A/N: I know I threw you guys a fast one last time, but DON'T WORRY! THIS IS THE LAST CHAPTER! No more cliffhangers after this! I told you guys I'd end this soon, so here we are. Just a warning, this chapter is much longer than all of the others, but I figured it was the last one, so I'd have to fit it all in. It'd be pointless to put in another chapter. Anyway, please enjoy, but after you eat up this chapter, please read my authors note at the bottom and drop a review for me if you will. I have a few questions for all of you. Thanks again for being such wonderful and loyal readers since 2011! I love you all and I thank you for taking this journey with me and giving me support along the way. Enough ranting! On with the story!
I DO NOT OWN SAILOR MOON OR YU-GI-OH!
Chapter 24- Forever
The air felt raw and sharp against his heavy lungs as he hyperventilated. The world spun recklessly as he tried to focus. He couldn't. Nothing was right. She was trapped in that building. There was no way he'd be able to get her out.
Her name alone sent his head spinning. The thought of Rini not existing, the thought of Serena not being with him, it all just made him feel insane. He'd never felt such a strong connection to a person other than Mokuba, but Serena was just different, and then you add his own flesh and blood into the mix and things got even deeper. This couldn't be happening. Serena had to get out of there!
"Kaiba! Listen!" Yugi grasped his shaking forearm. The firm grasp of the smaller man withheld Seto's shakes. From his tear-filled eyes, Seto gazed down at Yugi, shocked by his brunt action.
"Kaiba, are you listening?"
The brunette nodded. A few stray teardrops rushed down his cheeks.
"You need to calm down, okay?" Yugi's voice suddenly became smoother. "Look, I've never seen you like this before, Kaiba, and that's when I know things are serious." A long pause drew in all of the listeners. Yugi's voice began to form a strong edge to it, one filled with determination and confidence. "That's why we need two people to go in and rescue Serena, so lets go!" Yugi snatched Kaiba's arm and began dragging him towards the unsteady building.
"Yugi! Wait!" Joey shouted. Yugi continued walking, not even turning to look at his best friend. Joey jogged over to him and then walked fast to keep pace. "Yugi, no offence buddy, but this task is too dangerous for someone of your size."
Yugi shrugged off that fact and replied, "Well, someone's gotta rescue Serena, and I know for a fact none of you thought about doing so." The group looked a bit unstable by Yugi's comment, especially Mai and Joey. It was the truth and they knew it.
Joey didn't respond. His best friend was right. He sure as hell wasn't going to volunteer to go into that building, nonetheless volunteer to head in there with Kaiba! Yet, Joey cared about Serena. She was sweet, and defiantly too kind to die. He wasn't going to let a person die if it could've been prevented somehow. Joey gave Yugi an unyielding look when they stopped walking. Yugi gave Joey a serious and unwavering look. The blonde spoke, "What do we need to do?"
"Distract the police while Kaiba and I sneak inside."
Rini began screaming at the top of her lungs, a scream so terrifying that it sent a stunning shiver down ever person's spine. The group looked frightened, but so did the cops. Mai scurried to her side and asked what was wrong, but Rini gave them a giant wink, and that's when they knew. A hoard of policemen and paramedics rushed towards the screaming, pink-haired child.
Yugi tugged on Kaiba's arm, "Let's go!" Kaiba wiggled out of Yugi's grip, and the two sprinted into the shaking building unnoticed by the authorities.
This time the atmosphere of the building was different. He had a bad vibe about the place now, like he somehow developed raging animal instincts. Apart from the constant vibrating and falling debris, nothing visibly seemed to have changed; yet Kaiba knew that something bad was going to happen if they didn't find Serena soon. It was almost like he was an alarmed animal that could sense an earthquake before it happened. He was sensing something bad all right. All the more reason to rush towards Serena…. Wherever the heck she was.
"She was following Rei and I out of the building…. I just don't understand why she didn't leave with us?" Kaiba mumbled. He spoke more to himself than to Yugi, but Yugi could hear him, and he responded, pushing into Kaiba's thought process.
