Observations of a King

For SM_Monthly at LJ

Prompt: Advent; Mamoru

To Endymion, this was what life was about: family, friends and lots and lots of spiced wine. The warm scent of the great pine tree in the corner of the throne room, sparkling with candles and lights and ornaments made from wood and gold and silver and glass and crystal. Red ribbons and holly winding around the staircase and balcony above the attendees' heads. Michiru's swinging tribute to Miles Davis swelling from her violin's strings in harmony with Haruka's soft piano chords.

Usa-chan often said that her favorite palace parties were not those to which she wore her finest gowns and jewels but those in which she could get "as pissed" as she wanted to without worrying about her drunken exploits appearing all over the front pages of the tabloids the following morning. Of course, the first time Usagi had said this, she had been sixteen and the king had replied to his teenage daughter's candid statement with a stern dissertation on the evils of alcohol... before taking a sip of his Venutian ale.

And while liquor flowed quite freely at the yearly New Year's Eve party, Endymion had to admire the relatively peaceful goings-on as he observed the guests. And this particular year was no different. In the center of the floor, the princess spilled a good portion of her glass of wine onto the chess board Hotaru and Helios had been using, much to their dismay.

"Oh damn! So s-sorry guys, I just need to get better at the whole muscle controlling... thingy. Wow, and Hotaru-chan, you were about to win, too!" she exclaimed loudly from beside Helios, who cringed at her volume. Endymion chuckled as his daughter picked up the chess board, folding it at the crease so it acted as a funnel of sorts, and dumped the spilled wine back into her glass. "There, all better!" she beamed, placing the board back down. Hotaru reached into the drink and pulled out her ebony queen, sticky and dripping in her slim fingers.

Across the room, Endymion noticed a slight... disturbance between one of his guardians and one of Serenity's. Takashi had apparently said something to enrage Rei, and naturally, the princess of Mars had all but willing to take whatever he had told her. And so as the king watched with a grin threatening to break through his stoic mask, Rei grabbed a handful of cake and spread Makoto's hard work all over Takashi's face before licking her fingers clean.
And this was when things got weird. Instead of storming away from the senshi, which was what Endymion had expected of the incarnation of Jadeite, he grinned through the cake and icing and pulled the raven-haired beauty to him before kissing her and mucked up her flawless complexion in the process. And the king got another shock: Rei did not pull away as he had envisioned, nor did she slap him silly and scream at him before stomping over to Minako and relaying the story, and of course Minako would have known all of this because she would have been spying on the couple. Endymion nearly had a heart attack when Rei's arms snaked around Takashi's neck and her hands ran through his blond curls.

Not far from that particular incident, Naru and Masato danced drunkenly to the soft jazz, prompting a chuckling Michiru to pick up the pace with a more upbeat song. The redhead whispered something into his ear with a smirk, and Masato glanced down for a moment before tossing her a slick grin. Serenity's childhood friend rolled her eyes, though Endymion could tell that she was more amused than annoyed.

And Minako, who indeed had been watching her friends' interactions, giggled beside her pink-haired protégée Sayuri and pointed to the two. Sayuri continued to weave daisies into her mentor's blond locks, biting her lower lip as she concentrated. Beside her, Arisu stared dreamily at Hotaru as she twirled her long emerald hair in her fingers. Sachiko, her light blue curls dancing freely around her youthful, round face, ran around with seven young children as a very irritated Natsumi looked on, her red bangs blocking her crimson eyes from view. A girl of no more than four ran up to Jun and tugged on her shirt that advertised some local band Endymion didn't know or care about.

At the counter close to where Endymion sat with Serenity and Hisoka, Ami and Hikaru sipped martinis over a high fashion magazine, oogling at the couture and other things that appealed to the two senshi and their long-haired and extremely effeminate shitennou friend. Makoto had just finished brewing a pot of coffee when her husband and Endymion's long-time friend, Motoki, pulled her into his arms and gently pressed his lips against hers. The brown-haired woman lightly smacked his chest. "I've gotta finish the coffee and start serving the snickerdoodles, so I don't have ti-" she complained before her lover interrupted her with another kiss. "Oh, well, maybe in a few minutes," she whispered with a blush, but not softly enough to keep Endymion from hearing her.

"Mamo-chan," Serenity poked him in the shoulder and he shot around in his seat. "What could possibly be more interesting than Hisoka-san's thoughts on today's youth?" she asked, throwing a meaningful glance over at Endymion's lead guardian. "You're getting old and grumpy," she told the brown-haired man with a smirk.

"It's not my fault that I don't want Sayuri going to those concerts she likes to attend. You know the kinds of boys she's going to develop an interest in, Your Majesty."

Endymion, who hadn't been listening to his friend's complaints because he was quite familiar with the situation, having heard it on numerous occasions prior to this one, laughed and gestured over to the preoccupied couple now practically lying on top of the refreshment tables. "Yeah, they'll all be like Tamaki-san."

Hisoka groaned. "How did you keep the princess from falling for the bad boys?" he begged.

Serenity giggled. "Mamo-chan wanted to ship her off to that temple in Kyoto to become a priestess."

The king flushed. "I never said th-"

"Let's see if I can recall this accurately. 'Usako, I think Small Lady would find great benefits in religious dedication. Maybe in Kyoto, where she'll be surrounded by... religious people.' Ironic, considering that she's fallen in love with a priest."

Before he could argue, Usa-chan stood up (or rather, stumbled to her feet with the help of Hotaru and Helios) and whacked a fork against her glass. And of course, it broke on contact. A maid immediately jumped over with a broom and cleaned the mess below the princess.

