Please send all comments/criticisms to: Lisette_1@mailcity.com
Disclaimers: The characters within all belong to Naoko Takeuchi, DIC, Toei Animation and whoever else has rights to them. I own nothing but the story idea found within.
Author's Babble: Voila, at long last the finale to the "Eternal Serenity" series, and if interested, please feel free to check out any of my other fics at http://www.geocities.com/SoHo/Village/5977/. Also, any comments/criticisms would be greatly appreciated at the e-mail address listed above.
"Eternal Serenity: Finale"
Groaning, Darien quickly shook his head, his black hair flying around his face as he fell to his knees, the familiar waves of nausea sweeping over him in crashing waves. God, how he hated this part.... but in the end, it would all be worth it when he found her again... if he ever again found her.
Shaking the thoughts from his mind, Darien slowly climbed to his feet, instantly taking aware of his surroundings.. thick carpeting at his feet, a warm interior, the bright city of Tokyo spread out beyond the thin frame of glass on a sliding glass door and beyond a balcony, the thick smells of freshly baked goods... and the sounds of someone pigging out. Unable to keep the smile from his lips, Darien turned and felt his eyes focus on Serena's small frame, literally bent over a small coffee table as she shoved an assortment of delicacies into her mouth as delighted noises escaped her lips.
"Ah... well, she sure likes her food."
Surprised, Darien tore his eyes away from his love's small frame and took in the rest of the occupants in the room.. and felt a frown pull at his lips. "Alan and Ann," he whispered, taking in the aliens in their human forms, sitting diagonal to his other, his past self, and his love. "But that means that..." he trailed off, searching his memory for any other times that he remembered being in this apartment with his love... he could only think of one...
Smiling coyly, Ann quickly put down the small cup she was holding, tearing her eyes away from her prey as she smiled at her 'brother' and Darien. "Why don't you two leave us alone for a little girl talk?" she asked, hiding her smirk behind a look of innocence, not missing the surprise that registered on Alan's face. "You could show Darien the view from the balcony--it's spectacular!"
"Oh no," Darien groaned, quickly covering his face as he settled his lean frame onto the couch beside Serena, just vacated by his other as the guys moved towards the balcony.
"Okay Darien," Alan nodded nonchalantly as he led the way onto the balcony, leaving the girls alone on the couch.
"Not this one," Darien muttered darkly as he finally lifted his head and watched as Serena forked a large strawberry that was dripping with sauce and began lifting it to her small lips. He could think of only one time that they had visited Alan and Ann together... and that was when their secret had been discovered, that the Doom Tree had been discovered. But then, thinking back on it, Darien shrugged his shoulders. What could be so wrong with that? In his memories, everything turned out for the better as he finally regained his memories and he and Serena were finally reunited.... that wasn't so bad.... which meant that the thing that changed in this world could be something that made the situation worse. Instantly, Darien groaned once again. Not more heartache... he didn't think he could take anymore.
"Oh Serena," Ann called out gaily, a huge smile lighting up her lips... a smile that instantly spelled trouble to Darien.
Pausing with the strawberry about to be swallowed whole, Serena slowly turned and focused her innocent eyes on the girl beside her. "Huh?"
"Now that we're alone I can show you..." Ann trailed off, her smile growing.
"Huh?" Serena repeated, slowly lowering the strawberry back to the plate as curiosity quickly got the better of her. She knew that the scouts believed that Ann and Alan were evil, but she was having such a hard time believing it.
"You know, the space plant that is locked away in Alan's room," Ann explained as she turned and looked back towards the closed door that had captured Serena's curiosity before.
Instantly a troubled frown creased Serena's lips as she eyed the door. "Hmm..."
Sensing the girl's hesitantness, Ann quickly rushed on. "Tell you the truth, I'm scared still of that thing in there!" she gushed, trying her best to seem sincere. "I don't know what he feeds it, you know?"
"Then why go in?" Serena quickly bit back, unable to hide her unease as she turned her eyes back to the tempting strawberry that sat oozing on her plate.
"Because you're too trusting," Darien sighed as he leaned back upon the couch, knowing that none could hear but unable to stop himself.
"I'm sure if you're with me I could do it," Ann stated, smiling warmly at the girl... or at least as warm as she could without gagging. "I could handle it.. come on, no time like the present to face your fears, right?" she peeped as she reached over and grabbed Serena's small hand, dragging the girl to her feet and yanking her towards the door. "This way.."