"Do you think something fell on her?"
Kaiba shook his head, "No, I would've heard her scream, and I had my eyes glued to her practically the whole time. It was that one moment when we were just getting out where I wasn't looking. I assume she wandered off…." Kaiba trailed off, spacing out into his own thoughts, his own realizations. The words that Serena had spoken right before the three of them fled were about….
"Follow me!" Kaiba shouted as he dashed towards a doorway. Yugi surprisingly kept up with Kaiba's pace as they made their way through the rough building. Like before, they dodged the falling concrete and wood. This time they were more agile considering Kaiba didn't have to carry someone. Plus, the two were more focused, more determined than ever before. They had one goal and they were going to stick to it no matter what.
Kaiba spun around a jagged corner and into an even worse looking hallway with the support beams of the building caving inward. There was a doorway at the end of the hallway that Kaiba knew held Serena. The beams cracked and crunched as the roof began to skid downward, ready to collapse. Kaiba was too tall to walk through the hall normally, so he crouched and dove towards the door at the end of the hallway. Reaching it, he flung it open.
"Kaiba!" Yugi hollered from the other end of the hall. Kaiba could barely see his face as the roof came tumbling down. The foundation cracked, screeched and finally collapsed into bumpy bits of rumble.
The dark seemed to fade into even more darkness. It didn't make sense, but Kaiba finally realized that the new darkness that had just appeared seemed to be a bit toned down, like it was dustier. He inhaled and coughed immediately afterward. He was right about the dust, it was everywhere. The dust seemed to clog his airways as he continued coughing. In the distance he heard his own echo. An echo seemed unusual for a collapsed building. The echo seemed even stranger as the noise and time didn't match his coughs. He panted once again, only to violently cough, but when he finally caught his breath, he was able to shout, "Yugi!" More coughs. "Yugi, is that y-you!?" Another coughing fit. "Yugi!" The coughs succeeded in taking him over once again, but his attempts at speaking didn't go unnoticed.
A small voice spoke back to him, "Seto?" She coughed. "Seto, is that you?"
"SEREN-Ahhblahhh!" He hacked on the poisonous air. "WHERE," he could hardly get his sentence out. The dust reentered his lungs and filled them with asbestos or some other harmful substance found on a debris site. He choked and wheezed but was able to finish off his sentence, "ARE YOU?"
It took Serena a long time to recover from the toxic air, but she was able to answer him, "I'm over here!"
With much effort, and barking broken bones and bruises, Seto Kaiba was able to rise from the dust, dirt and ashes to kneel over endless piles of rubble. From what looked like a mile away, Seto saw an exceptionally dusty white-gloved arm reaching over a tall heap of concrete and brick, waving back and fourth, ready to be noticed.
"DON'T MOVE SERENA! I SEE YOU!" He aggressively expelled air once again, a bit of blood seeped from his lips and he wiped it off with the back of his hand. He examined his hand for a moment after wiping the blood off. His hand was completely covered in a gross, thick layer of dust. He observed himself for a second and noted that his whole body was varnished in the substance. He shook his head in disgust, and then yelled, "I'M COMING!"
Like a bat out of hell, Seto climbed. He climbed over everything he could to get to Serena. He just needed to make sure she was safe. Jagged pieces of metal cut him along the way, but he barely grimaced at the pain. His mind was too focused on her. Moving faster and climbing against the will of his protesting broken bones and bruises, Seto placed his foot sloppily on an unsteady piece of concrete and fell in between multiple chunks of brick and wall. He cried out louder than ever before as his body hit the ground. A sharp metal pole pierced through his skin and muscle near his shoulder. Tears dashed down his dusted face, creating clear lines staining the sides of his cheeks. The wind was knocked out of him, and even when the coughing persisted, Seto couldn't seem to catch his breath. Serena was shouting at him but her words just didn't comprehend.
