serenity. Please, please believe in yourself, as I've
always believed in you.

My vision is dimming now. Is this the end at last? Is there no afterlife, then? Won't I be able
even to watch over her, in the next world? Please God, O merciful God, allow me that privilege.
I want that. With all my heart and mind and soul, I want that. If I can never touch her again, as
I yearn to, let me at least serve her in this way.

Queen Serenity looks up at me, one last look. She is smiling, and there are tears in her eyes.
The Silver Crystal is a pulsing light, allowing me to see her, though I am almost blind, and
helplessly, my heart beats, beats, beats with the pulse of the Crystal. The choice has been taken
away from me. I am to live again. Because Queen Serenity has chosen this. And in the middle
of the white pulsing light, a vision fills my eyes. A red, red rose. The most beautiful rose I have
ever seen, its scent drowning out the acrid smells of death and destruction. Its petals scatter into
whorls of circling celestial light, and I too am swirling, swirling, swirling like the petals. Into