"Um...." Serena murmured, trying to hold back as Ann literally dragged her before the large door. Hating herself for it, Serena couldn't help but feel her legs begin to shake. "Can't we just eat more cream puffs?" she laughed nervously, wishing more than ever that Darien was back in the room and not out on the balcony with Alan.
Ignoring the girl's words, Ann quickly pushed the button to the door, positioning herself behind Serena. "Almost there, come on..." she trailed off as the door opened, revealing the inky darkness of the room beyond. Instantly, a grin of pure wickedness flitted across her features as she reared back and shoved Serena with all of her might, causing the girl to scream out as she tumbled to the floor. "Four Face, come here and drain the filling out of this little cream puff!" she ordered before quickly stepping back, her smile growing, never noticing as Darien slipped through, unable to prevent the panic that filtered through his limbs.
"I can't do anything to stop it," he reminded himself grimly as the monster swooped down and grabbed a hold of his beloved, draining her of her life energy. "Serena..." he murmured nonetheless, wishing more than anything that he could change places with her as the look of terror covered her beautiful features.
Suddenly, another voice broke through Darien's thoughts as he turned towards the Doom Tree.
"ENOUGH!!!" the voice roared, causing Darien to take an involuntary step back as he turned wide eyes towards the tree. "Enough! I've had enough!!"
"Huh? No more?" the creature asked in confusion, ignoring the words as it continued its drain on the girl it held captive.
"That's IT!!" the voice roared again as tree roots began breaking away from the floor and snaking all over, wrapping around Serena and the monster.
"Uh oh," Darien muttered, lithely jumping to avoid the deadly roots as Serena's scream of pain broke through his muddled thoughts. And even as they did, the door behind him slid open, revealing Alan, Ann, and his other, all wearing similar looks of shock and confusion.
"This wasn't supposed to happen!" Ann gasped, taking a halting step forward as the other nearly jumped forward beside her.
"Serena!!" the other roared, panic filling his eyes as he watched the life being sucked out of the young girl, hurrying forward only to have another root wrap around him and lift him into the air beside Serena.
"Ann no!!" Alan echoed, his eyes locked on Serena's slim form, the light already leaving her eyes.
"Well, don't just stand there! Stop them!" Darien called out angrily, taking a hesitant step forward as his eyes locked on Serena's bright blue eyes. If he could only do something to help her....
"Out of control! Out of control!" the monster screamed before it got smashed to the ground, a tight root wrapped around its torso.
"Please, let go!" Serena gasped weakly, terror filling her eyes as she watched her love writhe in agony beside her.
"Serena.. give me your hand!" the other gasped, somehow believing that if he only could hold her hand, then somehow they could defeat the monster that held them. And as Darien watched, he could almost see the change overtake his other self.. the change from caring for this girl that he always tormented to a form of love for her.
"Trying..." Serena whispered, straining her hand towards his, tears stinging her eyes. "I can't reach!!"
"Come on, I know we can do it!!" the other urged, trying even harder as his fingers brushed against hers... only to have his hand be viscously kicked away. Gasping, he quickly drew in his injured digits as he glared up at the alien form of what was once Alan. "Why'd you bring us here?"
Instead of answering the other's question, Alan chose instead to sneer down at the young man. "Keep your crummy hands away from her, you hear me?!" he bellowed angrily, fighting at the hot wave of jealousy that filled him.
Instantly Ann was beside him as she angrily put her hands on her hips. "Alan, you have no right to talk to Darien like that!" she huffed, her eyes flashing with anger.
"So you finally admit you like the guy?...."
Sighing, Darien tuned out the squabbling of the two aliens and instead focused on Serena's pained expression. Why was she always put through such heartache? Why was she always tested... she didn't deserve this.
Suddenly, Ann's angry words broke through his thoughts. "I'm not being a drama queen!" she hissed furiously as she turned sparkling eyes to the tree that towered behind them. "Doom Tree, I command you to zap blondie over there!" she ordered, her voice cold and devoid of all emotion except hatred.
"No, wait!" Alan interrupted, turning to point at the other that was grasped in the tree's rooted grip. "Her boy toy will give you more energy!"
"The sooner you zap this guy, the sooner Ann will come back to her senses!"
"Yeah, but that bimbo doesn't even appreciate her energy!" Ann hissed, "Take hers first!"
Shaking his head, Darien quickly closed his eyes as the tortured screams of his angel and his other self tore through his mind. Wincing, he remembered all to well the pain that had ensued as the Doom Tree sucked at his energy. "Serena," he whispered quietly.
"Darien no!" Ann screamed as she jumped forward.
