About six months after their wedding, Serena received a phone call from a very excited Sammy.

"Serena!" She had to hold the phone away from her ear being deafened by the whoops and hollers in the background.

"Sammy, is that you? Where are you?" Serena strained to hear what her brother over what seemed to be a collective cheer. "Did you just say that you're at a hockey game?"

"Yeah," he shouted. Whatever he said next was lost into the roar of the fans. "I said I just asked Mika to marry me and she said yes! I'm getting MARRIED!" The crowd cheered again. Serena was mildly amused to hear them chanting his name. "I proposed to her on the in front of everybody! It pays to be a sports writer!"

Another six months passed before Sammy and Mika got married in a simple ceremony in Toronto to which Darien and Serena flew back to attend. Having no other immediate family there, Serena stood in as Sammy's best man while Isabella once again played a flower girl, only this time, she got confused halfway down the aisle and started crying, forcing Darien to walk the rest of the way with her. Now, five years later, Sammy and Mika are the proud parents of a three-year old boy named David, after Mika's father, with another on the way.

One lazy Sunday morning, Serena and Darien were lounging on the sofa in the living room after having breakfast sharing the newspaper. Isabella had gone to spend the day with her grandparents, who were taking her to the club for a "fancy brunch", as Isabella had called it. Darien was, of course, reading the business section of the newspaper while Serena amused herself with the entertainment section.

Serena took a sip of coffee, turned the page, and promptly started choking. "Darien!" she said in between coughing fits. "Stop hitting me! I'm fine!"

Darien looked dubious but stopped whacking her back with his hand. "What happened, the coffee go down the wrong way?"

Still winded, Serena could do nothing but point to the newspaper. Darien glanced at the page and grinned. "Robert's new book made it on the bestseller list!" Serena nodded happily and grabbed the cordless phone from the side table.

"Hello, Aunt Celeste? Darien and I were just reading the paper and guess whose name we saw topping the bestseller list?" Serena listened for a moment and squealed with delight. "That's right! Robert's book made number one!"

Serena put Celeste on the speakerphone so that Darien could hear the excitement as well. With the speakerphone activated, they could hear the twins clamoring in the background. Celeste and Robert, married too late in life to have children of their own, adopted twins from China whom they named Irene and Matthew. Both active toddlers were being taken care of by Celeste, who had decided to be a stay-at-home mom so that Robert could write full-time.

"Yay, Daddy!" they shouted, clapping their tiny hands. A crash was heard and then Robert's robust laughter.

"My three kids," Celeste said wryly, although both Serena and Darien could hear the fondness and love in her voice. "And in a few months' time, it's going to be four." She went on to say that she and Robert had adopted another child, this time, a little boy from Romania.

Amy and Zack were finally able to save for a house and immediately began trying to have a baby. Unfortunately, two years had passed and still the couple had not been able to conceive. They had already tried fertility treatments to no avail and are now looking into invitro fertilization. Serena hoped that their next visit to the fertility specialists would produce some good news for her friend-God knew how much Amy wanted to be a mother. Serena remembered a conversation she had with Amy just a few days ago on the terrace in the backyard.

"You're so lucky to have the kids, Serena," Amy said wistfully, watching Isabella and Kenny squabble over a ball. The children's screaming was beginning to give Serena a headache.

"Kids! Aunt Amy and I are trying to have a little talk. Could you please keep it down?" Isabella and Kenny looked at each other and continued their argument in hushed whispers for about a minute, which resulted in a full-blown war. Serena groaned and stoically tried to ignore them. "Were you talking about my kids? By all means, please take them. Then you'll see just how overrated kids really are. I don't even know why you-" Serena broke off, her face red with embarrassment. "I'm sorry, Amy. I didn't think. I feel horrible."

Amy attempted to laugh it off, but the damage had already been done. They sat in awkward silence, watching the children playing in the playhouse Darien had built for them, the ball forgotten. Serena bit her lip nervously, cursing herself for not thinking before she spoke.

Thankfully, Rini's sniffling cries gave Serena an excuse to visit the playpen erected just a few feet away from the table. "She's hungry," she said softly, almost to herself. She turned to Amy. "Would you like to feed her? I've got a bottle here. It would be good practice for you."

Amy nodded and opened out her arms, ready to receive the baby. Serena placed her carefully in her arms and handed her a tiny bottle. Serena sat back, watching her friend nurse her child, thinking how natural the scene looked. "You'd make a great mother, Amy."

Amy smiled shyly, pleased. "You think so?"

