Disclaimer: I do not own Sailor Moon

Life is eternal, and love is immortal,
and death is only a horizon;
and a horizon is nothing save the limit of our sight
- Rossiter Worthington Raymond

Time seemed to slow down. No one moved. No one spoke.

No one could do anything.

They couldn't help her. They couldn't save her.

They were forced to watch her die.

Darien knew he should be paying more attention to the battle raging around him. It was foolish to stop during a battle but all he could feel was the pain coursing through his arm into his body. His arm was on fire, his head was about to explode. He was crouching on the ground, one hand holding his injured arm.

He couldn't tell if Sailor Moon was near him. Had she gotten back up to fight? Or was she still behind him where he had set her down?

A tingle travelled down his spine. His sense that he was in danger.

He barely had time to look up at the largest thorn shooting towards him. Two soft yet firm hands were on his back, shoving him down. He was sent face first down into the ground. Confusion clouded his mind until he realised what was happening. A second too late.

He heard the sound of flesh tearing followed by a soft gasp. Still on the ground, he turned his head, not ready for what he would see.

Pain was evident on her features, yet her eyes held a sparkle of happiness. Her mouth was open in surprise but it tugged up at the corners. His eyes travelled down to her stomach. He almost retched.

Protruding from her stomach was the large thorn meant for him. Blood poured from the wound, soaking her uniform. Her delicate hands were trying to stop the blood. He watched in horror as her life seeped through her fingers. The blood was staining her white gloves.

Time had slowed.

He watched her eyes travel to meet his, fear mixed with triumph. Her eyes never left his.

Darien wanted to move; to run to her but he couldn't push himself up off the ground. Fear and horror had seized his muscles, making it impossible for him to move. The battle that had been raging around him was forgotten. He had no idea what was happening behind him, nor did he care. All he cared about was his soul mate in front of him...dying.

Serena was surprised at how little dying hurt. The large thorn that had ripped through her stomach wasn't causing as much pain as she thought it would. Her hands were around the large object still sticking out from her stomach. Blood was soaking her gloves as well as her uniform; it ran down her legs in thick rivers. It was when she tasted the blood in her mouth did she really become scared. She coughed. Blood was now seeping out of her mouth.

Her legs suddenly seemed incapable of holding her up. She began to fall backwards when she saw Darien finally move from the ground. His strong arms caught her. He pulled her close so her upper body was resting on his lap.

She knew she didn't have much time left. She wasn't scared of dying; she didn't regret her decision to sacrifice her life for Darien's. She knew without a doubt she would do it over again exactly the same way. She had protected her love, and that's all that mattered.

Something was hitting her face. Water. Falling tears. Her eyes travelled upwards to meet his. She wanted to reach up and wipe away his tears but she couldn't with her bloodied gloves.

"Why?" he whispered.

She smiled. "You are always...protecting me," she choked out between breaths, "now I protected you."

Darien couldn't breathe. The love of his life was lying in his lap, bleeding to death. And there was nothing he could do. He hadn't saved her.

This wasn't supposed to happen! She was supposed to be protected.

Maybe this is what the dream had been about? He had run to her and now she was dying.

"Please don't go," he sobbed, "please. I love you."

Despite her situation, she suddenly smiled. "You love me?" She knew it. She knew that despite the words he had said to her yesterday, he still loved her. She didn't know why he had tried to push her away but she didn't care anymore. She was leaving with the knowledge that he loved her. That was all she needed.

Darien tried to stop the tears that were falling steadily down his face. He wanted to be strong for her, to not show how scared he really was. "Yes. Serena, I love you so much." He lifted a gloved hand to wipe away one small tear forming in the corner of her eye. He suddenly wanted to feel her skin, to feel it one last time with its warmth and glow. He tore off his glove with his mouth and gently laid his bare hand on her cheek. "I always have and I always will," he said as he savoured the heat of her skin, knowing soon it will be cold and pale.

Serena softly smiled. She didn't want to die scared. She didn't want Darien to remember her like that. With her last bit of energy, she wiped her hand on her skirt, trying to get some of the blood off of it, and laid it over the top of Darien's hand on her cheek. "I love you Darien," she whispered. Serena coughed one last time, sending a fresh stream of blood out of her mouth, before her chest stilled and her heart stopped. Her eyes slid close and her hand fell away from his. She would have looked peaceful in death had it not been for the large thorn still in her abdomen and the blood soaking her body.

Fresh tears fell as Darien looked down at his soul mate. His dead soul mate. "No!" he howled, his voice breaking with grief. "Please don't leave me Serena! Please!" In an act of desperation, he bent his head and placed his lips against her unresponsive ones. He willed her to live, willed his life to leave him and enter her. But this was not a fairytale. This was not a happy ending where a kiss saved the heroine and brought her back to life. "I love you," he murmured as a tear rolled off his cheek and fell onto hers. He clutched her limp body closer to his and began rocking back and forth. "Please don't leave me. Serena, come back. Please. I love you Serena, please! I need you...Serena...come back." His words eventually turned into incoherent sobs as he held her bloodied body.

She couldn't be gone! This wasn't how it was suppose to go. He should have saved her. He always saves her. But now she had saved him and paid the ultimate price. And it was his entire fault. The love of his life was dead because of him. He could never forgive himself.