"I've got to save her!" Alan yelled out, echoing Ann's movements as they lunged for the roots that ensnared the two humans that they cared for, pulling at the vines for all that they were worth, knowing that the lives of the two humans depended on them.
"Doom Tree, let 'em go!" Ann screamed, sweat lining her face.
"Hang in there Serena! I'll save you!" Alan grunted.
"You heard me, now let him go!" Ann ordered, a note of desperation entering her voice. "I'm ordering you! Why aren't you listening to me?!"
"Why this girl? She's never done anything to hurt us!!" Alan protested.
"She's never done anything to hurt anyone," Darien mumbled quietly, his eyes locked on Serena's pain-filled blue eyes as Alan and Ann were shoved away by the tree's energy, releasing his angel and his other self as they began falling to the ground.
"They're falling..." Alan broke off as he dived after Serena's limp form.
"Gotta save him..." Ann cried out, chasing after Darien's other self.
Shaking his head, Darien watched as both were caught and gently lowered the rest of the way to the ground, both heads cradled in the aliens' laps. Without even realizing it, his fist slowly closed and clenched beside him as Alan cradled his angel in his arms. "If I can't even hold her... haven't been able to hold her in the last two years, why can he?" he grumbled, turning away from the sight.
"Serena, are you alright?"
"Talk to me Darien! Darien?" Ann pleaded, holding back the tears of worry that filled her eyes. But instead of a reply from the humans that they cared about, a different set of voices rang out, causing the two to step away from Serena and the other's unconscious forms.
"Let them go Negatrash!"
"We want our friends back!"
"And that means now, hairballs!!"
Surprised, Darien turned away from Serena's limp form and felt a small smile turn his lips. The Sailor Scouts had arrived.
"Well look who dropped in! The Sailor Saps!!" Alan and Ann taunted before sending a blast at the scouts, scattering them about.
But not to be beaten, Darien watched as Mars quickly regained her ground and glared at the two... if only she hadn't been killed in his time... perhaps then his world still would have stood a chance... but Darien quickly shook that thought away and smiled sadly. No, the world would have always been lost without Serena.
"Mars Firebird Strike!" Sailor Mars commanded, only to cry out her denial as her blast was easily shoved away.
"Venus meteor..." the scouts began, only to be halted as all three of them were blasted to the ground, cries of pain leaving their lips.
"You're on our territory now, sailor failures!" Alan taunted, an evil gleam lighting his eyes.
"Let's do that again!" Ann agreed, smiling wickedly as they unleashed their powers upon them. "Feel the burn!!" she screamed as the scouts cried out in pain, blasted in their places on the ground.
But then, yet another voice caught Darien's attention as he turned and watched his Serena stumble to her feet, ignoring her pain as she glared at the two aliens.
"That's it.. I'm steamed," she seethed, trying to fight back the tears as she watched her friends get hurt, and all for her. "Moon Crystal Power!!" she cried out, holding her locket out before her as the familiar wave of energy wrapped around her. A few moments later, Sailor Moon stood in her place.
"No way! Serena can't be Sailor Moon!" Darien vaguely heard Alan cry out as he turned his cold, dark eyes back to the trouble-makers. Now they were really in for it.
"That little blond airhead?! No wonder she's such a klutz!" Ann growled, her eyes narrowing on the leader of the scouts.
Hearing Ann's words, Sailor Moon jut out her chin defiantly. "So you think I'm a klutz?" she asked, unable to hide her anger. "Well this klutz is teaching you a lesson! I stand behind my friends.. and furballs," she added almost apologetically as she glanced at the downed forms of Luna and Artemis. "In the name of the moon, I will punish you! Surrender, you slimy viruses, or you're moon dusted!" she proclaimed, taking a fighting stance as she held her moon wand ready.
Almost growling at her enemy, Ann quickly nodded her head. "All right--"
"Hold on Ann," Alan quickly interrupted, putting a soft hand on her shoulder.
Growing even angrier, Ann quickly shook his hand away. "Why? 'Cause you have a crush on her?" she retorted angrily. "What? Are you going all soft and mushy on me? Alan, that ditz is the leader of the sailor brats and the best way to get rid of them is to get rid of her!" she cried, her anger completely consuming her now. "Hey, if you don't agree, just book it and I'll find someone else to help feed the Doom Tree!!"
"Ouch," Darien mumbled, shaking his head as he took in Alan's hurt expression. He definitely didn't want to be on the end of that girl's wrath. One was very likely to get burned by doing that.