Serena watched Rini stretch her arms lazily and yawn. "If you doubt me, look at Rini. She couldn't be happier."

"Serena..." Amy hesitated. "Do you think the reason I can't have a baby is because I'd be a bad mother?" Just then, cool, confident Amy looked very vulnerable.

Serena felt a pang of sympathy for her friend. It was hard seeing Amy, the only girl in the fifth grade to have a life plan at five year intervals, have such a hard time conceiving a child when it came so naturally for her and Raye. Because she knew that Amy's femininity was suffering a personal blow, Serena resisted the urge to overcompensate her pity by coddling her. "For such a smart woman, that was a pretty stupid thing to say. You and I both know that your difficulties in conceiving have nothing to do with being a good mother-which I know you'll be." She hugged Amy and her daughter. "I think that this situation only proves how good a mother you're going to be since you're willing to do anything to be one. And how good a father Zach is going to be. You'll see, the wait will be over soon."

Serena prayed that her words would prove to be true. She didn't think Amy and Zach could suffer another disappointment.

A few months after their marriage, Serena started volunteering at the hospital in the children's wing, helping young children who were the victims of physical and sexual abuse learn how to trust again and to rebuild their self-confidence. There were days when Serena would be so emotionally exhausted from spending an afternoon with a child who had gone through the same trauma she did as a child, she would just come home and hold Isabella in her arms for as long as she could. Darien was worried about the emotional toll the volunteer position was taking on his wife and was debating on asking her to quit.

However, once he saw the impact of Serena's empathy and love on the kids and vice versa, he decided to make an anonymous donation to the hospital and keep his own counsel. Thankfully, Serena was able to use her feelings and past experiences as a way to inspire the children into rebuilding their self-confidence and she hardly ever took her work home with her.

She still couldn't stop smiling every time she recalled Darien's reaction when she told him that she was pregnant in the second year of their marriage. By then, Isabella was three years old and had already established her place as her daddy's little girl.

Once Serena confirmed what she already knew at the doctor's office, she stopped by Darien's office to tell him. Unfortunately, by the time she got there, cursing LA traffic under her breath, Darien had already gone to his meeting and was out of his office. So she sat and waited. And planned.

By the time he got back, Serena had perfected her plan and was already sitting morosely sitting in Darien's chair. "Serena," he said, surprised that she was there. "I didn't know you were coming over."

Serena shrugged, not wanting to reply and risk giving everything away. She looked down, sure that if she looked at Darien, she would smile. "I just felt like coming over, that's all."

Darien frowned in concern. "Is something the matter?" His heart began to pound as he imagined his parents lying in a pool of blood, Isabella in the hospital being treated for some incurable disease. He took a deep breath to calm himself down. "What's the matter?"

Serena swallowed and looked at him with watery eyes. "I just came from the doctor's office..."

If Serena had punched him in the gut, he still wouldn't have been as caught off-guard as he was right now. It never once occurred to him that it was Serena, his wife, in serious medical trouble. She was as healthy as a horse. "What's wrong?" he asked quietly, dragging a nervous hand through his hair. He clenched his jaw when she sniffled. He didn't like that she looked so vulnerable. He squatted in front of her, placed his hands on her knees. "Tell me what's wrong."

She murmured something so softly, he had to lean forward to hear it. "What was that?"

"They found a..." Darien's face paled and his heart hammered in his throat.

"What?" he managed to croak.

"A baby," she whispered, now looking directly into his eyes. "They found a baby."

Darien slammed his eyes shut and shot to his feet. "It's okay, it's okay," he said, pacing. "We can get a second opinion, we'll get more tests done. I'll schedule an appoint... What did you say?"

"A baby," she repeated softly, taking his hand and pressing it to her stomach. "We're having a baby."

Darien's worried face erupted into a smile. He whooped and caught Serena up in a hug that lifted her off her feet and had her squealing with laughter. "I can't believe it!" he exclaimed. Then, in a lightning fast change of mood, he said sternly, "Don't do that again! You scared me to death!"

Serena cackled and threw her arms around Darien. "I had you going! You should've seen your face!" She stopped laughing when she saw the mischievous gleam in his eye. "Darien, what are you thinking? Darien?" She started backing away slowly.

Darien wiggled his fingers menacingly. "You, dear wife, are in for the tickling of a lifetime."

Serena's eyes widened as she searched for an escape route. "Darien, you shouldn't be...overtaxing me in my...delicate condition right now. Darien..." She dodged Darien and squealed, running behind the chair. Whatever furniture they didn't crash into toppled to the floor, turning the office into a makeshift obstacle course. A lamp crashed to the floor, unbroken but mangled, alerting the new secretary outside the door.

