"What tender dreams of Love, what desperate
Desire could bring these souls to such an end?"
-Dante, Inferno, Canto V
It was a time of great unrest. Their two worlds hung in a breakable balance, the tensions rising and swelling within their entities. Both peoples were restless. And war, war balanced itself on the hearts and minds and souls and hearts of the people. The word lay on their tongues, kept back by closed mouths and silence. And silence, it was everywhere on the moon. While the roars of Earth's people could be heard far, far away. Rage in one planet, boiling in the oceans, while the people of the moon silently prepared themselves for whatever may come.
These were the last days of the Silver Millennium.
And there stood two star-crossed lovers. Together, even as their worlds fell around them. As long as they had each other, it was easy to pretend. Pretend they were untouched. Pretend they had a future.
For Princess Serenity, it was quite easy to pretend. She couldn't imagine the reality of war, evil, cruelty, or death. The horrors of life and death had never truly touched her. Even with darkness looming in the horizon and war fast approaching, she could not comprehend the finality of it all. She couldn't understand how someone could wish ill on another or how someone could feel animosity towards another person. She couldn't understand why the world was coming after her and her home, intent on destroying them and everything they had ever created. Most of all, she couldn't understand why her love, so true and selfless, had been a catalyst for devastation.
Sitting in her silver palace, in a kingdom long resided to peace, the sheltered princess had never known disagreeable things. Her mother, her guardians, her friends – they all shooed away her nightmares and potential demons, intent on keeping her ignorant to brutality, hate, sin, and wickedness. She radiated all that was good. Her whole being was composed of pure love and compassion. To those who knew her, she was too innocent and too naïve to tarnish with unpleasant truths. So they shielded her from reality, something seemingly simple to do in the peace of the Silver Alliance.
However, despite how much was kept from her, Serenity knew of much. She inherently knew what was good and what was bad, what was right and what was wrong. Most of all, she knew of the secrets of the heart. Her desires, which kept her eyes always fixated on the blue and green orb hovering above, she knew were forbidden. She knew not to speak of her fervent desire to learn, to explore, to experience. She knew she could never verbalize her desperate desire to visit the beautiful planet she'd only read about in books she was not supposed to be reading. As she got older, her guardians were frightened by her burgeoning curiosity and mischievous nature. They feared her innocent inquisitiveness, her thirst for the truth she didn't yet know, and her knack for childlike mischievousness. So they kept her safe on the moon, locked away in her castle.
But that had changed. The little princess, ignorant to tragedy and consequences, slipped away from their idyllic prison to the fragrant, forbidden gardens of Earth. And there the princess, so unaware of what is dangerous, fell madly in love with the first and only person who would ever be truthful with her. She fell in love with the only man entire universe that she was not allowed to love, and wondered why she was not allowed to love him. She learned pain worse than scraping an elbow from not being with him, learned despair in not being able to tell her friends of her great discovery, learned consequences when she discovered just how forbidden he was. In spite of it all, she learned the meaning of true happiness when she was with him.
Endymion shattered her idyllic world into a million pieces and opened her eyes to a world where things did not always go as planned. And although it hurt to see the awful things that existed and occurred, she preferred knowing of them to being blind. Because she could fix all that was wrong and evil, surely.
Her astounding innocence was unshakeable, giving her a brilliant hope he simply could not have.
He had inherited a kingdom bathed in sin and constant dangers. He was naturally kind, passionate, intelligent, and loyal. But he knew little of romantic love and much of friendship and comradeship. His greatest friends and only confidants were his generals. Endymion was taught all the things Serenity never learned. He knew how to draw his sword and strike, he knew how to detect the subtle aroma of poison in a crystal glass, he knew how to maneuver an army, he knew how to defend himself against the threatening forces of evil gaining ground on Earth. Earth had been long engaged in civil wars, constantly in a struggle for power. He had fought on the battlefields, had killed an enemy on the opposing side. He hadn't ever known peace. Until he'd met Serenity.
