Author's Notes: Updates on this will be slow. And I mean like, glacially slow. Writing is something I'm having trouble with right now for various real life reasons.
Let me know if you've seen a fic like this. I'd love to read another interpretation!
"Pluto. . ." Queen Serenity softly greeted the eldest of the system's Sailor Senshi.
"My Queen," Pluto replied from her position on her knees before the monarch.
The Queen watched the young woman, looking for clues she could not find. "Why are you here?"
The Senshi of Time looked up, meeting her eyes. "There is a disturbance in the time stream. A great storm. Even I cannot see or move past the gates."
Is this it then? Queen Serenity wondered. Is this the calamity that has been foreseen?
The first thing that Kunzite noticed was that there was a girl lying asleep in Prince Endymion's bed. The second was that the girl appeared to be none other than Princess Serenity of the Moon Kingdom. These two observations shocked Kunzite's previously peaceful state of mind into what could only be called utter chaos.
"My Prince..." he stuttered, than stopped. Taking a deep breath he tried again. "May I ask; what...?" Kunzite trailed off unable to complete the question. He was fairly certain that this wasn't what it looked like, because frankly Endymion knew better. At least, Kunzite desperately hoped he did. If his faith in his prince was misplaced than he was not looking forward to the fallout.
The Prince of Earth had pulled a chair away from his desk and was currently sitting in it backwards while contemplating the female occupying his bed.
No answer was immediately forthcoming, so Kunzite took a moment to observe the girl himself. Deeply asleep, despite the late afternoon hour, she at least appeared to be dressed under the covers, though her hair had fallen out of its customary styling and was a riotous mess. The manner in which she was sprawled and the light snoring issuing from her frame would have made Kunzite chuckle in just about any other situation. Something about her appearance was nagging at him though and it was too frustrating to allow for laughter.
Kunzite shifted his gaze from the sleeping princess to Endymion. His prince was fully dressed, though his hair and his clothing both had a certain clinging dampness that made Kunzite conclude he'd recently been out in the post-storm weather. The expression on his face was somewhere between thoughtful and brooding.
Sighing, Kunzite stepped out long enough to tell a servant to summon the other Shitennou before settling into a chair by the fireplace. He was content to wait until Endymion was ready to speak, but knew that Jadeite would pull out their occasionally reclusive prince with greater ease.
Zoicite and Nephrite both had the sense to not say anything when they showed up, though the widening of Zoicite's eyes and his sharp look towards Kunzite spoke volumes about his thoughts on the matter. Nephrite merely took in the sleeping princess with a thoughtful gaze. Jadeite was nowhere near as accommodating.
"What in the world were you thinking?" Jadeite exploded the moment he saw Princess Serenity.
Endymion scowled. "Quiet! You'll wake her."
Zoicite glanced over at the completely undisturbed girl. "That's doubtful. It looks like she'd sleep through an explosion."
"Nonetheless," Endymion murmured.
"Perhaps we should take this somewhere else?" Kunzite offered, eyeing Jadeite to see if his temper was going to get the better of him.
Endymion stilled. "No," he said after a moment. "She was hurt when I found her. I want to be here when she wakes."
Kunzite snapped to attention. "Hurt? In what way?"
"Bruises, largely. A few small cuts. Nothing I couldn't heal myself. I found her unconscious and soaked to the bone in my private garden." Here Kunzite could easily hear the worry in his prince's voice. It was no secret amongst the Shitennou that Endymion was deeply in love with the moon princess.
"She was out in the storm?" Zoicite asked, aghast at the thought of anyone out in the dangerous weather that had both come and gone so abruptly.
"But, even in that weather, why would she be bruised?" Jadeite asked.
"Debris," Kunzite answered tightly. "Tree branches, rocks, anything that was not secure. It likely accounts for the cuts as well."
"That could be it. But, if I didn't know better, I would say she had been in a fight." Endymion's face was tight, angry, as if he was fighting for control.
Silence reigned for a moment as the repercussions of someone purposefully harming Princess Serenity seeped into the Shitennou's minds.
"You said she was wet," Zoicite ventured after a moment. "She could become ill if that is not taken care of."
Endymion shook his head, "I had one of my more discreet servants dry her off and put her into a clean change of clothing."
"Well," Jadeite muttered. "What now? The Senshi will be looking for her, and it'll be a mess if anyone else finds out she's here."
That was an understatement. The Earth and the Moon Kingdom were only loosely at peace at the best of times, and with tensions as high as they currently were, these were not the best of times. If the princess was discovered in the castle, let alone in the prince's bedroom, it could very well mean all out war.
"It shouldn't be too difficult," Kunzite mused. "As you say, the Senshi will be searching. It will not take them long to try here." Kunzite glanced meaningfully at Prince Endymion. "It is not as if she is not a frequent visitor," he added dryly causing Endymion to blush. "And the Senshi will certainly check with us first."
Jadeite grinned, "You mean Sailor Venus will check with you first?"
Kunzite held back a blush of his own. "Perhaps."
"There is one difficulty," Nephrite spoke for the first time. "This is all assuming that she is Princess Serenity."
"What?" Kunzite demanded, as Jadeite and Zoicite merely stared, wide eyed at the suggestion.
"She is Serenity. Who else could she be?" Endymion said, frowning.
"The symbol of the moon is missing from her forehead," Nephrite replied, putting to words something that had been bothering Kunzite the entire time.
"Yes," Endymion admitted reluctantly, "I had noted that myself. Her clothing was also strange, and there is something... different about her that I cannot place. But I would know Serenity anywhere. She is Serenity," Endymion insisted with quiet intensity.
"As you say, my prince," Nephrite said. "Yet while she has the same aura as the princess, hers is stronger. And better focused."
"What does that mean?" Endymion asked.
"I do not know."
Princess Serenity closed her book with a huff. Mercury would chide her later for not finishing her work, but it was just too boring to be bared.
With a languid stretch Serenity moved to her massive picture window. "The weather has cleared," she murmured to herself, wondering what problem had caused the weather control system to let loose such a torrent. She shivered, remembering the clash of lightening and the terrifying boom of thunder. Mars will make fun of me for being scared.
She knew though that she'd be happy for Mars to make fun of her if it meant that her Senshi were with her. But the four were off doing their training for the day, and she was expected to study without even Luna for company.
What did mama need to talk to Luna about anyway? It better not be my studies! I'll be in so much trouble!
Serenity winced, knowing that she'd been neglecting her academics too much. But who could blame her when she had important things on her mind? She'd been hopelessly distracted lately. It was impossible to focus when she couldn't stop thinking about other things.
Something was wrong, she just knew it. Endymion had looked so worried the last time she saw him. He'd smiled for her but there was definitely something on his mind. "Some small problems in the kingdom," he'd said. "Nothing to concern yourself over, Serenity."
Her Senshi had been distracted lately too. Training hard. Too hard, to her mind. Even Luna looked like she had something on her mind.
Was there something she didn't know? What weren't they telling her? She tried to stuff away the hurt of her loved ones keep secrets. They were probably just protecting her. But still, she wanted to help!
And what could you do? A nasty voice in her own head asked. You are no Senshi. You don't even know how to use the Silver Crystal!
She bit her lip. Could that be it? Could everyone be keeping secrets from her because there was nothing she could do to help? Because she was useless to them?
Serenity glanced back to where she had left her reading. If she couldn't be useful she should at least do what was wanted and expected of her.
Heaving a sigh the princess of the moon reluctantly got back to the task at hand.