With what little strength he had left, he hoisted himself up on a solid stack of remains. Swallowing hard and trying to take in as many deep breaths as he could without suffering from another coughing fit, Seto securely clasped the metal pole that had established its new home within his muscle tissue and skin. The pole was larger than Seto expected, about two inches wide, making Seto aware of the painful journey ahead of him in the next couple seconds.
Gasping and gulping loudly, Seto took his final breath and held it in. With all of his might, Seto yanked the pole right out of his raw wound. It took what felt like ages for the item to be wrenched out. Seto cried out at the top of his lungs as the tears began to rain down. He wailed in the pain, the aftermath of it all. Blood poured from his injury and from his lips as he began vomiting blood. He must've had some sort of internal bleeding. The vomiting continued, probably induced by the pain and whatever internal lesion he might have. When Seto finally stopped retching, he streaked the blood away and completed his way over the ruins.
"Seto!" Serena cried when she finally saw him. Seto looked over her from a bulky load of wreckage. The area around her was surprisingly clear of remains. Maybe she had cleared it away. Her body was covered in the dense dust, and her Sailor Moon costume was hardly recognizable, apart from the wings she bore, however, those were covered in filth as well. There were a few scratches that were bleeding, but nothing too severe. Seto was thankful for that. Serena had gotten lucky, but then so did he….
Even though Serena and Seto had managed to escape with their lives, one was not so lucky. Seto saw him, embraced in Serena's arms, Ahmose's body. It too was concealed in heavy filth. Seto knew that Ahmose's body was the reason Serena turned back. She just had to retrieve his body.
Seto gazed into her blue eyes, the only thing that appeared to have any color at the moment. He noticed that she had been crying, possibly mourning over the loss of her 'best friend.' Seto could never understand it, how Serena cared so much about people, it was one of her defining qualities that set her apart from the rest of humanity. Ahmose had murdered her boyfriend, the one that Serena was certain she'd be marrying, yet Serena had such compassion and concern for Ahmose, even after he'd past. She risked her life to salvage his body. All he ever did, in Seto's eyes, was betray her as her best friend. He had destroyed everything she'd ever loved, and now here she was, going after him even after his death. It was a concept Seto couldn't understand about her. Was it foolish? Absolutely. To gamble your own life for a dead body, yes, very foolish. Serena took the chance anyway, out of love and sympathy, but most of all, out of forgiveness.
Forgiveness. The word, the notion, and even the plain idea of it, Seto never understood. He didn't know how to understand it. It was like Greek to him. People forgave others after they'd done something corrupt towards them. It was bizarre and not factual in Seto's mind. If someone deceived him, then that was it, game over. Seto would erase every fabric of his or her being from his life, or, seek revenge. But revenge was something that didn't exist within Serena. Revenge to her was like forgiveness to him.
In that moment, Seto wished he were more like Serena. He wished he could be the way she was. That's why he loved her so deeply. She was practically perfect, and he was an emotionally, and physically damaged monster. Serena's light had saved him, and that's when he knew he had to keep her. He had to be with her forever.
"Seto?" She cocked her head to the side, worry upon her beautiful, dusted face. "Are you alright? Your wound looks horrendous!"
Her sentence broke his musings and he gifted her with one of his rare, genuine smiles. The pain in his body struck deep, but he managed to give her the full show, sparkling white teeth and all. She returned his gift gratefully.
"I'm okay, Serena. Just a little scratch."
She laughed, "Your sarcasm never fails to amuse me."
He smirked, "The real question is are you okay?"
"Yeah," She nodded.
"Hang on, I'll make my way down." Carefully scaling down the huge hoard of junk, Seto landed on the dusty, cold ground. He strode over to Serena and grabbed the sides of her face with his strong, urgent hands. The two locked eyes for a while, mixing the blue pigments.
"Serena!" He shouted. His voice cracked and was bursting with care and concern. He looked like he was about to cry. "How could you? You're so stupid, Serena! You're so stupid!"
She grinned knowingly; tears welled up in her eyes. She let out a coarse giggle mixed with a sob.
"You endangered your life for him! He's dead! What were you thinking!?"