He suddenly felt the presence of the other Sailor Scouts behind him. They must have defeated the Droid.

"Tuxedo Mask?" Sailor Mercury asked.

He didn't turn around to face them. He couldn't. Instead he held onto her body and closed his eyes, trying to ignore the Sailor Scouts behind him. If he turned around, all he would see is the disappointed and sadness on their faces. They would blame him for her death. They would be right but he already hated himself enough without having them hate him too.

"Darien?" Sailor Mars said as she took a step closer to the pair. "Is she...?"

Darien took in a shuddering breath and prepared the words that would haunt him for his rest of his life.

"She's dead."

All the Sailor Scouts had breathed out a sigh of relief when Tuxedo Mask and swooped in and saved Sailor Moon once again. All of them had been too far away and too busy dodging thorns to help. After their confrontation the day before, none of them had expected Tuxedo Mask to show but thank goodness he had.

"You cannot defeat Lady Thorn!"

With Sailor Moon safe in Tuxedo Mask's arms, their attention was soon back on the Droid Lady Thorn. But the Droid's attention wasn't on them. Instead it had its eyes locked on Tuxedo Mask who had suddenly fallen to his knees. Despite all the pain he had called Serena over the last two weeks, they were still concerned for his welfare.

"Tuxedo Mask!" Sailor Mars called out from the trees on the other side of the temple. She wished she could run across to help but she was stuck in her hiding place, as were all the girls. The Droid's attacks were so fast and precise that they couldn't risk moving out into the open.

"Prepare to die cape boy!" the Droid screamed as it focused all of its attention on the fallen Tuxedo Mask.

The scouts watched in terror as the Droid threw the largest thorn at Tuxedo Mask. All eyes but Sailor Mercury's were watching the thorn sail through the air towards their friends. Sailor Mercury was instead using everyone's momentary distraction to her advantage. Her hand flew up to her earring and with a quick press, her blue visor slid across her eyes. Instantly it began scanning the Droid, looking for anything they could use to destroy it. She heard someone scream "Sailor Moon! NO!" but she couldn't stop to see what was going on. This might be her only chance to find out how to destroy the horrendous Droid so she kept her eyes on it, ignore the strong desire to check and see if Sailor Moon was okay.

"The rose!" Sailor Mercury yelled when her visor had finished analysing the Droid. "The rose is her weak spot. Aim for her rose!"

For a moment, none of the other Sailor Scouts moved. Their eyes were glued on their leader...bleeding. None of them could believe what they were seeing. Sailor Moon had pushed Tuxedo Mask out of danger but in doing that, she had put herself in danger. And now they watched in horror as she fell to her knees with the large thorn sticking out of her stomach.

The Droid cackled with victory while the rest of the Scouts screamed in fear for their leader and Princess.

Sailor Mercury finally looked to see what had happened. Her breath caught in her throat. Her first instinct was to fun over there but with the Droid still standing in the middle of the courtyard, they were still in danger.

"THE ROSE!" Sailor Mercury cried out again. The sooner they defeated the Droid, the sooner they could go and help Serena. Her yelled seemed to pull the Scouts out of their trance. From their hiding spots, they took a fighting stance and prepared their attacks. They might only get one chance at this before the Droid realises what they're doing. It was now or never.

"Mercury Ice Bubbles Freeze!"

"Mars Fireball Charge!"

"Jupiter Thunder Dragon!"

"Venus Crescent Beam Smash!"

"No! Please don't leave me Serena! Please!"

They were the words no one wanted to hear. While their attacks flew straight and true to their target, the scouts were too busy to notice. All of them were watching Tuxedo Mask crying over Serena. None of them wanted to believe what was happening. It just couldn't be true. They wouldn't believe it, not until they saw it with their own eyes.

The Droid, still laughing at the damage she had done, wasn't aware of the attacks coming straight for it until it was too late. It threw up its hands in a vain attempt to protect itself. All four attacks hit the rose on the Droid's head at the same time and sent out a powerful wave of power. Blinding light shone from the Droid as it crumpled into dust while screaming.

Instead of yelling in disappointment like they usually did, Prizma and Avery began to laugh. "You may have defeated Lady Thorn," Prizma said.

"But we have defeated Sailor Moon!" Avery finished.

They faded away while still cackling.

Not a second had passed before all of the Sailor Scouts ran across the courtyard to Tuxedo Mask. He was sitting on the grass with Sailor Moon in his lap. His back was to them meaning all they could see of Sailor Moon was the top of her head and her legs, which had blood all down them. The rest damage that had been done wasn't visible to them.

They sucked in a breath as they wondered what Tuxedo Mask was shielding from them.

"Tuxedo Mask?" Sailor Mercury asked. She was trying to prompt him to say something. She was too scared to outright ask the question none of them wanted to ask.

"Darien," Sailor Mars said after a moment of silence. She took a hesitant step forward, one she regretted when she saw over his shoulder what Sailor Moon had become. But she needed to know. "Is she...?"

She saw the rise and fall of Tuxedo Mask's shoulders as he drew in a breath. She waited for confirmation of what she already knew.

"She's dead."

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