"What?" Alan gasped, drawing back even further. "You can't do that..." he trailed off as a soft cry caught his attention.
Following Alan's narrowed gaze, Darien felt his heart warm as he watched Sailor Moon kneel beside his other's limp form, tears filling her eyes.
"Darien, can you hear me?" she pleaded, gently squeezing his hand. "Are you alright? Please Darien, talk to me!" she pleaded, unable to fight the tears now. "It's me, Darien, Serena... I'm so sorry..." she whispered, closing her eyes as her hot tears streaked down her face.
Shaking his head, Darien marveled at the love that Serena obviously held for him. At one time, that love had been directed at him... until he had lost her. He had always been so lucky to have her love... and if the fates would just give him that chance again, he would prove to everyone that he was worthy of it.
"Doesn't look like your boy toy is going to be too interested in hanging around you," Alan taunted, catching Darien's attention as he glanced back up at the duo.
"That bimbo... it's her fault! She's poisoned his mind against me!" Ann cried out in denial, her anger quickly burning away her sadness and hurt.
Sighing, Alan quickly shook his head. "Forget it Ann! The guy's a human and they're only good for one thing--Doom Tree fertilizer," he spelled out, not missing the shock that registered on her face. "You know I'm right, Ann."
"He would have to taunt the unstable one," Darien sighed, wiping a hand wearily across his face. He didn't remember any of this.. but then again, that wasn't so surprising. Turning, he looked back at his unconscious form, his eyes skipping over Sailor Moon. He had been unconscious at the time.
"Why would he chose her over me?.. I won't stand for this!!" she screamed, her anger truly blinding her now. "If I can't have Darien, no one will!" she hissed, all traces of sanity having long ago departed.
Cringing, Darien silently watched as the alien unleashed a torrent of energy upon Sailor Moon and his other self, blasting them and sending them flying back, both crying out in pain. Yet throughout it all, Sailor Moon never once let go of his hand.
"Oh Darien, hang in there!" Serena gasped, trying to stagger beside her love. Even if he didn't remember her or their time together, she remembered it all and would never forget.
"Look at that clingy little wimp!" Ann hissed, drawing her energy to her once again as she unleashed yet another torrent. "Let go of him!"
"She won't," Alan interrupted, his face a mask of cold indifference. "If there's one thing I learned it's that she's a true friend..."
"Glad you learned something from all of this," Darien muttered darkly as he watched Sailor Moon struggle to stand beside her love.
"She's loyal and she's strong," Alan continued, never having heard Darien's words... they never did. "She'll never desert him--even if it means her own downfall," he said sadly before turning to look at the tree that had provided them life for so long. "Doom Tree, since they refuse to separate, go ahead and drain all of their energy. Do it now! They're no use to either of us.."
"No way!!" the Sailor Scouts tried to interrupt, only to receive yet another blast that sent them tumbling.
But seeing this, Sailor Moon quickly staggered to her feet, her scepter held out before her. "Moon scepter--" she cut off as Ann blasted her, sending her falling beside Darien's other self.
"Nice try, brat!" Ann hissed, a brief smile lighting her lips, only to be replaced by a large frown as the warrior quickly scrambled to her knees besides the other as he began to moan softly.
"Darien, can you hear me?" she gasped, hope lighting her eyes. "It's me, Darien, Sailor Moon..." she trailed off as he slowly smiled up at her.
"Meatball head," was his softly whispered reply, instantly bringing a grin to Darien's face. Yes, he remembered this.
Half laughing, half crying, Sailor Moon quickly pulled his hand to her lips, her eyes shining. "That's right," she whispered, the world obviously disappearing around her. "So you finally remember us? Oh Darien, do you remember about the Moon Princess?" she asked, holding her breath as she awaited his answer.
"Yes, my sweet," the other whispered back, ignoring the pain that flared within his battered body.
Smiling, Sailor Moon quickly shook her head. "We'll be together again!" she cried, the tears streaking down her face. "Just like you were there for me, Darien, I'll fight to protect our kingdom so that we can be as happy and peaceful now as we were then... do you remember?" she questioned again.
Smiling, Darien slowly nodded his head. "Yes, my love, I remember it all so well," he answered as he knelt beside her, gently running his hand inches from her cheek, knowing that he couldn't touch her soft skin.
"Yes, I remember everything," the other replied warmly.
"Knock it off!" a sudden, harsh and abrasive voice rang out, breaking into the soft moment as another energy blast hit both Sailor Moon and Darien's other, sending them flying back and to the ground.