Serena shook her head as best she could between Seto's sturdy grasp. "I wasn't!"
Seto let out a small huff that sounded more like a half-laugh. "At least you're honest! But you're so stupid! You're so stupid!"
"I know! I know!" The tears rained down from their blue eyes, washing away some dust. They lightly laughed and cried together. In all honestly, they were just happy to be alive and together.
Through a wave of sobs, Serena uttered, "You came back for me." Her babble was heartfelt and appreciative.
Seto wasted no time in replying, "Of course I did, Serena, I love you!" It slipped out. There was nothing he could do but hope that she accepted it. It was the sincere truth after all. Seto barely revealed his true feelings for anyone. Serena was now an exception, and Seto felt like he needed to tell her, who knows what sort of danger might appear next in their senseless lives anyway. There was no better time than right now to tell her how he felt.
She wept. The tears coming down like hail. Her crying wasn't gloomy; it was more jubilant than anything, almost like a sigh of release or a breath of crisp autumn air. "Thank you, Seto! I love you too!"
It was surprising that this shocked Seto, but ultimately he was! She had said it back! She'd just told him she loved him! Seto did the next logical thing he could think of. Pulling her in closer, but gently, he brushed her lips with his own. The dust, dried blood, and dirt didn't seem to get in the way too much. Serena tasted like the beautiful light she was, it was a flavor he couldn't quite describe. She moved in closer, taking in more of him and his taste. There was something enchanting and inexpressible about it all. Everything felt so right, and they both knew that it was.
In the distance they heard shouts and people calling their name. They ignored them of course, not caring if they found them anytime soon or not. The delightful ambiance of their kiss surrounding them was all that seemed to matter.
"Here they are!" Someone shouted. "I found them, over here!" Seto and Serena refused to break apart. Their kiss was more important.
Yugi ascended over a few masses of rubbish and peered over the side to view Seto and Serena. He smirked gleefully at the scene. He was glad they'd found each other, and he was happy he could help locate them. The police and rescue team moved over the broken building towards the couple. Even still, the two refused to break apart.
One Week Later….
The ashes of Ahmose were scattered across the bay, flying into the distance to finally float away with the ocean. Serena had wept. The funeral was depressing, but nothing was worse than laying Darien into the deep ground the day before. She had placed a single red rose upon his casket, and watched as he descended into the ground forever. Both her and Rini had bawled, going through the raw motions. Seto had been there for moral support with Rini wrapped up in his arms for most of the time. The funerals stung, but Serena couldn't help but feel angry, knowing they were both connected. Both deaths happened because of the other, and that's what stung the most. Two lives unnecessarily lost, now scraping through the edges and dimensions of eternity….
Serena wiped the tears from her eyes and picked Rini up into her arms. They stared out into the perfect cerulean ocean as the sun began to set. The dark blues and red hints created a glorious show as they peaked through the horizon line. The funeral service had concluded, and Serena hugged Rini tight, not wanting to let her go. The future Moon Princess was placed back down on the grassy cliff. When the crowd cleared the sun was hardly shining. A thin, reddish-orange line was all that was left of the setting daylight.
Serena kneeled down to Rini's level. A lone teardrop strayed from her eye as she cupped her daughters flushed cheek. "It's time for you to leave again, huh?"
Rini nodded, tears streaming down her face, "I won't be leaving forever. You'll see me again soon."
Serena let out a natural smile, even though it hurt to let yet another person she cared about go. "I know…." She reached out and embraced the young girl. They stayed like that for a while. Serena noticed that the sun was quickly fading. Rini had to leave now. "Be safe," she whispered into her daughter's ear, and then kissing her wet cheek, she said, "I love you."
"I love you too, mommy."
Seto witnessed the whole scene from behind Serena. He walked over to his daughter and squeezed her. He didn't want to let her go either. "I'm going to miss you."
"Me too!" Rini said, "I've gotta go now, daddy. I love you."
He broke the hug but kept Rini at arms length, gripping her shoulders. "I love you too, Rini." He smiled at her the same way he smiled at Mokuba.
