After hearing the comforting voice, Chibiusa began to wake up, despite her head feeling heavy and her eyes weary. "Mama…?" she spoke hoarsely. She opened her eyes to find everyone surrounding her, all smiling brightly. "You're all awake!"
"Yes," Neo Queen Serenity spoke gently as she ran her fingers through her daughter's hair. "All thanks to your faith and strength."
"Where is Sailor Lethe?" she asked, looking around the room.
"After you released the power of the two Crystals and everyone recovered, she left to go back to her own planet," Helios answered, squeezing Chibiusa's hand tightly.
Chibiusa looked down at the hand that Helios held. I've been feeling that warmth and support for a long time… Has he been there, holding my hand, the entire time?
"She told us to thank you," CereCere stepped forward. "She now feels confident that with her efforts she can make a difference, and stop the fighting. And she has faith that she will see her sister again, and that she will make her proud."
"Thank goodness," Chibiusa smiled. She drew Helios' hand closer to her, and looked into his bright golden eyes. "Thank you for being there for me, and for lending me your strength." I couldn't have done it without him…
Helios shook his head. "I should be the one thanking you. You have saved me so many times already, opening my eyes to what I could not see or understand. My sweet Maiden…" If only she could see what I see when I look at her…
VesVes stood in front of the bed and bowed to Chibiusa and Helios. "Helios… I owe you an apology. I didn't trust you at first; I was concerned that you were going to hurt our Princess. Instead, you were the one to help her realize her full potential. I had hoped it would have been us, but I am happy that it was you," she paused and started to laugh. "But remember who you have to answer to if you ever make Chibiusa cry!"
Helios bowed in response. "I do not begrudge you for your actions. I understand that you only wanted to protect her… and I wish that I had not lost my memories so that I could have done the same, and warned everyone sooner. But still, it is what brought me to her, so I would not change a single second of it. You have my word that I will cherish and protect Chibiusa." I would never even think about doing something that could hurt her.
"Well… now that Chibiusa is awake and healthy, and everyone's memories are regained, isn't it time that you all start studying for the test you have tomorrow?" Mercury piped up. From her tone it was impossible to tell whether she was serious or joking, but everyone started to laugh.
"Come on, Chibiusa, you're going to be late for school!" VesVes called as she knocked on the Princess' door.
"I'm coming, I'm coming," Chibiusa sighed. She looked in the mirror one last time, checking that her uniform looked presentable. Not that it matters… he won't be there. I don't even want to go to school. Helios, obeying the ancient laws, returned to Elysion to fulfill his duty as priest. I guess I won't be able to see him anymore… She stepped out the door and put on a smile so that her companions would not notice her sadness.
As they made their way to school, the usual crowd of fans surrounded Chibiusa, though they seemed more subdued than normal. At least they're finally starting to understand that I want to be treated just like everyone else… She sighed again, the gestures that would have made her happy just a few weeks ago now seeming meaningless.
"Is something wrong, Chibiusa?" PallaPalla asked, concerned. "You don't seem very happy today."
"No, nothing's wrong," she shook her head. Once they were inside the building and almost at the classroom, Chibiusa realized that she had forgotten her textbook in her room. If I run I should still have time to get it… "Sorry, I'm going back! You can go on without me, I'll meet you there!"
She started to run, ignoring all the stares from people surprised to see her on her own. Chibiusa forced her way through the crowd that was gathered near the entrance, not even stopping to wonder what they were all looking at. No longer paying any attention to her surroundings, she found herself walking right into someone. "I'm so sorry, I wasn't looking…" she glanced up, and seeing the figure's face, gasped. "Helios?"
He smiled in return. "Hello, Chibiusa. It's so wonderful to see you again."
"Helios!" she cried, leaping into his arms. "What are you doing here?"
The crowd around them all seemed to sigh happily in unison. VesVes stood at the back of the crowd, smiling to herself, having known all along what was about to happen.
"Your parents… after we left the room to let you rest, they wanted to speak to me in private," he started, still hugging Chibiusa tightly. He thought back to the conversation.
They were both so kind… I started to feel embarrassed, uncomfortable to be talking about Chibiusa with Endymion. But he just put his hands on my shoulders, looked me in the eyes and smiled. "With our history, we both understand what a fated encounter looks like," he said. "Every experience happens for a reason. Even you losing your memory."
"Yes," Neo Queen Serenity spoke next. "And we believe that reason to be bringing you back with our daughter, and allowing you to experience the world outside of Elysion. Who are we to question destiny?"
I didn't even know how to respond, or what this even meant. I just waited for them to say more.
"And that's why we've decided to change the ancient laws concerning your position. You are now free to come and go between worlds as you please. And you are welcome to stay here in the Crystal Palace when you are in this world," Endymion bowed to me. "I expect that it won't be long before this will be your home, anyway." He looked at me approvingly, though I could tell there was a bit of apprehension in his voice. Did he mean what I think he did?
"After all, it would be good for the protector of dreams to understand the ordinary lives of those he protects, wouldn't it?" Serenity winked at me. Behind all her mature and elegant ways, she really is very much like Chibiusa. "Oh—let's keep this a secret for now! You start back at school tomorrow, so surprise Small Lady then!"
"Does that mean that we can see each other whenever we want now?" Chibiusa asked excitedly.
"Yes," Helios grinned. "Now we truly can always be together. I promise."
Chibiusa stood on her tiptoes and closed her eyes, her lips just barely beginning to touch Helios' own. As Helios leaned closer, the bell rang.
"Oh! We're going to be late!" Chibiusa jolted to attention, pulling her lips away before they could kiss. She grabbed Helios' hand and started to run, leading him down the hallway and to their class.
"We can finish this after," Helios laughed.
"Yes," she smiled at him. I don't have to worry about him disappearing before my eyes anymore.
Thank you to everyone for your support and comments! I couldn't have done this without you.