Legal/Personal Disclaimer: I don't own them. If I did, there would have been even more angst in Sailor Stars. Also, I don't think Sailor Stars is in need of a rewrite as it is perhaps my favorite, but this would not leave me alone. This is neither to 'improve' the season, or hopefully to be worse, but is merely an alternate 'what if.' This is currently unbetad, so please forgive any mistakes. Also, I do not claim to know much about Japan or its culture. I was ten when we moved back to the states. Instead of believing that I am an inept monkey pounding on a keyboard, please take any and all inaccuracies as creative license.
Summary: In the attempt to save the royal family from temporal disaster, Pluto succeeds in saving only one. The only time they can go is when neither exist, a young girl hurts, and the ability to fix things is still within reach.
Warning: Temporary Character Deaths abound in this chapter.
(This was originally part of a series of drabbles I started but never finished. The next few chapters may have a few familiar paragraphs.)
Chapter One – The End of Utopia
The thing about running a peaceful planet that had not seen any major wars in a few centuries was that despite all the training was that there was little preparation that could actually prepare an army for war. King Endymion worried, often at night while his wife slept peacefully beside him, that there would be an occasion where their small system would be pulled into something that not even their heroes could triumph over. Alliances were crucial, especially for a kingdom as far removed from the heavy traffic other galaxies faced. Without them, a threat would not be realized until it was too late.
Princess Kakyuu, though a peaceful creature by design, came from a distant system that saw war all too frequently. Flanked by three Starlights, her sailor senshi, there was no doubting her promise for conflict should the border treaties between systems hinder her people's first chance at peace in centuries.
"Please, do not misunderstand me," the foreign princess said in a gentle tone. "I do not wish for it to come to any bloodshed. This is why I have come to you first, before your treaty with the Delbians is finalized."
Serenity smiled warmly from her place beside him, and though it would look patronizing on other dignitaries, from her it was always perceived as it was intended, as genuine. "I never believed for a moment that you came here with only intentions for conflict." Then she leaned forward, a mix of curiosity and concern on her open face. "Please, I wish animosity with no one. What sort of compromise would you propose?"
To say that Serenity did not worry about threats would be an insult to his queen and wife both. She had fought constantly to protect what would become their kingdom in their youth, and still kept a wary eye for possible dangers. However, he had long ago promised that he would be the one to keep an avid eye on the whole scenario so that she could think only of peace and prosperity. Her skill for diplomacy and his for tactical made their ruling union a more synergetic endeavor. And, despite their youthful adventures, Serenity possessed an intense curiosity about people, familiar and foreign alike. She would ask about a person's daily routine, no matter how mundane, if she were allowed to.
So, while his wife was free to welcome and negotiate with little worry, Endymion cast a critical eye over their guests. One woman in particular caught his interest. She was regarding him in the same way he was her, as though the other had little hope of becoming an ally without first pleasing their respective monarchs. She was, based on the limited knowledge he had on the three Starlights, perhaps the dangerous one in the trio. The other two gave an aura of more control, a quiet deadly grace.
It was this one, though, that stood between them in height, with the ferocious gleam in her eyes that promised immediate death to anyone who even thought of harming her princess that set Endymion on alert. He had seen that look so many times before, both in the face of his queen's own senshi and the mirror.
The silent showdown was one that could not be won, but Endymion maintained eye contact for longer than would be acceptable in a casual perusal of faces. Neither blinked, and as they continued their battle of will, neither noticed that they were becoming more noticeably tense to those closest to them.
If he had not been so engrossed in his stare off, he would have noticed that Princess Kakyuu was the first of the two monarchs to realize what was happening. He missed her look of shock and worry, as though afraid this would reflect poorly on her. He also missed Serenity's bemused expression as she exchanged looks with the princess.
He noticed nothing of this until he felt her small hand rest lightly over his own. Keeping an eye on the foreign senshi for as long as he could, he turned to look at his wife.
"You're being overly cautious, Love," she murmured softly as she brushed the back of her fingers across his jaw. Centuries later, despite how much she had changed, one thing that had remained the same was her unashamed and open displays of affection. Less enthusiastic in public, yet still as rib bruising when they had no visitors. More loudly this time, so that their visitors would not feel as though they were intruding, she added, "This is a meeting for peace, but understandably, some of us are a bit protective."
"It is no burden to have those that care for our well being," Princess Kakyuu responded, visibly calmer. "Starfighter has been by my side since the beginning."
Though he had never been one to overtly display his own affection, Endymion leaned into her touch. The monarchs began their deliberations again, continuing as though the interruption had never occurred.