As fury consumed him, Darien quickly turned around and glared at the evil duo. "Leave them alone!" he roared, knowing that none save him would ever hear his angry cries.
"Sailor Moon!" he heard Luna cry out, echoing his plea to stop.
Instead of a response, Ann laughed in a way that chilled everyone to the bone.
"They're helpless!" Jupiter gasped, struggling to her feet before weakly falling back to the ground as Ann prepared another attack.
"No!!" Sailor Moon screamed, jumping in front of the other and taking the attack head on, sparing her love from further injury as she fought to stay on her feet.
"She's brave," Alan murmured. "Even braver than I thought," he mused, and already Darien could see the change begin to overtake the young man. It was the beginning of Alan's turn from evil to good.
"You don't know what bravery is, or friendship... all you know is evil!" Sailor Moon gasped, struggling to hold in her cries of pain as the energy bombarded against her.
"That's right," Ann replied smugly, finally stopping the attack as she crossed her arms across her chest. "So glad you finally noticed!" she hissed as she blasted the couple some more. "Renounce your love for Darien and I may spare you."
"No," Serena gasped, fighting the pain that wracked her body. "I never renounce my feelings! True love can't be taken away by anyone!"
At her words, Darien felt his smile grow even bigger. Even disheveled, in pain, and facing bad odds, Serena never let the adversity get to her. And throughout it all, her love for him shined through... even though the love wasn't directed at him, Darien felt its warmth through the amazed look in his other's eyes, amazement that such an angel could possibly love him.
"You're a sentimental fool," Ann hissed, her eyes narrowing on the golden soldier that stood defiantly before her, "but I can make you change your mind in a flash, romeo!" she screamed as she let loose another blast... only to watch as Darien jumped in front of Sailor Moon, taking the blast head on as both were thrown against a wall, crumbling to the ground.
"Sailor Moon!!" Alan cried out, taking a hesitant step forward as his worried eyes focused on her beaten form.
"Darien!!" she cried, pulling the other into her arms as the tears streaked down her face. He wasn't as strong as she was in his human form--his body couldn't handle this. "Oh Darien, we'll still have each other, no matter what they do to us!" she sobbed as she hung onto him tightly, feeling his life slowly slip away.
As Serena's tears tore at Darien's heart, he slowly turned away and focused on the two that floated above them. "Why must she always be forced to fight?" he whispered, knowing that he'd get no answer.
"I've never seen anyone so sad.. maybe this is wrong," Alan whispered, touched by her tears and weeping.
"What is?" Ann asked, turning to him as she arched a finely sculpted eyebrow.
"This destroying love..." he murmured, as though in a daze, "it's such a beautiful thing..."
"Can't you see how they love each other?" Alan asked, turning to Ann in exasperation. "Even if she is our enemy, it'd be wrong to destroy them."
"Well said," Darien nodded, watching the exchange quietly, trying to ignore the nagging feeling that his other self wasn't doing so hot. He survived it last time.. why would now be any different?
"You're just weak, Alan!" Ann accused, her eyes blazing as she turned on her companion.
Instantly, Darien's attention was divided as he watched Jupiter stagger to her feet, her eyes blazing with anger. "No, you're the one who's weak!!" she accused, nodding at Ann. "You don't have any real friends and the only real emotions you know are hatred and vengeance and jealousy!!"
"Can it!" Ann growled out, ignoring the feeling that Jupiter's words were hitting closer to home than she would have liked. Drawing back, she was about to unleash yet another torrent of energy upon the scout when a rose came out of nowhere, slicing in the energy's path.
"The Moonlight Knight!" the scouts cried out in unison, causing a small smirk to light Darien's face.
"Ah yes, and here comes my alter ego to the rescue," he laughed, completely without mirth as he tuned out the little speech and the events that followed. Instead, he slowly stepped forward until he was kneeling beside Sailor Moon and his other self. Up close, he saw that the damage was even worse as his other was struggling to breathe, his eyes drifting close as he had little energy to keep him going. "What's going on?" he whispered, his eyes narrowing as he took in the extensive damage. Turning, he saw that Sailor Moon wasn't even quite aware of how bad the other's injuries were, her attention instead focused on the death of Ann. Turning, he watched as the Doom Tree reared back, preparing to kill Alan as well when Sailor Moon suddenly stood from beside him, tears streaming down her pale face.
"STOP THIS NOW!!! SAVE THEM!!!" she screamed, and to Darien's surprise, everything did stop.