As the only son of an aging king, he was taught in all princely manners, matters of state and war.
So while the princess had grown up in ballrooms and in perfumed rooms with doting ladies, he'd grown up in a medieval kingdom prepared to defend and protect everything but his own heart. They filled in the large gaps in each other's knowledge with their own understanding of the world, in secret gardens under the fragile light of the moon. Together, they'd revealed to each other opposite, juxtaposing worlds.
She learned much, absorbing in the details of life on Earth with keen interest. Serenity had been shocked by him and his world. He'd unknowingly told her the things that were like air to him, how people were sometimes consumed with greed or jealousy or power or bloodlust, and had been surprised at her own innocence in such matters. Her childlike innocence and untouchable purity frightened him. But he loved her. Loved her fiercely, boundlessly, more than he thought was possible in his world. He soon understood her guardians desire to shield her from all that was unpleasant, but could not find it in his heart to lie to her.
She taught him how to love. She taught him what was right by not knowing there was wrong. She taught him of the peace and happiness of the Lunarians. She taught him of what it was like to live in a world where everything was beautiful and nothing hurt. She taught him that princesses in locked towers needed to be rescued, but also that sometimes that tower was a rescue. She taught him kindness, hope, and how to dream. She taught him how to listen to his heart.
They became one.
For awhile, it had been enough. And then chaos.
It was the last day of the Silver Millennium.
They would not survive the night. But they would never again be apart and for now, that would be enough. Even as their worlds were falling, they could find solace in each other. For a moment.
The world was ending. Their worlds were falling around them, were being torn apart and destroyed by darkness. Darkness that was surrounded them, looming ominously close. War had come, destruction lingered around them and catastrophe clung to them. They knew it was their fault, their fault the world was ending. But their hearts didn't believe it, didn't believe they could have endured so much and loved so completely for nothing.
They loved each other. More so then it seemed possible. They could not imagine a life without each other, could not bear to be apart any longer. The love they created was incredible, but somehow, it did the unthinkable. It destroyed everything.
Absolutely nothing could stop what was coming. A battle, deaths, unstoppable doom. The moon, long untouched by violence, had a dark cloud now pulling in. A storm was brewing, a raging tempest, which promised to destroy them all. In the distance, the Lunarians could not see the incoming surge. They would not see that their end was coming. They did not yet see their lives flash before their eyes. Nevertheless, they would be overwhelmed and outnumbered. They would all die. Fate had long decided that.
Sailor Saturn yawned sleepily as she awakened from a dreamless sleep, Pluto sighed sadly from her eternal perch at the Time Gate.
Serenity and Endymion wondered at their fate. How could their love come to such an abrupt end, so early? Surely this was not the end of them, was not the end of their story. They were finally together, finally one, finally happy. And because of that, they were doomed. They were forbidden, forbidden long before their births. No daughter of the moon was to be with a son of the earth, because with that would come the end of the planet's long reign. But who could keep soulmates apart? The world was ending not because of them, surely. But perhaps they loved each other too much for the universe. Perhaps that love made them too powerful.
But they would not survive the night.
It was the last night of her life.
Serenity could still faintly hear the sonata of violins floating from the palace and the muffled sound of a woman's laughter. The sound did nothing to ease her, it did nothing at all. The Sea of Serenity, the water so still and placid, glittered from the colored lights twinkling in the palace windows. The night was tranquil and beautiful, the air in the gardens was filled with the scent of blooming lilacs and gardenias. To her, the moon had never looked as radiant as it did in that moment. The quiet landscape had never looked so beautiful, so exquisite.