His attention was soon caught by very minute movement to the left. His daughter, standing next to the other senshi, was trying her best to stand still, but her legs had fallen asleep causing her to shift from one foot to another. She noticed his look and blushed, trying to remain still and appear as strong as any senshi.
Sailor Moon, Small Lady, Chibiusa, Usagi. It didn't matter what she was called or what role she played, she was Endymion's daughter. More importantly, she was the daughter of his wife. He hoped there was not a day where he looked at her and did not remember the small little girl who begged him for bedtime stories. Selfishly, it was mainly because of her that he hoped no war would see this Solar System during their reign. If so, his daughter, being Sailor Moon, would be at the front and either lead them to victory or fall trying. If they lost her, he was not sure how either Serenity or himself could pull through the devastation.
Offering a small smile, invisible to most, he discreetly shifted his knees. Blushing, his daughter returned his smile, more broad and as blinding as her mothers, as she made a show of shifting her legs. She had asked him, a few days after the first time she had stood in on these meetings, how people who stood still for so long did not keel over. Endymion had explained the subtle shifting of joints to encourage circulation and how locking them was generally what caused such catastrophes in the first place.
The meeting ended not long after, and their guests were shown to the wing where their rooms were. They would stay another few days to strengthen plans made. The Sailor Senshi left to continue their training, leaving Endymion to escort his wife to the library. Officially, they would be discussing matters at length. Unofficially, she would curl up against his side and indulge in a quick nap while he went through the official requests of the outer lying provinces.
An intense pain shot through his chest. Dimly, he recalled the medical training he had received in college and wondered if this was a heart attack. Then a sense of dread filled him, and he knew that whatever it was, a heart attack would be welcome in comparison.
Endymion tried not to let the pain show, tried to continue down the hall with his wife as they made their way to lunch. They would eat, and then after that, they would enjoy a leisurely afternoon in the gardens. They would probably argue over whether or not Princess Kakyuu was as trustworthy as Serenity believed her to be, or if the aliens were hiding behind an unknown agenda for more land and power. Serenity would say that they should always trust people until they gave them a reason not to, and he would counter that if they had not been at least a little cautious over the centuries, the Solar System would have been dominated and turned into a dictatorship by a green smurf with a grudge. After dinner, when Small Lady was finished with her training, the three of them would sit in the library and drink cocoa in front of the fireplace. Then he and his wife would retire to their bedroom. It would be a regular day, encased in familiarity and peace. It would be living.
Hot thorns swept through his chest, brutally searching for something there and tearing at everything in its way. Unable to keep up the facade any longer, he cried out as his steps faltered and his hand latched tightly around Serenity's wrist.
"Endymion?" Serenity followed him down as his knees buckled and collapsed beneath him. "What is it? What's wrong? What should I do?"
His grip on her shoulders was probably painfully tight, his knuckles white, though she gave no protest. Looking at her, he felt s sense of dread that nearly overshadowed the pain. He had not truly felt mortality in centuries, except perhaps for the time when the Dark Moon waged war against them, but he tasted it now, bitter on his tongue. Would this be the last time he saw her? Had he already seen the last of his daughter? Panic coiled through the pain, and despite having been with her for far longer than many countries had been in existence, there still had not been enough time.
A flash of purple and green caught his eye just beyond Serenity. Pluto was running toward them, the look in her eyes telling him that this was much worse than he believed.
Then the entire world shook.
"Go get Small Lady." When she looked ready to protest, he cut her off with a quick reassurance. "I'll be fine, just go get her."
Finally, Serenity nodded. With one last look, she stood and sprinted toward the training ground.
"What is it, Pluto?"
"Something has happened to change history." The tall woman took a strong stance beside him.
She did not answer at first. Bringing her staff up in a wide arc, she slammed the tip into the ground. Only after they were engulfed in a transparent sphere of purple and gold did she respond. "You died."
The echo of her footsteps down the corridor could barely be heard over the trembling earth. Serenity paid attention to neither of these, desperate to get her daughter and return to Endymion. Despite his assurances, something within her knew that there was a change about to come his way.
The toe of her shoe caught in a widening crack, and though she did not fall, the few seconds it took to regain her balance possibly saved her from being crushed by the large piece of broken ceiling that crashed where she would have been. Taking a startled step back, Serenity tried to find a way about the quartz obstacle. When her eyes passed over the window, the queen gasped in horror.
