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Crown Me Nemesis

Chapter Text

King Endymion had expected it to go the way he'd remembered from his past. In fact, he'd been fearing it in the depths of his soul ever since the day his beloved wife took the throne and the whole glittering, crystalline city went from nebulous future to very, very real.

He expected - with no small amount of dread - Neo Queen Serenity to be attacked and encased in crystal, Small Lady sent to the past, but thankfully, everything working out in the end.

This time, it was horrifyingly different.

Endymion thought he couldn't imagine anything worse than staring at his wife - prone and cold beneath unyielding stone. He was wrong.

This time, the chess rules were changed; the queen wasn't sacrificed - she was taken.

And when she returned, Endymion's entire world crumbled.

The senshi were still in stasis, their power maintaining the protective barrier around the innermost palace. Just like before, Sailor Pluto let Small Lady travel to the past, allowing the little girl to think she'd 'stolen' the key so she wouldn't realize she was being evacuated, and then stood guard beside the Time Gate waiting for the princess's return.

This time, Sailor Pluto had the knowledge and experience of Setsuna Meioh, and memories of fighting alongside the others in the 20th century. Or perhaps she'd always had that. Endymion was never sure how that worked with her.

It was one of the gray days when Endymion was silently keeping vigil over an empty palace that Demande appeared in the courtyard, a mocking smile on his face.

"Come out, come out, wherever you are," the white prince sing-songed, purple eyes sparkling with evil glee. "I think we have something - or someone - you might be interested in hearing about."

It was clearly a trap but Endymion went out there anyway. He'd never been able to keep logical or cool-headed when it came to Serenity - in any of her forms.

Demande took this time to float in the air and taunt Endymion, but the king didn't listen to his mocking, instead watching his movements for any hint of vulnerability, ready to throw his staff like a javelin if need be, anything to get the upper hand.

"Did you come here to blither on and waste my time, or do you actually have something worthwhile to say?" Endymion shouted up at him, interrupting Demande mid-evil monologuing and earning himself a glare.

"I wouldn't be so rude, considering," Demande said, tossing a glinting object at Endymion's feet.

Bent and singed, it rolled to Endymion's feet and he picked it up gingerly, shaking with the effort it took not to fall to his knees in despair.

Serenity's crown.

Surreptitiously, he wriggled his hand out of the cloth gloves he wore - the protection against powerful psychometry overwhelming him, rather than merely a fashion choice - and let his skin touch the cold metal.

And he was flooded with pain.

Not physical- she wasn't being tortured and for that Endymion was grateful - but the worst sort of loneliness and isolation and betrayal. Abandonment: his Usako's deepest, darkest fear. She was never loved, she was least important, she never mattered to the people she treasured…

"No!" Endymion shouted, dropping the crown and seething up at Demande. "She won't turn!" he cried out. "Not for the likes of you!"

The blast hit Endymion out of nowhere, searing pain into his side and he collapsed, clutching the wounded flesh beneath the burnt away layers of clothing along his ribcage. Demande's laughter echoed in his ears.

"My King!" A familiar voice cut through the cloudiness in his mind, and he was aware of a 'Dead Scream' sending Demande away in a blast of smoke. The dark energy from Demande's blast burned its way through Endymion's veins, it was all he could do to fight it down.

"Come," Sailor Pluto said, curling her arm around his waist to help him up, being ever-so-careful to avoid his wound. "We can get you fixed up inside."

Gratefully he clung to her, limping his way back to the safety of the crystal fortress. Then, through the haze of pain and panic, he felt his aura shift, aligning to a presence he could never ignore.

"Serenity-" He twisted his body and struggled back toward the courtyard, but Sailor Pluto shook her head, refusing to let him go.

"No," she said, softly. "You aren't strong enough now."

"But she's here-" The fog of the fresh dark energy in his body made it hard to move, to talk. He wondered if Serenity was really standing there, near the blast scar on the ground, or if it was a kind of torturous mirage.

Pluto pulled him away with both arms as he twisted back to look at Serenity.

She was watching them with luminous blue eyes, just before the gates slammed shut behind them. She had been holding her crown in both hands.

When he saw his wife again, the crown was back on her head, and she stood tall as the steely-eyed Queen of the Black Moon.

Endymion watched her on the security monitors, every cell in his body begging him to run toward her, to be near her… but he knew Pluto was correct when she told him to not -under any circumstances- attempt to make contact with Serenity.