She'd taken so much of her planets beauty for granted. Why had she spent so many nights looking up at the Earth and picturing the lush, exotic paradises that must surely exist there when her own gardens were so fragrant and splendid? She'd never allowed herself to see the profound elegance the moon held, the poetic beauty of its peaceful setting. And the palace where she'd been raised in, which she had never left until only months before, had never seemed to her as impressive. The shining marble that lined the floor, the glittering moonstones that adorned the walls, the fine sculpted details wrought onto every surface with sparkling silver, the fountains decorated with seashells and which poured out the water which always tasted so oddly fruitlike. The portraits of her silver haired and lavender eyed ancestors, of the Lunar Goddess with her elegant figure and ethereal beauty, and the people that existed within the confines of her life – they had never quite held as much importance to her as they did then.
Golden fireworks burst in the sky without a sound. She could still hear the laughter and the music floating in the air.
Was everyone so unaware of their destiny, so soon approaching? Did the court not notice the silence of the Queen or the absence of the Scouts? And the Scouts! Serenity had just seen them smiling, in love, with grinning generals holding them in their arms. That had been taken from them, that was over, and now their pain and sorrow was killing their princess like it was killing them. Serenity could practically feel them shattering in her own heart, could feel them falling apart. She'd fall apart too, if Endymion was so lost to her, so lost to the darkness. She was falling apart for them. And soon, everything would fall apart.
The darkness that had already encompassed Earth was soon approaching. She could see destruction coming in the shadows blinding the stars and the stillness of the air. She could feel death behind her, threatening to claim her soul or worse, Endymion's. Serenity feared his death more than anything else, was more distraught at the thought of his demise than the collapse of her home planet.
Above the pain of anything else was the acute knowledge that it was her sins that would murder him. Their love, so wonderful and true, was forbidden. She'd broken the only true rule that bound her, the ordinance of silence towards all people of Earth, in the most solid way. She'd fallen in love with the only person in the entire galaxy who she was not allowed to love, fell so terribly in love that she could not possibly bear to be apart from him. Her ignorance of consequences and her mad desire to be with him forever would kill not only her, but him as well. He would die because she loved him and because he loved her. He would die because she couldn't resist him, couldn't deny the only true calling her heart had.
But, as her heart taunted, he had been worth it. Even if all was lost, even if their worlds would crumble around them, even if the Gods ruled they were to be apart – she could never leave him, never deny him. Her heart and soul could not destroy the unbridled happiness he'd brought to her, the weeping of her sorrow could not drown out the beating of her heart as his lips met hers. Her selfless love for him was the only selfish act she had ever committed, but it had been calamitous.
If loving him would cause the world to end, come what may.
It pained her considerably to think of the impending doom of her companions, her sisters, her other soulmates. The women she told her every secret to and whom she whispered her soul to in late nights, under the canopy of the stars. The princesses who swore to protect her, whom she admired and loved. Venus with her sensuous beauty and extraordinary leadership, Mercury with her sensible wisdom and gentle kindness, Mars with her passion and venerable spirituality, and Jupiter with her fierce strength and unwavering reliability. She loved them so fully, so ardently, it was stunning she could love anyone else. And yet, Serenity was filled with love. Her gift, her extraordinary talents, rested on her unending love for everything and her ability to forgive anyone for any misdeed. But Serenity knew that her dearest friends were soon to face the same destiny as she and Endymion.
She fought the urge to die at the sound of his voice, so weary and gentle. She turned to the sound, finding him devastatingly close to her. She exhaled sharply attempting to block out the thoughts she feared most. She was inexperienced in dealing with these apprehensive emotions, with dread, but she tried frantically to cling to her optimism. And as his arms found their way around her, pulling her infinitely closer, she found a flickering feeling of hope in her chest. She smiled sadly as she rested her head on his chest, the familiar beating of his heart reminding her that at that moment she still had everything.
"Serenity?" He breathed out, the man's midnight blue eyes resting on the petite girl he held carefully in his arms. Her silence was startling, unnerving, and his heart longed to provide her some small comfort, some relief. He could sense her troubled mind, her tragic thoughts, and fought back the lump in his throat when he remembered she too was about to face the uproar approaching. He wanted so much to protect her, had tried so hard to, but even his princess could not escape their ultimate fate.