The palace, while crumbling around her, was the least affected by the horror she saw. Their once pristine land, full of trees and life, was slowly disintegrating in an ever changing fluctuation. Different scenes carved themselves into the growing wasteland, and once she could even make out the tattered banners of the Delbian empire, caked in dried blood and dirt. Finally, after the land shifted again and again, it slowly disintegrated to rubble, drifting in absolute nothingness. Their utopia was turning to dust before her eyes.
Climbing over the boulder, Serenity forced herself to think only of her daughter. She would mourn the loss of her people once she was certain her family was safe.
"Mamma!" Her daughter's cry sent relief through the queen as she turned. Sailor Moon ran toward her, dodging the falling detritus. "Mamma, something's wrong. Everyone disappeared during training."
"I know." Serenity failed to keep the fear from her voice. She grabbed her daughter's wrist and turned back the way she came.
Sailor Moon followed without complaint for the first few seconds. Then, without warning, she slowed her pace, trying to pull them back in the opposite direction. "Mamma wait, we need to stop this!"
"We will, but we need to get to your father first."
"Papa? Why, what's wrong with him?"
When Serenity did not answer, the girl picked her pace up again. This time, it was Serenity struggling to keep up.
Minutes later they reached the corridor where she had last seen her husband. Pluto was with him, concentrating on keeping a barrier between them and time.
Endymion saw them both, and his usual calm demeanor was gone as the relief he felt radiated from his face. He stood despite the pain and reached toward his family.
Death was never the same way twice. Mamoru realized this as he saw his soul ripped from his body.
How long? How long until she discovers I'm not coming home?
The countenance of his enemy, so sharp and clear before, slowly blurred as one by one, everything drifted away. There was no more pain, no more worry. All he regretted was that he would not have the chance to love her more.
Then there was nothing.
Endymion choked back the scream as he watched his daughter disappear, his fingers shaking as his hand stretched to where she had been only seconds before. One moment, she was running toward him, passing her mother even with much shorter legs. Then, she had simply ceased to exist, worse than the fading memory of a dream.
Serenity stumbled, dress rippling as her knees shook from what she had just seen. The same horror and grief he felt shone in her eyes. "No," he heard her soft cry.
A violent tremor tore through the castle, this time breaking the walls and bringing down the pillars around them. Wind tore through the emptiness, whipping around debris and dust, none of which he would even allow himself to think of having once been his only child. Cracks ruptured the floor, spider-webbing across the stone as large chunks of the ground broke away from each other, anchored by nothing and drifting slowly. His strangled cry broke Serenity out of her shock as she moved forward again.
"Pluto, let me out of here, I have to get her," he demanded as he stepped forward, preparing to drag her wife to safety if he must.
"No!" The senshi's harsh voice stopped him where he stood. "If you leave here, time will catch up with all of us."
The ground beneath the queen crumbled around her feet. Serenity leaped from the last floating rock, hand stretched toward his.
"Serenity," Endymion gasped as he reached toward her, willing the bubble to extent just a little bit further. He could not lose her, too.
"Come on, you can make it." Their fingertips were so close that if they breathed they would touch, but just when he was feeling a moment's hope, his wife began to slowly drift away. "No! Pluto, do something!"
The Timekeeper's voice cracked when she responded, the emotional and physical strain evident. "I'm trying, but there's just... I can't..."
He was no longer listening. The winds of time crumbling around them whipped even through the strong barrier, and he could only watch as it battered and pounded against his wife's body. Above the tempest's roar, he heard her call to him. "Endymion."
The he watched as the air of time around her shifted, and her eyes and face grew younger, silver hair darkening to honey. Eyes that he had not seen in over a millennia grew wide with fear as the rapid decent of age slowed to a stop. "Mamo-chan?"
Before he could respond, time once again picked up. In horror, he watched as she aged much faster than she should, as a crystal around her body shattered and splintered beyond repair. A keening wail started slowly as her hair turned gray, not silver, as she shriveled in on herself with age and heartache. The noise was deafening, louder even than the buffeting winds around them, when she finally turned to ash before his eyes.
It was not until the winds stopped, when everything outside the protective bubble merely ceased to exist, that he realized the sound came from his own throat.
-End Chapter One
End Notes: I had some uncertainty as to which character I should classify this under. In the end, I decided that while Endymion was a main character, Mamoru was what the story was about. So this is classified as a Usagi/Mamoru story. Also, I do plan on fixing things. I promise. Maybe a little.
Also, expect sporadic updates. My current semester work load is atrocious, but I intend on writing this or my other nonsailormoon story as ways to defeat quadratic equations and Gilgamesh when they try to beat me upside the head with their sharp pointy smarticleness.
Last, this story is going to get weird before it gets better. By weird, I mean 'wtf kind of drugs are you on, Cat?' weird.