"It will end extremely poorly for you," she'd said, nodding toward his wound, which - although bandaged - still throbbed with a dull pain. Endymion wasn't used to being injured in ways he couldn't heal, and he had to concede that he was in no shape to face down the most powerful person in the universe.

"Protect the Crystal," Pluto reminded him. "It's what she would have wanted." It galled Endymion to know it was the truth.

Before her capture, Neo Queen Serenity had told him to entrust the Silver Crystal to Small Lady, but the princess still did not consider herself worthy to be able to wield it and, consumed with guilt over her mother's kidnapping, had secretly left the crystal behind when she 'stole' the time key and ran away to 20th-century Tokyo.

Now it was in the Palace, its only protectors a timeless senshi and a wounded king. Endymion sighed and watched the screens, his hands moving along the crystal controls with practiced efficiency.

Serenity knew where the security cameras were, and she aimed a smile directly at them as she walked through the decimated outer gardens. The swing of her hips and flow of her hair as she moved entranced Endymion as always, even through the screen.

"Did you come alone?" he murmured, not seeing or sensing any other presence with her. Was Demande somewhere nearby, hiding? As consumed as Demande was with lust for the white queen, he ought to be constantly near her. Did he touch you? Endymion thought, stomach churning. Did you let him?

It wasn't important now, he knew that logically, but the feelings clawed up in his throat anyway.

"Where's the white prince?" It was Pluto's voice that made Endymion start, and it took him a moment to realize the voice was coming through the monitors. Sailor Pluto was there, standing before Serenity with the Garnet Rod at ready.

"White prince?" The queen tilted her head to the side, looking at Pluto thoughtfully. Her voice was the same - soft and sweet and gentle and perfect and Endymion swallowed down the desire to run out to her. He touched the image on the screen instead.

"Oh!" she laughed, and it wasn't Usako's laugh but it was just close enough to be a perversion of it. Besmirched perfection. Endymion's throat burned. "You mean Demande?" She flicked her hair over her shoulder. "Wiseman got rid of him a while ago. By the time I had fully awakened to the truth, he was dead." She shrugged.

Usako wept for her enemies, this version just shrugged with such callousness that Endymion's relief at Demande's death was tempered by his horror at her reaction.

"Why are you here?" Pluto asked. "Why have you come?"

"I've come for what's mine," she answered, blinking as if it should be obvious. Then she smirked at Pluto's expression. "No, not that. Not what you covet." She rolled her eyes. "The Silver Crystal."

So, she'd come for the crystal.

Of course.

Wiseman wanted its power and the one would could wield it, and so far he only had the latter.

Wiseman could've sent another to attack the already torn-apart Crystal Palace and it's wounded king, but he sent her, Endymion realized, because it was the most cruel.

"Queen, you know we will not allow you to take the crystal," Pluto was saying.

Blue eyes narrowed beneath the black crescent moon on Serenity's forehead. "But it's mine, is it not, Sailor Pluto?" Pink lips twisted in a mockery of a smile. "Do you make it a habit of stealing things that aren't yours?"

Serenity's fists clenched and the palace crackled with her latent energy.

Endymion knew his wife was powerful, far too powerful to win against, even without the crystal. And her power was linked to the very essence of Crystal Tokyo itself.

Sailor Pluto knew she could never win against the queen. And Endymion wouldn't let her try.

As the dark queen prepared to attack, Pluto held onto her staff with both hands, shifting it in a defensive position.

"Wait!" The call made them both freeze, and Pluto turned around to see Endymion - leaning heavily on the staff he held as he walked.

"My King! No!" Sailor Pluto cried. But to her surprise, the king handed something to her, something cold and heavy and deeply important. He closed her gloved hand around the ginzuishou.

"Run," he managed to say. "To the Time Gate. Protect the crystal."

She opened her mouth to protest, horror in her eyes, but he shook his head quickly. "Think of Small Lady," he said. She grabbed his arm, looking at him in utter devastation. "Go!" He said, giving her a little push, and she gave him one last, tortured look, before turning and running back through the palace barrier.

Endymion straightened up slowly, hiding the pain that shot through his body at the movement.

"Take your time," Serenity said sardonically, crossing her arms and raising a brow.

"Appreciate it," he managed. When he couldn't heal himself when the wound was so deeply infected with dark energy, and Pluto had begged him to go into stasis himself. But he'd be no help to anyone as a hologram.