"Endymion." She finally replied in a breathless sigh, her eyes fluttering up to his face. Seeing his troubled brow, her thoughts flew in a new direction and her only desire was to erase his hurt. Her hands found their way around his neck as she breathed in his scent, the unmistakable cologne of roses and almonds. Her eyes drifted close with another sigh as she lightly pressed kisses down his jaw, then to his lips. She pressed a gentle kiss to his mouth, her own lips lingering there as she whispered in fervent urgency, "I love you. Forever. Always."
His eyes never left her and with her hurried words he captured her lips in an attempt to shush her. He knew, and those words tasted of a bitter sweetness. "Forever." He repeated, resolutely, as he pressed a kiss to her forehead and stepped back, his hand seizing hers. Her blue orbs turned from his, gazing out across the skyline as she murmured something incoherent.
"There is no doubt that a bitter war is about to break out." He arranged his words carefully, not letting his voice display the overwhelming dread he was consumed with. It was his turn to sigh as he stepped forward, drawing out a vibrant pink rose for her and holding it out to her with a gloved hand. "I wish it were not so." He added quietly as she gently accepted the rose, her eyes now on the bud as tears threatened to spill over.
She thought it was the most lovely flower she'd ever seen. She loved his roses, loved how perfect and unflawed they always were and how he could always draw one out of nowhere. She loved how his roses never died, never wilted, and always bloomed. But usually, they were a crimson red. Fully bloomed. This rose was delicate, just beginning to bloom, and had petals colored the exact shade of pink that she loved so much.
"This is not the end of our story, Princess Serenity."
He did not sound convinced. He sounded, simply, sad. Heartbroken. At his statement her eyes flickered up to him, their depths wide and surprised.
"Well, of course not!" she declared fiercely, her heart speeding up. Why did he have to remind her with silly words that they would soon meet their fate? Her eyes shone, startling him. He had not expected such a reaction from her. "It's only just beginning. We've only just started." She puffed out frustrated, glaring at him momentarily before her eyes flickered back to the flower. Why did he not ignore their ominous present and just pretend? That's what she wanted to do, what she would do. Pretend. She became resolute. Her fears hid themselves in the farthest corners of her mind and her mind turned to dreaming, but she could not force the sorrow out. Her mind rushed to fill her head with wishes, with beautiful dreams of a lovely future. She smiled softly at the petals of the flower.
Prince Endymion stared at her, unblinking, and wondering where she got such strength. He watched her brush her fingers over the soft petals of the rose, sensing the flurry of new feelings filling up his princess. He felt her shift, could see her optimistic heart battling for dominance over her logically dismayed countenance. He could she in the delicate, loving way she gazed at the flower that she was imagining a future that didn't exist. It reminded him of the afternoons where they would lay under shaded trees and discuss how they would build a small cottage on the beach after they were married and escape there from their duties as King and Queen of both Earth and Moon. How Serenity and he would build sandcastles, create their own world. Dreams where they would rule two peaceful worlds while simultaneously leading ordinary lives on the beach. But to Endymion, those dreams were unreachable. Gone. He had only one hope, one goal, one dream left. For her to live.
He wondered how she could possibly dream of a future.
The Princess found herself imagining a world beyond the looming darkness, while the Prince could not see past it. He knew that he would not survive this battle, this war. He would never again see Earth. Beryl had risen with the stated intention of killing every last Lunarian starting with the Moon Princess, his generals had betrayed him, and his father was dead. Serenity was all he had left and he was ready to give his heart and soul for her. He'd give his life for her protection. That was the only way he'd ever leave her side. Death. And still, even after he'd accepted his own doom, he had hope for her. She had to outlive him, had to live. How could the universe survive without her? How could any world exist without her light? She was all that was good. If she died, there would be nothing but darkness. He could not bear the thought. She had to live.
"Endymion." She cooed, her eyes dimmed of a sadness that still existed. She smiled a dazzling smile at him as she turned her face up to his. "I want you to promise me something."