The excited chatter of the guests died down as their beloved rose-haired princess hung onto her two closest friends, both of whom sweatdropped as she hiccuped loudly.

"I would like to, uh, d-dedicate this game between Hotaru-chan and m-moi to my dear papa," she giggled and took a swig of the new glass of wine another young maid had just handed to her. After she had gulped a good half of the wine, she continued, waving to the receding figure of both maids. "Thanks, dears! You're both getting a raise, no doubt about that! Anyway, without you, Papa, I'd be so, so... bad at chess. Yeah, so thanks to, um, you, too! I've got so much thankfulishness in here right now," she pointed to her heart, "and I just want to thank you all!" she exclaimed as she swayed on her feet. "But yeah, I'll win it 'cause I'm better than Hotaru-chan, sorry darling, but that's just the truth. You know something?" she asked to no one in particular. "Hotaru's like, completely in love with someone, and she'll never say it, so I just did. There you go, Hotaru-chan! Oh, and my God," she continued with a dramatic flourish of her arms (which resulted in the rest of her wine's flight all over Helio's khaki pants. He smacked his forehead with his palm. Beside Endymion, Serenity fell into a mad fit of giggles. "Rei-chan, Tamaki-san, stop groping each other for a minute so you can get a fuckin' room, would ya? He he, get it? A fuckin' room? Oh, I kill... myself!" Helios' face blanched and he exchanged a worried glance with Hotaru, who seemed ready to stab her glaive into Usagi's chest.... several times over and with great force and vehemence. "It's like, so obvious that things are going to end that way, anyway, so if you'd just please spare all of us the trauma of watching you two ea-eat each other's faces off... oh, Helios, I don't feel too good..."

"Well, okay!" Hotaru shouted as her friend vomited all of her shoes. "I think we're going to have to postpone our chess match for now," she told the room, utterly embarrassed by her friend's antics. Serenity stood at the end of the scene and applauded wildly for her daughter's... endeavours. At her cue, the senshi joined her (with the exception of a very flustered Rei) and soon the others in the room added to the whoops and hollers. Endymion's eyebrows flew into his hairline.

The whole party seemed to have culminated into some cousin of insanity as Usagi pulled on her friends' hands and lead them over to where Michiru and Haruka performed. Her shoulder-length pink curls bounced wildly as she spun around and swung her arms around disjointedly. Sayuri dragged the struggling Arisu over to their mistress and friend, ignoring the shy green-haired girl's passionate protests. The second half of the Quartet soon joined the small group, as did Serenity and Minako and Ami and Rei and the shitennou and eventually Makoto and Motoki (when they returned from... wherever they had snuck off to).

And during the frantic and bizarre mess in front of him, a though struck him. With only fifteen more minutes before midnight (and the advent of the new year) Endymion quietly left the room and made his way to the Space-Time Door, where a tall and quiet woman stood, her long rod in her hands as it always was. "Pluto-san. You seem lonely."

She turned to him and smiled softly. "Not lonely, your Majesty. Simply alone."

"Simply alone," he repeated, allowing his eyes to fall over her. Sailor Pluto had always been an enigma to him, a mysterious shadow in the background of a diamond. But still, there was a warm aura around her, a caring and loving aura that reminded him of his wife. "Will you not leave the Door for at least the final minutes of this year?"

Her maroon eyes softened and color spread across her olive skin. "I'm afraid I have to stay here." She lowered her eyes with a wistful smile. "And besides, I've spent countless new years with Chronos as my sole companion, so please don't feel obligated to inviting me." She glanced back at him, seemingly searching his face for something. "You might want to return to the throne room, now, your Majesty, or you'll miss your wife's countdown to midnight."
And with a bow, he left Sailor Pluto to her solitude and returned just in time to catch his wife before she fell over as she whirled out of the crazy dancing mob. Serenity beamed up at him with flushed cheeks and sparkling blue eyes. "My savior," she murmured in his arms. "You've been quite... subdued tonight."

"I've just been thinking."

"About?" Curiosity blossomed in her face.

"How much I love this family."

Her smile broadened and she opened her mouth to say something when Usagi, with a very distressed Helios on her arm, wobbled over to her parents. "C'mon, Mama! Haruka-chan just started the countdown music! Oh, wow!" she gasped before schlepping the white-haired young man back to their friends.

Serenity shook her head with an amused smile and turned to her husband. "I guess we know who wears the pants in that relationship," she whispered with a snicker. Endymion flushed, frowning as paternal overprotective urges flooded his brain. "Oh, Mamo-chan, don't tell me you haven't seen that coming. She's been in love with him since before she was born.... sort of." Her brow furrowed.

"I'd just prefer to believe that Usa-chan is too young to be wearing pants with boys... er, well, figuratively and literally."

The crowd started to shout. "TEN... NINE... EIGHT... SEVEN... SIX..."

Serenity gasped and grabbed his hand. "Wait, wait!" she shouted as she led him to the frenzy.

"FIVE... FOUR... THREE..."

And as the seconds dwindled, Endymion smiled. Another fantastical, memorable, and strange year faded into the history books with a final salute to the future; another fantastical, memorable, and strange year burst into existence with fervor and joy and love.

"TWO... ONE!"

It's long, I know. But it's got lots of fun things, like Rei/Jadeite lovin', Serenity being an adorable wife and Usa-chan drunk and harassing Hotaru and Helios. God, I love the three of them together (as a group of friends all pining for each other.) And Endymion is... kind of a creeper in this one.