Rini reached into her pocket and pulled out her Sailor Brooch. It was golden and heart shaped with little wings on the sides and pink splashed around in different places. She opened it up and it started to glow a soft, golden-white light, similar to the light of Serena.
"Goodbye," Rini's body began to fade away.
"Goodbye, Rini," her parents muttered in unison.
The young girl faded into the sunset. Before the sun completely descended on the horizon, a ray of light burst into the sky, letting Seto and Serena know that Rini had left them. The night swiftly fell upon them after that, and Seto guided Serena into his waiting black limo that was just a few paces away.
Serena got in slowly. She stared out the window, not even looking Seto's way.
The privacy divider rolled down and the driver spoke, "Mr. Kaiba, where would you like me to go, sir?"
Seto ignored him for a moment and reached out to touch Serena on the shoulder. She turned around and looked him in the eyes. Seto saw the fatigue and sadness in her eyes. It'd been a long couple of days that was for sure. Two funerals back to back and her daughter leaving her with very little time spent with her. Serena was boldly feeling it now, the aftermath of despair. She had a miserable next couple of weeks ahead of her. Losing loved ones was never easy. Seto had learned that years ago with the passing of his parents. He knew she needed a companion, someone who'd stay by her side and make her laugh when she needed it. Seto wasn't very good at making people laugh, but for Serena, he'd try.
"Would you like to come back to my mansion with me?"
The corners of her lips curved upward, she nodded and answered, "Absolutely."
"Very well then, take us back to the mansion, please."
"As you wish, Mr. Kaiba." The limo started up and they were off.
The stars danced along the night sky. Brilliant shooting stars fell every which way, lighting up the blue in Serena's eyes. The autumn air rolled over her skin, making her shiver under her warm, black sweater. Some stray, colorful leaves skidded across the roof and into her hair. She picked them out carefully, then let them fly as the wind took hold once again.
Serena was lying on her back and stargazing on top of the Kaiba Mansion roof. Apparently, there was a doorway that lead to a 'safer' spot on the roof where people could securely walk around. Serena called that bluff because she felt completely unsafe lying on the three-story tall roof, but Seto insisted she'd love it. Maybe he was just some weirdo who liked to attend funerals, because Serena felt like hers would be next.
She had been waiting outside all by herself for about ten minutes now. Seto had said he'd had a surprise for her and he'd be right back. She didn't know how much longer she'd be able to stay out here by herself. She was so afraid of falling, especially at this height.
The stars continued to dance. Serena couldn't help but think of all the beauty Seto was missing. Tonight was the autumn meteor shower. The news had been talking about it for the past couple days now, and Serena was actually excited for it. She'd been so busy planning the funerals, recovering from some minor injuries, talking to The Dean of Students at Domino University, and meeting up with her parents for the first time since their hospital visit that she was actually looking forward to this night of relaxing. Serena had originally planned to spend this night alone, back on campus, in the wide open field the campus had, with a pillow and blanket, just staring up at the sky. Seto decided to change all of that of course, but now she was doing exactly what she planned to do, just in a more dangerous location. Where was he anyway? He was really missing out!
In that instant, Seto opened up the nearby door to the roof and climbed on. He sat down close to Serena. "Sorry that took me so long. I had to… uh…. Finalize a couple of things." He explained. He tried not to look too suspicious, but ultimately, he totally was.
"What did you need to finalize?" She asked.
He smiled, "You'll see," he gently plucked her hand from its comfortable position, and opened up her palm. "Close your eyes."
"Are you serious? Are you trying to kill me? I'm freaked out enough about this roof-thing with my eyes open!"
"I'm sure you've been on many roofs before as Sailor Moon."
"Yes, well, not any this tall, and certainly not for fun!"
He laughed, "Just close your eyes for a second. I'll tell you when to open them."
"You're going to take longer than a second!"
He smirked, "Okay, give me five seconds then. Can you close your eyes for five seconds, miss Sailor Moon, brave crime fighter extraordinaire!"