"Yes, Princess?" He felt a sense of dread. He feared whatever she wanted him to promise, feared whatever it was that had become her only wish. He feared he would not be able to promise her anything. How could he promise her anything when he could not even promise that he would live to see another day?
"Promise me one thing." She mused on, one hand falling onto his chest as the other swirled the stem of the rose. Her eyes searched his expectantly as she added pleadingly, "Just one."
Endymion felt the weight of the world on his shoulders. He could not bear to deny her, but he could not lie to her either. But as blue eyes bore into his, begging him, he could not find the strength to refuse her. Her dying wish. Was that what it was to be? His brain rejected the idea. She wouldn't die. He wouldn't let her. If he had to face the wrath of the world, of the gods, to save her – he would. He would have her live, he would not let her die. She couldn't.
His gloved hand lightly touched her cheek, caressing her jaw as he leaned his forehead against hers. He closed his eyes painfully before replying, and then stepped back from her touch, nodding once. "Serenity, anything, I'll promise you anything." The prince found himself saying it, meaning it. He would save her and he would promise her the world. And yet he dreaded what she was to say next, feared not being able to keep whatever promise he was to make.
"Promise me we'll have our own family, one day?" It was a whisper, the quietest thing he had ever heard. It was spoken gently, with so much longing. She was pleading with him, pleading for him to grant her true heart's desire. He never heard more heartbreaking words.
And there it was. His heart shattered into a thousand pieces. Whatever he had been expecting, it hadn't been that. It was, perhaps, the most horrible thing she could make him promise in their situation. Because now, with evil closing in on them so quickly, he could not even picture what she must be picturing. Could not picture a day beyond this day, where there lay the happiness of having her every day for the rest of his life.
In another time he would have promised her in a moment.
To his horror, Serenity continued quietly.
"A little girl. A little princess."
She plucked petals from the delicate rose he had given her, unaware that she was slowly killing him with her words. She imagined a tiny baby rested in his arms. Her cheeks were flushed the same shade as the flower, a vibrant pink, and silvery tears cascaded down her cheeks. Endymion at first mistook her blush as embarrassment, but soon realized from the loving swell of her voice that that blush meant so much more. It was forgotten joy, sadness at a future already gone.
Serenity knew, too. Endymion realized, with unshakeable grief, that she too realized that tonight would bring the end of their dreams of a future together. And yet she dreamed anyway.
"A little princess." He repeated tonelessly, her words forcing on him a picture of a dazzling little girl, the spitting image of her mother, clinging to Serenity's dress.
Serenity stared up at him intently, her eyes wide and foreign to him. A sad smile touched her lips as she saw the look written across his face and the tragically hopeless look in his midnight blue eyes. He saw the life she wanted, the life she saw so clearly despite it all. The life she feigned to believe was possible. Their hearts broke as they stared at one another. They knew, knew these things were not just her hearts desires. Her dream. But, they were his dreams as well. Dreams he realized, painfully, that he would never be able to see come true. Not in this lifetime. Perhaps not in the next. They were doomed now to forever see the happiness they desired with no chance of ever having it, weren't they?
"And… pink hair!" she declared suddenly, a passionate ardor reflecting in her eyes. Her sudden burst threw him off, leaving him starstruck in her wake. He was breathless, hanging on her every word. Pink hair? He found himself being further drawn into her dreams, further lured into her unattainable world.
The declaration was immediately followed by a soft sigh as she lovingly stroked the pink petals of the rose she still held. Her eyes fluttered closed as she mused sadly, "Pink is a lovely color. My very favorite. There's no pink on the moon. Did you know? Ball gowns, sure, but not flowers."
She was nonsensical.
He shook his head, his eyes guiltily shifting away from her. He couldn't look at her, couldn't bear to see and to be swept up further in her imagination. It was his fault she'd never have all she wanted, he thought; his fault that she would never have a husband, a family, and a little princess with pink hair. He wanted, more than anything, to give her this. He wanted nothing more than to marry her, to spend the rest of his life with her, to give her a beautiful baby girl. But he couldn't, not in this lifetime. Perhaps not in the next.
