This is teh second of two epilogues.
Meaning I have written two alternative endings to this story.
Please read both.
"When Dawn Comes"
Part XXV (b)
Soft beeping echoed off silent walls. The scuffle of feet and hushed whispers. Her body pressed down with thick layers of softness. Her hand above the blankets was warm, strange since she could smell the cold in the air.
It came back slowly, flash's of light, shouting that reached inside and tore at her heart. Desperate plea's she could not understand yet alone abide to. Screams of rage and determination dashing against each other and a gentle comforting warmth that held onto her against the odds.
Serena sighed softly at that last memory, relishing that all encompassing warmth, reaching for the feel of it to savour forever. And she realised it was there again, a light wash of it across her body, her hand burning with the feel.
Yearningly her hand convulsed around the warmth's source, feeling soft flesh and warm skin.
A gasp of surprise penetrated her senses, the fingers tightening their hold on her own in response, that warmth drawing nearer to her.
"Serena?" Was whispered at a volume near silence, tentative and caressing.
"Hmmm." She murmured in reply, she would know that voice anywhere.
A ragged breath was drawn near her ear. A quick squeeze of her hand.
"I'll get the doctor." And he shifted away from her. And she clung with every particle of strength her hand had, keeping him in place.
"Stay." She whispered drawing his hand up to her chest and cuddling it like a teddy bear. She wanted nothing else at that moment, then the warmth his presence was feeding her.
Fingers brushed against her forehead, pushing strands of fringe from her closed eyes.
"I have to get the doctor, love."
"No." She demanded twisting to her side, still cuddling his arm and forcing him to follow her movements or forcibly remove her grip. He followed. "Stay, Endy."
Anther ragged breath, the pause between words longer, time only measurable by the steady mechanical beeping that echoed through the room with her heart beat. "Okay Ser." Another uncertain breath came before her gave a quick unobtrusive laugh. "I'm going to need my arm back." His amusement came through his voice and she smiled in response to it. She could tell his upper chest was hovering over her, his right arm caught in her hold, his left causing the bed to sag just behind her shoulders. His feet still on the ground, his weight no resting against the bed.
"No. Lay down with me, I'm cold." She ordered like the petulant young lady she was. He wasn't even shocked but he was amused and his laughter proved it.
"Tempting as that is, your father would kill me."
"I don't have a father."
Another uncertain breath. "Yeah you do Ser, trust me on this." It sounded like the humour one got when they where trying to pretend everything was okay, when it was all going to hell.
"Endy?" She knew the uncertainty was in her voice.
"Darien." He replied, his voice a little strained, she frowned, it sounded like a correction.
"What?" She went to roll over and face him, but he stopped her, both arms holding her still, and he kissed the corner of her eye before his weight settled on the bed behind her, her right arm still trapped in her hold, his left twisted in below her waist to wrap around her and hold her close. "Endyimion?"
Another sharp breath, his chest muscles against her back stiff. Then he relaxed a kiss touching the nap of her neck.
"Don't worry, Serenity. Just sleep."
And enclosed in his warmth she did as he commanded.
She woke up cold, cold all over and realised she was alone.
Her body jolted upwards, things wrenching at her arm, the pain ignored, giant eyes jumping about he unfamiliar room trying to find him.
"Hey. Your awake." Was the gentle female voice that had her eyes jumping to a large chair beside her bed.
Huge violet eyes stared at her in excitement, raven black hair and creamy skin.
She turned from her scrutiny of the girl the moment recognition set in; she was Raye, the Princess and guardian of Mar's, the Sailor Scout of Fire.
Serena searched the rest of the room quickly, her heart rate on overdrive. He had left her, and she'd asked him to stay.
She tried to stand, heard Raye exclaim something and tried to stand. Her arm tugged and she glared at it angrily, finding a varying assortment of devices attached to it.
She started pulling the things off, ignoring the shaking of her hands, ignoring the throbbing through her body or the girl before her who was shouting.
Two slender hands grabbed her firmly and tried to stop her movements. Pain shot through her at the contact, a scream steeling form her.
Raye jumped back eyes wide.
"I'm sorry Serena, just calm down okay! You're in a hospital. You need to lie down!"