"You think so Sailor Moon?" the Doom Tree asked as Darien turned away once again, kneeling beside his other self.
Something was wrong.. something was very wrong and he could feel it deep within himself. Serena's attention was divided, totally absorbed in learning about the Tree of Life, but Darien couldn't pull his eyes away from his other. "This is not good," he murmured, feeling a wave of sympathy pour through him. It was almost as though he could feel his other, as though they were becoming one. But in a way, they were already one... they weren't separate entities and had never been so.. it was always his soul within.
And then, as Sailor Moon accepted the tree's plea to heal it, Darien watched the light leave his other's eyes, watched in disbelief as the other took his last breath. And then... and then he felt everything change, felt himself drawn into the body as the soul of the other, his soul, all became one as he changed into the Moonlight Knight.. as he became real. Shaking his head, Darien looked down at himself in wonder, and then turned as he took in Sailor Moon's form, standing beside the body of Darien. "She doesn't realize," he whispered, shaking his head as he took a hesitant step forward.
"Oh no... I killed the tree," Sailor Moon whispered, her eyes locked on where the tree once sat, vaguely noticing that her friends, the ruins of the building, everything was gone except for her and her love, ensconed in a thick white fog.
"No Sailor Moon, you healed it," Darien whispered, stepping closer to his love and watching as, for the first time in over two years, the eyes of his love met his own.
"Moonlight Knight!" she gasped, taking a step back as she glanced down at her love. Instantly, a frown creased her forehead as she noticed that Darien didn't look quite right. But before she could think further on that, she turned once more to her mysterious savior. "I thought you disappeared," she whispered, unsure as to what was going on, or how to act.
"Sailor Moon," Darien whispered, a small smile touching his lips, hidden by the folds of cloth, "Serena, Moon Princess..."
"You know all that?" Sailor Moon gasped, shaking her head as she strayed yet another glance down at her love's so-still form.
"Of course I do," Darien whispered, stepping closer so that he was mere inches from her. "How could I not?" he asked as he pulled on the cloth that hid his face from view, grinning as Serena's smile turned into one of confusion.
"Darien!? I don't understand!" she gasped, shaking her head slowly.
"And unfortunately, I don't really know how to explain," Darien whispered, wanting to reach out and touch her but knowing he couldn't quite yet.
"But how can you be the Moonlight Knight?" she asked, turning to stare down at her love's form, lying beside them.
"Oh, I'm not," Darien quickly replied, shaking his head as her confusion only deepened. "I mean, the Moonlight Knight was my soul that fought the negaverse..."
"What do you mean?" Serena asked, her brows scrunching up in confusion. He was standing there right before her.. how could Darien not be the Moonlight Knight? And how could he be lying at her feet at the same time? What was going on?!
"Well..." Darien trailed off, trying to remember exactly what the Moonlight Knight was.. that happened so long ago! Around five years ago in his memory. "Um, well you see in the battle against Beryl I lost all of my memories of the Moon Kingdom," Darien explained, "and yet deep inside some part of me always knew that I must protect you from the Negaforce. So, the Moonlight Knight was created to fulfill that mission... he existed only to protect you and to help the Sailor Scouts... but there's no longer any need for him now that I'm back..." he trailed off, realizing at last what this meant. Amy said that in order for him to finally be with his love, his other self had to perish and then he would take his place.... he was taking off where the other left off.
"You're leaving?" Sailor Moon asked in surprise, shaking her head quickly.
"Only to where I belong...." Darien trailed off as he found himself wrapped in the fog, his love disappearing from sight as he felt his spirit finally merge with his body. Shaking his head, Darien slowly sat up, wincing at the pain he felt in his body from all of the attacks that it had sustained during the fight with Alan and Ann.... but if he felt pain, then that meant that it really had worked. As his eyes widened, Darien quickly turned and found Sailor Moon, his love, kneeling beside him in the ruins of Alan and Ann's apartment, her eyes unfocused and lost in her own world.
"Serena?" he asked softly, moving until he was kneeling before her, gently reaching out until his skin brushed against hers. Instantly, tears flooded his eyes as he realized that for the first time in at least two years, he was touching his love. He was real again and could hold her in his arms.
"Ugh.." Serena moaned, her eyes fluttering open. "Is that really you?" she whispered, her crystalline blue eyes finally focusing on the clear blue of her love.
"It sure is, Meatball Head," Darien whispered back, watching as a look of pure amazement and joy flooded Serena's eyes.
"Darien, I can't believe it!" she suddenly squealed as she dove into his arms, wrapping her small arms tightly around his neck.