He realized with a sick turn of his stomach that he would spend the rest of his life with her. Indeed, he would be dying quite soon.
"And her eyes." She continued, her words quicker and steadier. Her eyes glazed over slightly, her voice became higher, "They'll be like roses, beautiful and true. Full of love, full of passion. And we'll spoil her, our little princess."
Endymion found that he could no longer picture it. And that killed him.
"Oh, Endymion, she's beautiful." Her voice broke and he turned to her, hesitating. He saw silent tears fall down her cheeks, dripping like dew onto the flower. She closed the rose gently in her palms, bringing her clasped hands to rest over her heart. And then, releasing her hands, a gust of wind caught the petals. For a moment the pink blossoms hung suspended in the air, floating around the diaphanous fabric of her dress. When the moment passed and the petals were gone, carried off as the trailing white fabric of Serenity's dress fluttered behind her in the dying wind.
Endymion could only stare, already feeling like a ghost. He could not bring himself to move, could not enfold her in his arms to comfort her. He watched her whisper his own dreams from her lips, they fell so gently. They were too true, too pure for this world. Forbidden. The word clung to the couple.
He was already dead. He had to be. Surely he could not suffer anymore than this, surely no sharp knife could pierce his heart so painfully. He was dying for her. He took in her every word, his mind spinning. Was she dying, too?
And then, he could see it. Just as clearly as she could.
A little pink-haired child with eyes like roses. He would have laughed at her if they had not been touched by war, by death, by chaos. The words, in another world, would seem silly and like a whimsical joke from a daydreaming girl in love. But it wasn't. Not at all. Such an outrageous idea was not fanciful, but tragic. Because in their world a tiny blonde child with the face of her mother was impossible and a pink-haired miracle was the wildest fantasy they could imagine.
But he could imagine it. He could suddenly see Serenity clutching the hand of a giggling toddler, a little girl with bright pink hair shaped into two oddly shaped buns whose ruby red eyes startled him more than her likeness to her mother. The picture burned into his soul. Suddenly, he didn't feel like he was dying anymore.
"She is beautiful." He found himself murmuring into the wind.
Then she shattered, his princess seeming to fall with no intentions of ever standing up again. He caught her, he always caught her. Bringing her closer than he thought it was possible to be to another person, he pulled her into his embrace. His own eyes squeezed shut as he held his princess, his life, his dream. He made no words to soothe her. He had none. Their hurt could not be fixed by careful coos, by careless insistences. It was deeper than that. Vastly.
"Endymion!" she choked out. She sobbed, hysteric tears falling down onto his skin and clinging to it. She hastily grabbed him, tightly and forcefully. He forced himself to look at her, to bring her face to his, but she turned away from him harshly. And then flung herself back towards him in a second.
Her eyes shamed him. Silvery blue hued orbs held so much want, so much desire for a hopeless dream, and so much pain. But his eyes surely showed her the same. Why? Why was the world ending when they had so much to live for?
Lightning stuck in the distance. Dark purple clouds drew closer.
She had been about to speak when thunder shook the ground. She closed her mouth and choked out a sob. Through their bond, Endymion could feel her mounting terror and the devastating loss rolling over her. She buried her face into his neck as he wrapped his arm around her middle to steady her, his lips pressed into her golden silver hair. With another crash of thunder and the deathly still silence hanging in the air after, she broke. Her face jerked up to his.
"Promise me! Promise me! Promise me a future! Promise me a life! Promise me pink hair and roses and happiness and a family and, and you!" she cried to him in absolute desperation, tone rising and edging on hysteric. And then the world went silent. Her words shook him to his core, crashed over him. He felt the weight of the universe. Nothing had ever been so appallingly tragic then fate's denial of such an innocent creature's deepest desire.
She deserved so much more than what this world had to offer.