And the next moment he was they're looking angrily from her to Raye, eyes stopping on Raye.
"What did you do?" He demanded in a tone very alien to him. Raye raised her hands in self-defence.
"She just jumped up, started ripping the IV's out! I was trying to restrain her!"
His eyes moved back to her and he must have seen the tears escaping her control because he crossed the room quickly, his warmth once more enfolding her. He brushed the tears away gently.
"You weren't here." She whispered in way of apology. She could feel his concern, as real as her own emotions and as readable.
"I'm sorry. I was talking to the doctor down the corridor, not far." He brushed her hair back from her eyes, cupping her face and rested his forehead against her own. "Raye was here, and I wasn't far." His eyes closed as he drew a deep breath in, his thumbs stroking the sides of her head soothingly. "I would leave you Serenity."
She blinked at him and his eyes opened quickly as if aware of her mild confusion. He wet his upper lip, searching her eyes.
"Serena." He whispered and something in her expression must have been right because he was grinning at her, his eyes a dazzling blue that made her smile in response. Although she had no idea why he was so happy she couldn't help but replicate the feeling.
"I'll wait outside." Came a timid whisper from across the room and both turned to see Raye's eyes diverted, bag over shoulder and ready to take flight.
Serena's breath caught and she looked back to Darien. He gave the slightest of nods drawing away from her. Serena smiled and looked to Raye. "Raye, don't go." It could have been an order, but it was a request. "Darien."
He interrupted her. "I have to go finish talking with your doctor." Was all he said before walking past Raye and out of the room.
Raye waited, unmoving, still poised for retreat.
"Come sit with me?" Serena patted the bed next to her. Reluctantly the priestess shifted across the room and took the offered seat, her bag still in her grip, still ready to escape.
Serena watched her friend uncertainly. Small trails of blood trickled down the arm she had almost freed of invading objects, the cotton sheets beneath her where scrunched in places, the afternoon light filtered through the blinds, the machines continued to beep rhythmically. Serena tried to form what she wanted to say but wasn't quite sure what it was.
Raye interrupted her and blurted out a question that seemed to be plaguing her. "Do you love him?"
The sound of Serena's drawn breath echoed through the room, pulling the strings of tension tighter. Serena franticly sought an answer to give her friend.
"We where all so surprised." Raye ploughed on determinedly. "When he showed up at the hospital. Like he belonged, like he had a right." A twist of a smile graced Raye's otherwise blank expression. "Your father looked ready to kill. I guess he didn't think you knew any guys."
Serena sighed her surrender with words and looked earnestly at the friend who avoided her eyes.
"I'm sorry." In the end it was all she could say.
Raye turned her head, doubt written on her features as she scrutinized Serena closely. Raye's fist tightened on her bag, her face turning away once more.
"No your not." It wasn't even an accusation.
Serena closed her eyes against the words, trying to pretend they weren't true. Raye moved, her weight leaving the bed. Serena knew without a doubt how important it was that some redemption was made before her friend left the room. Savagely she made herself meet Raye's challenging words.
"I am sorry." Serena called across the room, gentle enough to reach Raye but not beyond. "Not for my actions." She stated calmly to Raye' unmoving back. "But for hurting you, I am sorry." She was aware then of how exhausted she was. But she watched her friend closely. Raye's body was tense, her body unmoving the breathing too controlled to be calm.
"I'm going to go now." Raye whispered into the air.
Serena swallowed with worry. "I'll see you again?" It seemed important to ask, as if, if the question where not asked the answer would be 'no'.
"I have things to do at the temple. But-" Raye released a tight breath. "But in a day or two. I-I'll visit again then." With that Raye left, Serena's eyes on her back until she was gone from sight.
Serena fell back against her pillows, tired, very tired and without control she drifted back into slumber, only waking briefly when Darien returned to the room and her. Absently she intertwined her fingers with the ones that came to rest on her check before sleep had once more claimed her.
Serena woke to quite talking
"Are they asleep?"
"Shhh" Was the immediate response. "If you keep talking at that volume they wont remain so." Even Serena's half asleep mind recognised not only the voice but also the calm rationality as Amy's.