"I'm fine now." He forced himself to walk without a limp, to stand at the palace gates with his chin raised and shoulders square.

She stood there, in her form-fitting white dress, with gossamer wings, so very much like when she went by Neo Queen Serenity, except for the inverted black crescent on her forehead, and her eyes. Those beautiful, terrifying eyes.

She tilted her head, eyes looking him up and down. "Looking a bit worse for the wear, are we?"

"I could say the same for you," he said, tapping a finger to his forehead. "I preferred the golden one, to be honest."

She smirked. "I'm sure you did." Then her voice grew angry. "Did you honestly think I'd just let Pluto run away with my crystal?"

"No," he said. "The obvious next step would be to kill me and chase after her."

She blinked, surprised, then impressed. A satisfied, mocking smile graced her lips. "I can't figure out if you are overconfident or stupid, to you think you have an iota of a chance against me."

"I don't think that."

"Then you what? Plan to sacrifice yourself?" She barked a short, derisive laugh. "I'll get to Sailor Pluto before your body is cold, before that lovesick look she gives you even fades from her eyes."

He stood silently, hand still clenched around the staff, wound still pulsing in pain to the rhythm of the dark energy beating in Serenity's heart. But it was no matter, he wasn't going to need physical strength to carry out his plan. It was strength of heart he had to rely on, and that was one of the many things he'd learned from Serenity through the years.

When he stood to his full height, she was eye level with him, and her eyes were furious.

"I won't hesitate!" she said, clawing her fingers and pulling her arms back, blackness pooling in her palms. Her face distorted into a mask of rage, and she lowered her arms in frustration. "Well?!"

Endymion continued to stand there, unflinching.

"Aren't you even going to try to fight?" she raged.

"I'm not afraid of you," he said.

"You doubt my power?!" She was incredulous, infuriated, the very ground trembled beneath her as she flexed her hands.

"No," he said. "I know I am no match for you. I know these may be my last moments."

"Then why do you look so calm?!"

She hissed like a snake when his hand caught her waist, pulling her closer, but she didn't recoil. She just looked at him, stormy eyes and crackling energy and the black, black, black of the moon on her forehead.

"Because my last moments will be with you." He dropped the staff, raising a hand to her face and bringing her lips to his.

And he allowed himself to unleash his power fully and pour into her mind, emotions, and her very heart.

I will find you, he promised. And I will save you.

Chapter Text

Serenity pulled back, eyes accusing and shocked. 'How dare you?!' her look screamed at him. Then, in a flash, she grabbed his face in both hands and pulled him back toward her, pressing her lips against his - punishingly, hungrily. Her tongue chased his and her nails ran along his scalp and right when he succumbed to a full body shutter she pulled away.

For a moment something flashed in her eyes, then her expression turned to smug amusement, a small half-smile as she ran her thumb across her bottom lip, as if wiping it.

"It will not be that easy," she said, with a tsk-tsk shake of her head.

"I didn't think it would," he said.

But his power - the healing and grounding of the Golden Crystal - had done enough that her rage had subsided.

Wiseman would be calling her back now, to regroup and recharge the dark energy in her veins. But Endymion could only hope he'd left some sort of trace of an effect.

"You were lucky," she said, backing away slightly. "You won't be next time."

She vanished the way the Black Moon Clan always did, in a small vortex of black smoke. The weight of her presence vanished, leaving Endymion both relieved and bereft.

"That was stupid," Pluto said, flatly.

Endymion considered, leaning against the Time Gate, thoughtfully. The crystal rested against Pluto's waist; she'd looped it where the Time Key would've been. The most protected place in the galaxy.

"It probably was," he conceded, a thoughtful frown on his face. "Anyway, I'm going to do it again."

Pluto opened her mouth to argue, but he interrupted before she could.

"But! I promise I'll be better prepared this time."

She looked at him with an expression only the all-knowing senshi of time could make. The look that said, 'I may have Mysterious Knowledge about this, I may not, but if I'm not knocking you unconscious with my staff to prevent this, it must not be that terrible of an idea.'

So, he ventured forward. "Will… you help?"

If she was any less respectful of a person, she would've rolled her eyes, Endymion was sure of it. But instead she merely bowed her head. "Of course, My King."

He held the Silver Crystal in his gloved hand - making sure to avoid touching it with his skin. It would be too responsive to him, and he didn't want to do anything to aid Serenity in her plan to storm the palace and claim it for the Dark Moon.