He was silent. Everything was. No thunder, no laughter from the palace, no music floating from the ballroom. No steady heartbeat, no shaky breath. The silence increased her panic, her devastation. She saw her pink haired baby begin to disappear in the stillness of quiet. She had to stop it. She had to do something. He had to do something.
"PROMISE ME!" she shouted, to him and the universe. With that fraught outburst the crescent moon on her forehead glowed, emitting a short flash of blinding light. The girl lost her ability to stand, to think, to feel anything but the pain her mother had tried to shield her from. So he swept her into his arms, folding into her as a golden and silver aura pulsated around them. They were doomed. They could not heal each other.
And, he wondered, how was this justice? How was her suffering justice? How could the world turn its back on its most brilliant star? She deserved every happiness, every joy the universe had to offer. And yet, she was slowly having everything taken from her.
Suddenly, he felt something in him stir. Something in his soul awakened to the sound of her begging, her pleading for him to give her the only thing she'd ever asked for. His own pain, his own hurt, and his disappointment became utterly irrelevant, erasing itself from him. Something in him changed drastically, something became sure when there was nothing at all to be sure of. Hope built up solidly in his chest.
He held her tightly as he said with a confidence he didn't know he was capable of, speaking from a place in his soul he had suddenly accessed,
"I promise you, Serenity, I will give you everything you want. The world, the sun, the stars. Everything. You will have it all. We will be happy, we will. More so than any two beings that ever lived, that ever will. And I will not, I cannot, I cannot stop until you are happy. Serenity, I will never ever leave you. And I love you, infinitely. Forever. More than words can express, more than this world and the next. Nothing can or will change that, not anything. Not even time. No matter what happens, I will always find my way back to you."
He did not pause as he continued,
"And in the end, I will bring you everything you want. Everything you hope for. And I'll be there to protect you, to worship you, to comfort you, and to love you. And in the end, I promise you we'll have each other and a little, pink-haired princess just like her mother. Beautiful and with eyes like roses. We'll spoil her and protect her and I will love her as much as I love you. You will have everything you want Serenity. Because you are the brightest star in the universe, you hold more love than anyone that ever existed."
He exhaled, his lips finding hers swiftly as he declared, "And I love you, Serenity, I love you."
Serenity stared at him in awe, the restless beating of her heart thumping in her chest. Her words filled every fiber of her being, quieted every doubt in her soul, and completed her. Nothing hurt, suddenly, nothing mattered but his promise. She believed him, fully and completely. She had never been as happy as she was then, or more in love. Everything, for a moment, was perfect. He had stunned her with his promise, into silence.
Endymion peered into her eyes with a blazing adoration, his eyes filled with unquestionable, intense love. A sudden grin swept onto his serious face, lighting up hers in effect, as he finished sanguinely, "So even if it takes up a thousand years, two thousand, forever – I promise. I promised you, forever and always. I promise you pink hair and roses and me."
Her tears, which had halted at his monologue, sprung back to her eyes. But this time, they told of joy. Unabridged happiness filled her and she could only exclaim in response, "I love you!", before her lips met his in an enthusiastic, searing kiss.
The time had come. The sky and sea turned to stormy darkness. Electric bolts of dark energy struck the ground, shook the palace. Screaming and the clinking sound of soldier's armor filled the night.
And then, out of the darkness, there was a brilliant burst of golden light. And then the world crumbled. The palace, which had stood for more than a millennia, began to fall apart in clouds of purple smoke. The castle, once bathed in light, now turned opaque like the swirling darkness of the skies above. Shards of glass, of stone, of debris rose into the air in glowing red energy. Screaming. So much screaming. And on top of the broken thrown, on thick column that had once lined the throne room, stood a horrifying Queen of darkness. Beryl.