"Okay, okay!" She huffed, "I can do it! Just no longer than five seconds! After five seconds I'm opening my eyes!"
"That's fine. Five seconds is all I need." Seto gazed at her, giving her his infamous, sly snicker. Reaching into his pocket he pulled out his surprise for Serena, and dropped it softly into her exposed palm. "Okay, you can open them."
Serena opened her eyes and saw a pair of car keys shining in her palm in the pale moonlight. "What is this?"
"It's the keys to your brand new Nissan Sentra."
Serena blinked in shock, eyes widening, "What!?"
"Since yours was demolished, and two little birdies told me you had just purchased your car all by yourself, I figured it was the least I could do for all of your hard work and suffering."
"Oh my God! Seto! You didn't have to do this!"
He brushed the side of her face lightly with the back of his hand, "Yes I did."
"I… don't know what… to say…." Serena was sincerely stunned. This was defiantly a surprise if there ever was one.
"You don't have to say anything. Just listen." Seto began explaining why it took him so long to come up here to join her. It was because he was sighing a few car insurance papers he'd forgotten about. He'd also told her that her schooling would be entirely paid for by KaibaCorp through a 'full-ride scholarship,' which sounded more like him just completely paying her way through college. Lastly, he'd said they'd both be returning to school next semester and that she was still roommates with Mai, but she was welcome to stay with him at the mansion until the new semester began. Everything sounded grand and wonderful, and Serena couldn't believe it. How he managed to pull all of this through for her was beyond her, but at the same time it was completely amazing. She was totally grateful and forever indebted to this crazy man!
She laughed, cried, and smiled happily when he'd finished explaining. No one has ever jumped through so many hoops for her, to salvage what she had left of her college career and her life, and nonetheless make it all brand spanking new! She jumped into his arms, almost making them fall. "Thank you, Seto! Thank you! I don't know what to say but thank you!" She exclaimed.
"You're welcome, Serena." He smiled, "You know I'd do anything for you."
She laughed, "I do now. Thank you."
Seto offered her a nod, and the two held hands while gawking up at the meteor shower that twirled before their blue eyes. Time seemed to stand still. Perfection was the atmosphere around them. Both knew that they were in the right place now. They needed to be with each other. Neither one said it, but they both planned it, and forever was what they'd decided on. They needed each other forever.
Serena tilted her head to the side, staring at Seto for a minute, drinking him in with her eyes. Seto turned over and did the same. They were silent, just looking at each other and knowing that this was meant to be.
Serena broke the silence, she just couldn't resist. "Seto, I love you."
"I love you too, Serena. Forever."
Smiling brightly, she replied, "Forever."
Seto scooted in closer while grasping Serena's neck lightly. He took in her beautifully soft lips. They shared a magnificent kiss, taking them both away and into the dancing stars.
A/N: Wow, you guys, IT'S FINISHED! I can hardly believe it! It feels so amazing! How'd you guys like Seto and Serena's romantic, long, exaggerated kissing scene over Ahmose's dead body? HAHA! I am honestly the least romantic person in the world so I am sincerely sorry for that. I'm not sure why I keep writing romance. Anyway, here are some stats:
Number of pages: No idea because I created this story on two different computers and the first one died.
Number of words: 78,312
Time: Published on November 7th, 2011, and finished updates on April 30th, 2014. Total time is 2 years and five and a half months for a total of 904 days!
THANK YOU ALL SO SO SO SO SO MUCH! I love all of my readers and thank you once again for sticking with me. Sorry this chapter was longer, but it just made sense to have a longer chapter than make you all wait for another. So, I have an idea that sprung up in my head back in October of a sequel to this story, and I was wondering if any of you would be interested in reading it. If so, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE let me know! Nevertheless, thank you all again for being such loyal and wonderful readers. You've all made me very happy! Please review and tell me what you thought of this story. I'd really like to know, and reviews are candy, and I like candy! So please gimme some candy!
Thank you everyone for reading!