"They are so cute!" Mina managed in a stage whisper.
"Well Raye certainly didn't think so!" Lita hissed, her voice almost silent.
"Well she's just jealous." Mina pipped at her loudest.
"Guys if you keep this up…" Amy was ignored.
"Of course she's jealous, it's her boyfriend."
"He is not, I bet she just told everyone that."
"Mina!" Amy gasped, her own volume telling them she had forgotten the slumbering people.
"It's true. Look, I respect Raye, really I do! But when it comes to matters of the heart I'm not going to lie! Okay he probably took her on a couple of 'dates'. But I bet he's never even kissed her."
"Who's to say he's kissed Serena?"
"Have you looked at them?" Mina sounded shocked. "If they haven't kissed I'll surrender my title as the 'goddess of love'! Hell his lying on the bed holding her, if they haven't done more then kiss I'll give up my powers!"
"Mina!" Amy gasped in shock.
"This is so weird." Lita muttered. "I thought they hated each other."
There was a silent pause then Amy tentatively whispered. "You know what gets me the most?"
"That Luna hasn't said anything?" Lita suggested. "Yeah that gets me too. She should be screeching at him, trying to claw his eyes out. But I walked in the other night to find her sound asleep on his lap."
"Has he even left since he got here?" Mina asked quickly, a tone of awe in her light voice.
"Not while I've been on guard."
"Nor me." Amy added.
"You'd have to ask Raye to be sure, but I don't think so." Lita paused thoughtfully then continued with an aggravated tone. "Shesh, he hates her one minute, wont leave her side the next."
"Well she'd never been on the brink of death before. Trauma's open our eyes to things we've never been aware of before." Mina sounded almost rational, and Serena cracked a smile at that.
"Andrew visited last Wednesday."
"I asked him about it, he had no idea what Darien was doing here. He hadn't even known there was anything wrong until that day."
"Darien didn't tell him?" Amy's shock was obvious.
"More to the point," Lita interjected "who told Darien?"
There was a long pause as the three girls thought over the answer then a muffled yawn filled the air.
"Go to sleep Lita, you've been up for hours and it's my shift." Amy whispered.
And it was the last Serena heard before she had drifted once more into dreamless sleep.
What felt like the first time in a long time Serena's eyes opened and the need to close them again was distant. She let her awareness stretch out around her.
Darien wasn't lying with her as he had been the last time, but she could feel his presence, still so close he had to be in the room with her. She did not turn to check, it was unnecessary.
Thick blankets where piled above her, the air chilly and sterile. People where walking about in what eve room adjoined her own, talking quietly, walking quietly. There was the same continuous mechanical beeping and an unidentifiable crinkling sound. Serena's eyes peeped open, looking towards the noise's source and found Amy settling a page down in her textbook.
Without disturbing her friend Serena looked about the room. The first thought was that the room itself was dull, despite a collection of flowers on the bench across the room. It wasn't as small as it had felt and the door to enter was wide open.
She looked beyond the door to see a doctor walking past clipboard in hand and realisation dawned on her. It was a realisation she knew she should have come to much sooner, but she was too tired to berate herself.
Glancing at her left arm she found it riddled with protruding needles. With a wince she remembered tearing some of them out before, but the bruises on that arm seemed small and perhaps receding.
Darien was asleep on a lounge chair against the wall, only meters away from her and she smiled something inside brightening at the sight of him at peace with the world.
Her eyes travelled back to her reading friend. She tired to struggle into a seated position but found her trembling limbs un-obliging. With surrender she flipped back onto her pillows.
"Amy?" She called softly, she heard the snap of the book as it closed and met the lively blue eyes that had been hidden behind it. "This may sound really weird, but why am I in hospital?"
Amy was at her side instantly, her book clattering to the floor unnoticed.
"Oh gods, your awake!" There was no mistaking the joy in Amy's voice. "I have to get the others!" Before the girl could bound out the door Serena caught her hand. Amy faced Serena's questioning eyes with puzzlement.
"What happened?" Serena asked again, before releasing the hand and motioning Amy back to her seat.