"Sir?" she asked hesitantly. "Is everything okay?"

"Everything's just fine, Janine," Serena said hurriedly, taking the opportunity to dash out into the hall through the open door. Darien hooted with laughter and took chase.

"Sir?"

"It's okay, Janine. We're just having a baby. Serena, I'm coming to get you!" He was answered by a raspberry blown over the shoulder and a squeal of laughter.

Serena smiled, thinking back to that happy day and seeing the astonished faces of Darien's employees, wondering if they really did see their cranky boss chasing his wife around the cubicles, finally ending up in the elevator only to emerge 45 minutes later, satiated and disheveled.

Sadly, a few months after they had welcomed Kenny into the world, Raye and Justin had to say goodbye to one of their own. Their third child, a girl they named Erica, had been stillborn. Serena could still remember the phone calls she would get from Justin, who was struggling to remain strong for his children who couldn't understand why Mommy didn't want to play with them anymore, and for Raye who just wanted to cut herself off from him. Then one day, Justin called her with news that made her heart stop.

"Serena, I'm thinking of leaving Raye and taking the kids." Justin's voice broke. That was the first time he voiced his decision. "It's just for a little while. I'm afraid to leave the kids alone with Raye when I'm at work. The other night I came home and Kayla was fixing a bowl of cereal for herself and Jessica because Raye wouldn't come out of her room." He swore, and Serena heard a dull thump, possibly his fist making contact with the wall. "She was sitting in our room, mourning for our dead daughter while our other two living children were starving."

Serena inhaled sharply, surprised that Justin was really thinking about taking this drastic step, but also sad to reflect upon the fact that she had seen it coming. Raye was that family's centre; without her, Justin was left juggling everything on his own. She understood how frustrating it is to be a single parent, all the while knowing that a single phone call, or in Justin's case, a simple knock on the door, would bring the other parent running.

She managed to talk Justin into giving Raye one last chance by telling him that his children needed their mother, that he needed his wife, and that Raye needed her family most of all. When Justin hung up, claiming that he needed to get back to work, Serena hit the speed dial to call Raye at home. She grit her teeth when the answering machine picked up.

"Raye, get up off your ass and pick up the phone. I mean it, Raye. I'm not hanging up." Serena glared at her reflection in the mirror. "I know you're there, dammit. Pick up the phone." Just when she was about to start singing, she heard a rattling on the other end.

"What the hell do you want?" Raye said testily. "I swear Serena, this better be good. I was taking a nap."

"Taking a nap? I haven't been living in California so long that I forgot what time it is over there. It's only 11 in the morning!" Serena twisted the phone cord around her finger. "How have you been doing, Raye?"

"How the fuck do you think I'm doing, Serena?" Raye snarled viciously. "I lost my daughter and I don't even know what I did wrong!" Serena heard Raye weeping on the other end and immediately regretted her harsh words.

"Raye, what's going on with you, huh?" she whispered soothingly. Serena wished she could jump through the phone and put her arms around Raye. "Go back to Justin and the kids, Raye. They need you."

Serena had to steel herself against the wave of Raye's sorrow. "I can't Serena," she sobbed. "I can't do it. I want my baby."

Not wanting to break Justin's confidence, she settled for, "Do you realize that while you're mourning the loss of one child, you're alienating Justin and the kids? Think about what you're doing, Raye. Don't let your grief overwhelm you, Raye. You told me that once, and I never forgot it."

"I know Justin wants to leave me." Serena suppressed a gasp. Did she say too much? "I can see it in his eyes every night when he comes home and the house is a mess and the kids are crying and I'm sitting here in the dark. I don't blame him. They'd be better off without me."

"That's not true, Raye, and you know it. You're just being selfish, you know that." Serena could hear Raye bristling on the other end.

"How dare you call me selfish, Serena. I just lost a child. You don't know the kind of pain that I'm going through," she said heatedly.

"No, I don't," Serena replied with just as much heat in her words, "but Justin does. You're not the only one whose daughter died; that child was as much his as she was yours. Raye, he's hurting too."

"I don't know how to help him when I can't even help myself," she whispered hoarsely.

And so, Serena referred her to her former therapist, Dr. Mina Maxwell, and wished her and Justin all the best. When Justin came home that night, he wasn't sure what he'd find but he certainly didn't expect to see Raye in the kitchen, stirring a pot of spaghetti sauce, the kids sitting in awkward silence at the dinner table, afraid to do or say anything that would make their mother cry those horrible tears again.