And the palace was no more. Only a broken shell, a remnant of its former glory. The cracked stone foundation was all that remained. Underneath the rubble lay the Lunarians. Queen Serenity could not bring herself to think of it. And atop of it all was Beryl, radiating dark energy. Soldiers moved at her command, enraged and seething for more power, more death, more destruction. And calmly, so calmly, the royal guard of Princess Serenity stood on the steps of the palace, staring down into the empty faces of the men they had once loves. And calmly, so calmly, those generals took the lives of the very women they'd sworn vows to in dark corners, in shaded gardens, in their hearts. Those very generals who could find no love in their dark hearts as they watched the loves of their lives dying, watching the princesses of the inner planets fade into oblivion. And Beryl – proud of her conquest and filled with a lust to spill every last drop of blood in the Moon Princess's body – laughed at the chaos erupting around her.
And then there was Princess Serenity, her hand clasped around her mouth to hold back her screams as she witnessed the murders of her sisters, saw the collapse of her kingdom, and the deaths of everyone. Everyone. Endymion, filled with nothing but desire to protect her, to spare her if no one else. And Serenity could only watch with wide, frightened, distraught eyes as her soulmate swept her behind him, his eyes filled with passionate hate and terrible love. Dangerous, so dangerous.
Queen Serenity, who had never actually seen the devastations of war, saw what she always knew war could do. She had never felt a loss so great, she had never witnessed the suffering of her own people. She felt the overwhelming burden of power and need, the need to protect. But she could see already that all was lost. For the first time since she was a child, tears readily stung her eyes and cascaded down her pale cheeks as she watched, helplessly, as her kingdom fell, her people fell, her Scouts fell. And her daughter. She could only watch in horror as her daughter stood amid it all, radiating such innocence and purity and sadness. Her daughter, who would be consumed by the destruction. Who would look around at the chaos she'd caused, at the body of her fallen lover, and see nothing but his gleaming sword clutched in his hand. Her daughter, who loved too much and was too good in so much darkness. And then she was gone too, bleeding fresh bright blood onto the still body of the Prince of Earth.
They had not found the future they so desperately wanted in this lifetime. But, in their final moments, with their last breath, they would see a brilliant glimpse into the future. They would see a crystal palace, the purest kingdom that ever existed, and they would see an image of themselves. At last, together, for eternity. They would see their own happiness, so long coming. And finally, they would glimpse the face of a brilliant sunbeam with the face of her mother, hair wildly pink, and eyes as red as the petals of roses. As their life left them they would clutch each other's hands and die knowing that one day, in another life, they would find everything they dreamed of.
But for the Moon Kingdom, it was over. It was too late. The Silver Crystal could not undo this massacre, could not rewind time, could not save Queen Serenity's daughter from this madness.
But the Queen could give them a second chance. She could save their future, despite their past. She could let her daughter live in a world that existed after darkness, in a world where she could shine again. A world where she could love without consequences, where she could find happiness. A world where she could have the future she dreamed of.
A world with a little pink haired princess.
The Silver Imperial Crystal could not bring back her loved ones into this world, but it could lock away the darkness so that they could exist in another time. With fresh tears still falling down her eyes, Queen Serenity ran, only two people left to follow her. Luna, her dress torn and singed by the fire that had engulfed the ballroom. And Artemis, his crisp white suit stained dark red by the blood of his best friend, Princess Venus. The two followed after their Queen, watching as she faced the cackling witch and her generals, watching as she raised the Moon Wand into the air and shouted her last wish to the source of her family's power.
And then, with a burst of bright power, the moon was pulled from the darkness.
The Queen fell, while the souls of all that had been lost shone brightly, preserved by the power she exerted to save them. Luna and Artemis too felt their souls lifted from the desolate landscape and felt themselves fall into a deep sleep as their bodies transformed into their true forms. The light shone into the darkness, locking Metelia, Beryl, and the generals away from the world in a temporary prison.
Sailor Saturn dropped her Silence Glaive and, in that instant, the world ended.
Sailor Pluto smiled as, in a different timeline, a fourteen year old girl's test paper hit a preoccupied college student right in the head.
Perhaps this time.