Amy took the seat graciously, her expression more sombre. "We're not sure what happened. One minute we where fighting, and the next you where glowing. Oh my god Serena! You're the princess! Your princess Serenity."
"I know." Serena smoothed down her blanket thoughtfully her eyes not meeting her friends. She was afraid of her friends reaction not confused about who she was. It was strange the way she accepted the information, like it had always been there and only now was she aware of it. But it held no lingering significance, it was merely who she was.
"None of us had time to think about you being the princess, we had to fight. You where injured during the battle, and we where just so busy fighting that we couldn't stop." Amy's expression became haunted, her eyes unfocused. "Malachite and Zoicite escaped and when I finally turned to check on you, you where gone." Her mouth trembled. "We where frantic. We didn't know what had happened. We thought the enemy had you." She bit down into her lower lip. "Luna called us on the communicator's, I'd never been so relieved to see someone in my life. She said Tuxedo Mask had taken you to the hospital because your injuries had been severe." I hadn't known, I should have known, it's my job to know."
Reassuringly Serena gripped her friends hand, seeing the turmoil in her expression.
Amy gave a weak smile and continued. "We got here as fast as we could." For the first time anger crossed the girls face. "And they wouldn't let us in. They wouldn't talk to us. Wouldn't tell us what was wrong. We had to call your parents. I'd never seen them so worried. I didn't even know how to ask them what was wrong." Amy looked down at her hands, gently flicking at tuffs of lint that clung to her sleaves.
"The… The doctors said you probably wouldn't make it. You surprised them all by making it out of the Operating Room. They'd managed to extract Zoicite's crystal from your chest. But the doctor thought there might be shards still in there when you started fitting and your body fought the sedatives." Tears leaked down the girls face and Serena felt a pang of guilt for having put her friend though such stress.
"I scanned you with the computer, we broke into the Intensive Care ward so I could, and your readings where everywhere, I didn't know what to make of them. They where really weird, Serena." Amy's worried expression quickly shifted to a small frown of confusion which Serena found amusing. "I got Luna to look at them, but by the next day you where fine, as if nothing was wrong, I mean, apart from the obvious. I took a new scan and your healing had kicked up a notch, which was expected because the princess always had exceptional healing skills. You've been slowly getting better ever since."
"Amy?" Lita's head popped into the door, and Serena turned in time to see Lita's eyes widen in surprise. "Serena!" The brunette released a squeal and dashed across the room throwing an awkward hug around the patient.
"Lita!" Amy gasped, but hardly had time to object before Lita had tugged her into the hug as well. The next second Lita was standing tall, her eyes bright with excitement.
"I'll get Mina!" And she dashed out the door at the same speed she had entered.
"How's Raye?" Serena asked, fighting the sleep that had once more snuck up on her. She refused to sleep until she had seen all of her friends.
"She's worried, tired. The same as the rest of us. We forced her to go home this morning. I don't think she was sleeping at all though, even at home I don't think she sleeps. We've all been here every chance we could get. We divided the day up to watch over you, but most the time we're all here anyway." As if to prove the point Lita came rushing back into the room Mina in tow and looking entirely disgruntled. The second her sight rested on Serena she looked as bright and awake as Lita did.
"Serena!" It was the second time her name was squealed in as many minutes and within seconds she was once more enveloped in an enthusiastic hug. "It's been a month you ditz! How dare you stay unconscious for a month!" The hug became tighter, and before Serena could worry about her strength she had been released and settled neatly back into place. "We've been so worried." There where tears in the blondes eyes as she bit into her lip a giant smile on her lips, eyes wide with excitement.
"I'll get the doctor." Amy told them all and silently left the room.
Serena's day didn't last long, slumber beckoning her back long before she was done talking with her friends. But she rolled over and before her eyes had closed she found Darien watching her, a smile on his lips and she could only smile in return before she was once more asleep.
It was a strange silence that overcame her as she stood there, looking in at the destruction she had wrought. She clung to the door frame, her weak legs trembling with overuse.
Two weeks ago she had woken to find Amy in her room, and each day since she had continued to wake. The doctors had been astonished, her family where overjoyed. Over those two weeks, too weak to stand on her own, too awake to sleep, many things had become clearer to her.