"What's this?" he asked cautiously, not wanting to get his hopes up. He kissed his daughters softly on their heads and hesitated for a brief second before kissing his wife on the cheek.

"I'm making dinner," Raye answered simply. She took a deep breath. "Justin, we have to talk."

It wasn't easy, but Raye and Justin decided to seek grief counseling and have been attending meetings religiously for three and a half years even though the pain has lessened. They were never going to forget Erica, but together they learned that life had to go on. They've put off having another child so that Raye could ease into her law career again now that the children were in school.

These days, Serena and her family had the house all to themselves, minus the house staff. A year and a half ago, Candace and Walter went on a cruise and enjoyed it so much they hadn't been back since except to stop by for weeks at a time for holidays and birthdays. The last time Candace and Walter visited was a few months ago when Kenny turned four. They had just spent two months in the Brazilian Rainforests visiting a tribe discovered just thirty years ago and came back loaded with gifts of a...tribal variety.

"Oh cool!" Kenny exclaimed upon opening a small gift-wrapped box. "Thanks Grandpa!"

Serena peered over his shoulder. "What is it, honey?"

"Look!" Kenny thrust a shrunken head in her face. "Isn't it cool, mom?"

Serena shied away from the hideously distorted head dangling from Kenny's fist by the hair, its face frozen in a gruesome death mask. "Uh, yes. It's...great." Kenny, all smiles, threw his arms around Serena's neck, the head coming dangerously close to making contact with her cheek. Serena stifled a shriek and glared at Walter. "Thanks Grandpa."

Walter grinned knowingly. "I knew the boy would love it." He snickered and muttered under his breath, "As for you, however..."

Candace and Walter stayed for a week before setting off to Alaska to watch the annual Iditarod dog sled race. After that, they were going to Sweden to stay in the Ice Hotel for a few days before setting off for parts unknown. As soon as they were gone, Serena used a pair of tongs to bury the head in a box and buried that in a steamer trunk in the attic. "It's the gift that keeps on giving," she grumbled when she accidentally slammed the trunk lid close on her finger.

To compensate for the loss, Serena brought a terrier puppy home from the pound, which she forbid to sleep in Kenny's bed. Kenny's brilliant loophole to this obstacle was to tiptoe down the stairs to the laundry room where the dog bed was kept, and curled up beside Barky, where he was found by a frantic Darien the next morning. Serena's will crumbled when she saw her son squished on the tiny bed, his arms wrapped securely around the dog's body. She took a picture before she woke him up to tell him that Barky could sleep in his room if he promised to keep it clean.

"Hey, where'd you go?" Darien asked, taking Rini from her.

"Hmm? Oh, I was just going down memory lane," she replied.

"Well, what do you say, Mrs. Shields?" Darien began nuzzling her hair. In her arms, Rini stirred and smiled as she slept.

'Six years', Serena thought, so amazed at the turn of events in her life. 'I still can't believe that this is my life.' She turned to Darien and nodded. "Meet you there later."

"Happy anniversary, Serena."

"You too, Darien."

The End.

***

I want to say a BIG thank you to Kat, Jackie, Drema and especially Sarah for all their advice and support while I was writing this long-winded story. Without them, I would not have grown as a writer or have had such ready and willing betas. Thanks bunches, guys.

I also want to thank my readers for sticking with this story even through all those update-less months. I can't believe Wounded Souls was voted 2nd in the WAFF/TAFF contest at SMRFF. I was truly surprised and flattered. You don't know how much that meant to me.

Wounded Souls has been such a huge part of my life these past few months that I can't believe it's over. Actually, I was going to make another chapter detailing the wedding but I got so many reviews from people who thought that the previous chapter was the last chapter, I decided to just end it right there. Actually, I'm happy that I did because now that I think about it, having another chapter would just drag the story unnecessarily and I didn't want to do that. Writing WS has taught me discipline, and shown me what I would one day like to do with my life. I am extremely grateful to the Sailor Moon community for allowing me the chance to grow as an author and as a person.

And that's all she wrote.

PS: Sorry for dividing up the epilogue this way, but I had a couple of AN's that I had to get rid of in order to comply with FFN's new anti-AN rules, so I replaced the chapters and found that I had an extra chapter on my hands. Rather than lose the reviews I got for the last chapter, my friend ladysolo suggested I just divide the last chapter up into two, and there we have it.