Startled, it took a moment for Darien to process this before he gently pulled her close, vowing to never let her go.
"It's so perfect! Everything is okay!!" she cried out, tears of joy finally flooding her eyes and trailing down her cheeks. "Oh Darien.. I was so afraid that I'd lose you again!" she sobbed.
"Never again," Darien vowed, knowing that he meant every word. And then, before he knew it she was out of his arms and tying up the loose ends with Alan and Ann. Shaking his head, Darien mainly stood in shock as Ann was healed and as the good-byes were said. Confused, he reached for the place that he always held the star locket and was relieved to find it gone from him pocket... he was truly Darien now. He was back and his love was his once again.
"Gotta feeling," Sailor Moon whispered, her eyes locked on Alan and Ann as they slowly disappeared, the sapling of the Tree of Life in hand, content to have Darien's arm draped casually over her shoulder. "I think they're going to make it this time."
"Huh?" Darien asked, broke from his thoughts as he stared down at his love, the angel that he held in his arms. "Yeah, I hope so," he mumbled distractedly, his eyes lost in her own.
"And what about us?" she asked, a small smile playing on her lips.
"Hey, what about you?!" the voices of her friends rang out, distracting the couple of their thoughts as they looked up to see that they were surrounded by a group of gossip hungry girls.
"Alright, give us the buzz! You guys an item or...." Sailor Mars trailed off slowly. Suddenly, all thoughts of pestering the couple for details was forgotten as she looked quizzically up at Darien, a small frown pulling at her lips. "Darien... there's something different about you," she finally murmured, wracking her mind for the strange feeling that was pulling at her. That everything was not quite as it had been with Serena's love.
"What?" Darien asked in surprise, unconsciously holding Serena closer to him, finding comfort in her presence. "But--" he began, only to be cut off as Sailor Mercury lay a gentle hand on his arm.
"Quit talking nonsense, Rae, and leave them alone," Mercury stated in their defense, interrupting any further questioning as Darien stared down at the blue-haired girl in response. "They have waited too long for this moment," she added quietly, her intelligent blue eyes meeting Darien's head-on.
And for some strange reason, Darien had a feeling that Mercury knew exactly what had happened, all that had passed.
"But you'll die," Darien murmured weakly as he clenched the locket in his hand.
"Only this body... my spirit will live on," Amy whispered as a single tear dripped
down. "My soul will be waiting there for you..."
Smiling, Darien slowly nodded his head. They were all here.. all of their souls had returned for this one moment where they were finally all reunited. In that moment, he realized that his Serena's Darien, the other, hadn't really died.. but instead it had needed his soul in order to make it complete... when his soul had merged with that of the other they had enough strength to continue on. They had another chance to do it all over again.. and to do it right this time. "Thank you," he whispered as Sailor Mercury ushered the others away, leaving them alone on the demolished ruins of Alan and Ann's apartment building.
Smiling at the antics of her friends and thankful for the privacy that they had been given, Serena slowly shook her head, her twin tails of gold settling around her shoulders as she looked up in Darien's blue eyes. "I can't believe that it's really you, that you've finally come back to me," she whispered as tears of joy glimmered in her large, expressive blue eyes, slowly reaching one gloved hand up to settle it on her love's smooth cheek, unable to stop it from shaking. "This moment has been so long in coming..."
"You have no idea," Darien replied with a small smile as he took Serena's, his Sailor Moon's, small gloved hand into his own. Her words seemed prophetic and perfect, as though she really had been waiting all this time for him to find her again. "I never gave up," he whispered, even as a look of confusion filled her blue eyes, the eyes that were windows into Serena's soul and showing him once and for all that he was finally reunited with the one he loved, "for all of eternity...." he whispered aloud as he drew the small girl into his arms.
"Darien?" she questioned as she held her one true love close, confused by his words.
"I love you, Serena," was his only reply. "I will love you until the end of time and after, for all of eternity... I'll never let you go again."
Warmed by his words, Serena closed her eyes and slowly tilted her head back until she felt Darien's soft lips on her own. His kiss, the kiss that he had been missing for so long, sealed his vow and she knew that her love had finally returned to her... all was finally right in the world and she would never leave his side or be alone again. Nothing, not even death, would ever have the power to break their bonds of love--they would forever live together in eternal serenity. ~I've found you again... our love always and forever...~
With a bright flash of light, Pluto appeared within the beautiful grounds of the Crystal Palace, a wailing Reenie in hand.