Her past life was now as her present life was, everything that had happened to her, in this life or the previous where now just memories of her life, there where no distinctions any more. And although unlike most she had two childhoods, two mothers, two chances at life, she could not view herself as an oddity. Her friends two had begun to remember their own pasts over those two weeks, as if they had been holding it back so they could worry over her more. Darien, it seemed, was already as settled with the knowledge of his past as she was. Through the links that bound them together she could not feel in Darien the confusion that still lingered within her friends.
"Miss are you okay?" Serena turned her head to face the questioning nurse, and offered her a fleeting smile. The nurse returned the smile and continued on her way. Serena's attention once more turned to the room before her, and the patient within.
Molly had visited the night before, had cried and said things that proved the importance of their friendship. In the presence of her friend Serena had regretted the life that lay before her, but it was a momentary regret that she had overcome when realising it was people like Molly that she fought to protect. The people she loved.
A real smile came to her at the thought of him. Endymion. Darien. So strikingly similar, so exactly the same, and hers. When he had fallen, she had known that she was a fool for doubting herself, for doubting the emotions within. She loved him, as she had never loved another and as turbulent as their relationship was nothing could deny the feelings between them. The bond of their past life had reasserted itself, a bond that had never gone only fallen to the background and once more she could feel his emotions, his thoughts as her own.
That was why she was here though, because he was asleep, and this one thing she did not want to share. This was a trial for herself alone.
Taking a breath Serena stepped into the room staring at the boy stretched out on the hospital bed.
When Molly had visited, she had said something that had reminded Serena she had something left undone. Molly had reminded her that she was not the only student from their school in this hospital.
"Justin." Was it a greeting? She wasn't sure, there was a bite in her voice she didn't try and conceal, he could not resent her for it, and even if he did, she did not care. She stepped closer to his bed, leaving a large distance between them still. Pinned into his arm where a number of machines that exceeded even the many she had been monitored with. The machines beeped and hummed with life, the only noise in the room.
She didn't know what to say, what should be said. With her memories of that night returned she didn't know if she had even pity for him. Whatever drug he had fed her was the very cause of his present state. She had defended herself when attacked, and her mind to hazy to understand had forced her to rely on instincts. If she had been normal, if she had not held powers, he would have raped her that night.
She had no pity for him.
She stepped up beside his bed, looking down at the injuries that had no yet healed over time, scars that would not heal. Knowing she had caused them all. She clenched her hand, her large eyes fixed on him as she considered fate.
She knew she had the power to heal the boy before her. As the Princess of the Silver Millennium, wielder of the Silver Imperial Crystal she understood the capability of her powers. But unconscious and coma ridden he still received no sympathy from her.
Feeling empty with that knowledge Serena turned from him, and walked away. She was the Champion of Love and Justice, and this once, she understood how dangerous justice could be.
Darien waited for her in the corridor, his expression solemn, and she easily folded into his arms, accepting his support. She had left him asleep with a promise of return and a gentle kiss, knowing he would not sleep long without her near and was glad he had come to her.
His arms tightened their hold, his presence reassuring her. "I wish I could protect you from it all." He whispered in a distant voice.
"He taught me something I wish I hadn't learnt." She whispered into his chest, hiding the tears that where trickling down her checks. "Not everyone is worth saving." He held her closer, as if he already knew it, allowing her to cry over a piece of innocence lost.
When she stopped crying she smiled up at him, accepting the kiss offered. Her grip about him loosened though she did not let him go, and together they returned to her room where her guardians waited smiles on all their faces. She smiled at the sight of them. Maybe not everyone was worth saving, but there where those that where.
THE END (b)
Kimra looks up at the number of reviews... looks at the readers... looks back to the reviews... "I know we can do better then that." she mutters before stomping off to write some more story's.
Merry Christmas to all those people who where kind and nice and supported me through this (yes that's the people who reviewed... and okay, the people who showed up on the counter who didn't review as well... I know your out there!). So Merry Christmas... or Happy Holidays what ever you celebrate over them... be it a break in school... a couple days of work or just the up and coming New Year's (and anything else I can't think of)
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