disclaimer: disclaimed.
dedication: to kir-tat. Ahhhhmygod, the art.
notes: I DON'T KNOW I LIKE BERYL OKAY.

title: vox populi
summary: Once upon a time, there was a girl named Beryl who was destined to never be happy. — Beryl, Endymion/Serenity.

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She'd loved him since they'd been children.

It wasn't hard to fall in love with Endymion. He was beautiful in every way—all dark hair, pale skin, and those strikingly blue eyes. He was older and even so, he'd paid attention to her when she'd first come to court, still young enough to want to hide behind her mother's skirts.

That had been exactly the problem.

He'd paid attention to her, when every other person she'd ever met had shied away. He'd brought her to his friends—guards?—and introduced her to the four boys and said "Oi, stupids. Be nice, she's gonna be here a while."

(It wasn't until later that she understood that magic unnerved ordinary people—not royalty, though. They'd hired her mother, and her mother was a witch.)

They'd circled her, wary. Four boys of varying ages circled her, the eldest of whom was just entering the awkward stage before manhood and the youngest could not have been much older than Beryl herself was. The blinked at her, and she at them, still wide-eyed and innocent.

"Well," the eldest sighed, "I suppose we can deal with her. She is very… small."

The other three glanced between the silver-haired boy-man and Beryl a few more times, but it seemed they'd accepted her without question.

She'd only been five years old.

The five boys were the first friends she'd ever had. But Endymion… Endymion was special, and had remained so.

She'd loved him so very, very much.

And now, a decade later, she had to watch him fall in love with someone else.

It was a strange thing. She knew he was sneaking off to see the Moon Princess, but she would have thought that the Shitennou would have stopped it (at least Kunzite would have tried to stop it. Zoicite probably would have condoned it).

She knew a lot of things.

She knew the way Endymion had bounded up the stairs, nearly shaking with glee. She knew the look in his eye, the gleam of finally getting something he wanted. She knew those things about him.

"I'm getting married," he grinned

Her breath caught in her throat.

"Oh—um. Congratulations!"

I think?

He nodded, still grinning—your face is going to freeze like that, stupid—and bounded away, presumably to tell his Shitennou exactly what had happened. An alliance with the Moon… well, that was certainly something that the Terran royalty would like. The Silver Alliance would be open to them.

Beryl knew that.

She looked at her hands, felt the sudden throbbing in her chest. The way her heart shuddered and cracked, though, that was new. She hadn't expected that.

Beryl cradled her heart in her hands, and wondered if maybe this was how life worked. Maybe everything hurt. Maybe she couldn't escape it.

Maybe she didn't want to.

She sagged against the wall, curls in her face; she valiantly fought tears and hiccups. No, no, she wasn't going to let it get to her. She wasn't. The floor was cool and soothing

He was happy, and that was what mattered.

You could change it, you know.

Beryl looked up. "Who's there?"

Me.

But there was no one there. Beryl pressed the heel of her hand to her eyes, shaking in the shoulders and the fingers, and tried to breathe. She was going crazy. That was it. It was a… a… what was the word the physicians used… a breakdown. She was hearing voices because she was crazy.

"Who're you?"

Everything. I'm everything. Listen, sweetness. You're so angry, you could change it. You could have him, again. I promise.

Beryl dropped her head back, curls down her back. "You can't promise that. You're inside my head."

Not, it whispered in her ear. No, I'm not. Let me in.

"…No. No. Go away. I can be crazy tomorrow," Beryl said, sudden fear clutching at her chest.

You don't have a choice, sweetness.

It was sticky sick-sweet. Feathery fingers curled around her throat, and dug in. Beryl's vision was going hazy, and she could barely breathe.

She'd always been the weakest of them.

No, she thought.

The thing touched her eyelids.

"He's happy," she whispered. "I—he's happy. That's good enough for me."

Not for me.

"Then go," Beryl said, as it squeezed the last breath out of her lungs. "Go."

Silence.

They would find her body that evening; bruised around the throat and cold as ice, but smiling. Like she'd done something good.

And maybe she was just a little bit happy.

(The Dark Kingdom did not rise.)

fin.