"I want MY MOMMY AND DADDY!!!" the little girl screamed, the tears pouring down her small face as she pushed desperately away from Puu, wanting nothing more than to be in her parents' arms. How could Serena and Darien not be her Mommy and Daddy?! It was just supposed to be another visit to Tokyo, to her parents' earlier selves.. but Serena had died. Serena was dead and Serena wasn't her mommy! "NO!!!" she wailed, kicking her feet out desperately.
"Reenie--" Sailor Pluto broke off, tears pouring down her cheeks as the Sailor Scouts and the King and Neo-Queen came running into the room, their faces white and panicked.
"Reenie!" Neo-Queen Serenity cried out, dropping to her knees as her tiny daughter barreled into her waiting arms. "Oh baby, what happened?" she asked quickly, gently stroking her daughter's soft pink hair even as she shot wild eyes back and forth between her husband and Sailor Pluto.
"Serena's dead!" Reenie wailed with such heartache that instantly everyone in the room stumbled slightly, shaking their heads in confusion as their eyes shot to their queen, still obviously alive and well before them.
"But.. I don't understand," Neo-Queen Serenity whispered, confusion shining in her bright blue eyes as her husband slowly knelt beside her. "She was just to go back to Tokyo of the past...."
"Shh... I've got it Serena," King Endymion broke in with a sad and knowing smile as he took the little girl from his wife. Even though his daughter's tortured screams had made his heart beat faster, he had been expecting them ever since his daughter had left. She needed to see the death of that Serena in order for him to finally find his way back to his love. Now, he just needed to explain that to his daughter and the others. Even though the years had passed, Darien had not once mentioned what had happened to him. In all honesty, he didn't know why except that he didn't want to distress his wife. His Neo-Queen Serenity was the exact same Serena that had died in his arms so long ago when killed by a disgruntled servant of Queen Serenity.. it was still his angel and this was just something that she didn't need to know. Yet at times, he could swear that there was a knowing look in her eyes. Even though it was impossible for her to know, he still felt at times that his secrecy was not needed.. that somehow his love sensed what had transpired, just as it seemed Mercury possessed that same keen knowledge. In the end, though, he knew that only he could help his daughter with what none of the others could understand.
Biting her lip, Serenity slowly nodded her head as she passed her daughter uncertainly away and into her husband's capable arms. For some reason, she knew what needed to be done. "Come," she murmured as she slowly began backing away towards the door, her eyes locked on her husband and child. "Come along everyone," she repeated, her voice louder and firmer as she nodded at the scouts, waving her hand towards the door and quickly ushering each out the door, ignoring their questions as she quietly pulled the door closed behind her.
Sighing, King Endymion silently thanked his wife for her trust as he rearranged himself on the floor and cradled his daughter in his lap, dismayed by her torrent of tears. All those years ago, Sailor Pluto had not allowed him to comfort his daughter... now it was his chance. "Shh Reenie," he whispered softly, gently stroking her hair as he bent down to kiss her forehead.
"Daddy, Serena's dead," Reenie half sobbed, half whispered as the tears poured down her cheeks. Even at her young age she understood too well what death meant.. it meant that Serena was never coming back and that she would never smile at Reenie again, or marry her Darien... she would never be her mommy.
"Serena's life ended in that Tokyo," Endymion acknowledged as he gently wiped her tears away, "but her light will always shine--it was her light that allowed me to find your Mom again." Even as Reenie's sobs slowly died away, he knew that it would be a long time before she was truly healed of what she had seen... a long time until she would find the heart and courage to visit their past again. "Serenity's warm light is eternal like a brightly shining star. Eternal Serenity," he soothed as he drew the trembling girl tighter into his strong arms.
Unbeknownst to him, a single pair of bright eyes watched all of this from the door as hot tears streaked down her pale face.
"... never forget your promise to me... never stop looking for me..." she murmured as
she fought against the darkness--forever fighting. "... when our locket, the symbol
of our love, stops playing... only then will all hope be lost... find me again in life and
not in death......." she whispered as her eyes pleaded with Darien, filled with so much
love and warmth.
"I'll find you again," Darien vowed as Serena's eyes slid shut for the last time,
her body going limp in his strong arms.
Smiling softly, she clutched the star locket tightly in her hand as a small smile curved her gentle lips. "Thank you, my love, for finding me again, and for never giving up, for it's our love that is eternal. I knew that I couldn't leave you forever... I knew that you wouldn't let me down. Anything for our love..." Neo-Queen Serenity murmured softly as the star locket clicked open, eternally playing their song.