Disclaimer: Sailor Moon belongs to Naoko Takeuchi and Toei Animation.

A/N: Er... well this is a rather twisted story for Valentine's Day, huh? I don't normally ship anyone with Mamoru besides Usagi, but this idea just came to me in the dead of night and absolutely refused to die. So, muse awakened, I thought... why not? Here's the final product, originally produced for dotmoon's 2010 Winter Contest for the theme Wish (it won, btw! ^^). Now that the results are out, I can post it here! Thank you to all who voted; your support is invaluable!

Story Title: "Untouchable"
Fandom: Sailor Moon AU
Rated: PG-13

Five years ago to the day, My Queen and closest friend died.

And so did my life as Sailor Venus.

Because five years ago to the day, I took over where she left off. In essence, I took her life. I stole her husband. I claimed her throne.

The world now knows me as Queen Lady Venus, and they hate me for it. They want Neo-Queen Serenity, the benign monarch of true royal blood who fell before her reign of peace really even began. I do not blame them. And yet, somehow... as the years wear on... I regret less and less her passing. Does that make me cruel? Inhumane? A traitor?

But I think, perhaps, I have jumped too far ahead...

We never expected the Black Moon to descend so swiftly, and with such deadly force. Small Lady was not even born yet; she was but a twinkle in her parents' eyes the day the madness began. Pluto always warned us that the future was never certain; that the timeline was a river and our choices the ripples which could turn the tide forevermore. She warned and she warned and she warned, always growing grimmer, but for some reason Serenity never budged. I think she refused to believe that the happy future she'd always believed in- the one with a utopia, and a family- would never come into fruition. I think, only because I will never know. One year after the first signs of activity on Nemesis, the tenth planet to which our Queen sent the exiles of Crystal Tokyo, the Black Moon struck. And they won, at least until we Senshi rallied an army powerful enough to drive them back. They may have retreated, but in my eyes Nemesis triumphed- they succeeded because they targeted the heart of our city and they destroyed it. The details are still hazy; I only recall a blinding light and then... darkness: that inescapable abyss from whence souls are born and souls are lost. Our Queen, after a tragic attempt to save her people, burned out the Silver Crystal. There was no Fiore to supply life energy from a Kisenian Blossom this time.

Her funeral brought hordes of mourners, all wishing to honor the sacrifice of a woman they never actually knew. I remember feeling furious as I watched random individuals cry in the streets, despising them for their callousness and their ignorance. They loved Serenity.

I loved Usagi-chan.

And yet, irony played me for a fool and ended up crowning *me*, angry little Sailor Venus, as their Queen... and not even three hours after her death. It was for the sake of the kingdom, they said. I was next in line as Serenity's first-in-command, they said. To continue the dynasty lest evil try to invade our borders once more, they said. Evil, ha! I scoffed at their anxiety; I even *begged* for the Black Moon's return. Crystal Tokyo made a mistake, I was sure of it- because why would they place the title of Queen on a woman who wanted nothing more than to watch the world burn for its injustice?

I suppose I was very, very lucky the Black Moon chose to remain quiet after the Silver Crystal Debacle, as the attack was dubbed.

And then, as it always does- life moved on.

Ruling without the Silver Crystal's protection was no easy feat, but I got used to my new role as Queen Lady Venus; to the duties that landed like millstones around my neck. I came to expect it all... everything, that is, but the unexpected:

King Endymion, a man who had always been content to play consort during Serenity's rule, was asked to marry again. Crystal Tokyo needed a truly royal successor- and they wanted a child of Terran blood. The wife was unimportant; Endymion was free to choose whomever he desired so long as an heir stemmed from that union.

I expected it to be Mars. After all, she and the King dated a century ago, so there must have been chemistry once. Or even Mercury, for her intelligence was a force of attraction. I knew the King had always held a soft spot for the blue-haired pedantic, him being of the scholarly type and all.

I never would have thought, in a million years, that the woman he would pick- albeit reluctantly- would be *me*. Although in retrospect, the decision is not that surprising: he sought to replace the one he lost. And as the Senshi who most closely resembled Neo-Queen Serenity, I was the ideal choice.

Little did I know then how quickly I was succumbing to insanity.

Our marriage was... dysfunctional, to say the least. The pair of us hardly saw each other except at night, where we shared the Royal Quarters and the Royal Bed. And we did make love, eventually- Endymion being a man with needs- but he insisted I wear my hair in odango and refer to him as "Mamo-chan". The most twisted part came when he would moan, not my name, but Serenity's. "Usako", he'd groan into my ear as we thrusted.

Usako.

The name- once a beloved memory- now sends shivers down my spine to hear it spoken aloud.

Five years later, and nothing has changed. Nothing, that is, except the cells currently burgeoning into a baby in my womb. A substitute princess for a substitute wife. What a lovely ring it has, hmm?

And yet, I cannot fault my King. It was inevitable, I suppose. Sometime along the way, I stopped faking love for Endymion and actually started to *love* him. I morphed from a wife pretending to be Serenity to a wife desperately wishing to *be* Serenity- at least in his eyes- simply to be seen. To be recognized; to be acknowledged. Appreciated. Loved. But no matter how hard I tried, Endymion was- *is*- unattainable. It is torture, having a person within arms reach, but never being able to touch them; to truly *have* them. He's mine... and yet he's not. He probably never will be, but there is always that slim chance that wishes do come true, even for traitors like me.

And so, I persevere, hoping that one day, maybe- just maybe- he might whisper *my* name during the throes of passion; might come to love me for who I am instead of who I represent.

The dream of a fool, perhaps, but dreams are the only piece of sanity I have left in this strange life I lead.

I can never replace the one he lost, but for now, I am content to live in Serenity's shadow because it allows me to pretend. If pretending lets me fall asleep in his arms every night, and if pretending has impregnated me with his child, then maybe playing pretend isn't such a bad thing.

FIN


A/N: Kindly review, and have a happy, love-filled holiday!

AngelMoon Girl