The courtyard was cold - especially for the usual paradise temperature of the utopian city - and bleak. It fit the mood perfectly, no living green, no cheer - just cold stone and dead twigs. A statue of a maenad stared blankly out over a dry fountain with her eyes made of marble.

He sensed Serenity before he saw her, the wind changed and the temperature dropped even further.

"Hello, my love," he said, when she appeared before him.

"Darling," she greeted, coolly. Her eyes lighted on the Silver Crystal in his hand and narrowed slightly.

"I believe I have something you want," he said, raising an eyebrow. He kept his grip on the crystal tight, his stance wary.

Serenity gave him a disgusted, incredulous look. "You aren't giving up this easily, are you?"

"I was thinking about it and decided that I'd rather not die," he said. "So I thought perhaps a bargain?"

"Your life for the crystal," the Dark Queen guessed, crossing her pale arms. "I don't think so."

Endymion swallowed, shifting the crystal slightly in his hands. This was risky. So risky. But it was necessary.

She stepped forward, power crackling her hands. "I'll just kill you and take it."

"Then I'd settle for one last kiss."

For a moment - the shortest, quickest split second - she looked confused. It was barely a flash but he caught it, before the anger returned with a vengeance.

A black rope of dark energy lashed around his wrists, binding his hands together behind his back, the crystal dropping from his suddenly limp hands onto the dirt behind his feet. The pain in his side screamed and he almost cried out.

She stepped forward, until they were barely an inch apart, and then she bent slightly and tilted her head to look into his face. Oddly, she reminded him of a curious child, the way she dipped her head and looked at him writhing in pain in mild interest. "Deal," she said, and leaned in to kiss him. Despite himself, Endymion responded to her lips brushing his, shutting his eyes and leaning into her.

The Dead Scream attack didn't hit Serenity directly - it ricocheted off a stagnant reflecting pool, knocking the poor marble maenad's head clean off, and landed on Serenity with a blow that rendered her limp and unconscious, the dark energy releasing Endymion's arms just in time to catch her.

Serenity awoke in a room drenched with daylight - although the sky was gray, the mirrors and windows had been arranged in such a way to bring maximum light into the room. The bed she was on was soft and plush, and she sat up and swung her legs over the side with unrestrained ease.

Endymion stood a few feet away, Pluto at his side, and they were both watching her cautiously.

"This is a strange dungeon," Serenity said.

Endymion gave her a half-smile. "Welcome home," he said.

She grabbed the nearest thing she could reach - a hairbrush by the bed - and threw it at him as hard as she could. It bounced harmlessly off the invisible force field that separated them. The Dark Queen looked astonished.

"Guess we aren't quite as stupid as you thought?" Endymion said, unable to help a small smile. She was powerful and dangerous and pissed off, but the love of his life was here within the palace walls. She was home.

Now, he just had to heal her.

He'd been through it with Pluto dozens of times, his plan. What he hadn't told her was how much he was improvising.

Endymion knew he wasn't powerless: he could read objects, emotions and connect with people's psyches, their thoughts. Especially Serenity's. Their connection hadn't broken, not completely, even though Wiseman had taken up temporary residence in her mind.

It had sounded simple when spoken out loud in the safety and security of the Time Gate - connect with Serenity, go into her mind, and get Wiseman out. Just like when Pluto had sent Usako and the senshi into Small Lady's mind in the 20th century, he'd said. Only he was even better equipped to handle a situation like this, considering his strengths.

But now that he was face to face with her, now that so much rested on this, Endymion admitted he was nervous.

Serenity could make the braver choice, and had in the past, to protect the world at all costs. Endymion knew if he failed to bring her back to herself, he'd die at her hand before hurting her, or letting anyone else hurt her.

The world would fall to Dark Moon rule because of his devotion to the woman before him, his weakness for her.

But another thing he'd learned from her, in all their years together: what is mistaken for weakness is often, actually, strength.

At his nod, Pluto lowered the forcefield just long enough for Endymion to step inside and take both Serenity's hands in his.

And everything else disappeared.

He was moving upward. There was the sound of a mechanical swish of an elevator, and the musty, swampy smell of the Dark Kingdom which punched him in the gut with unwanted memories. And her - he oriented himself toward the glow of her light and in a spin found himself standing next to a fourteen-year-old schoolgirl with golden pigtails and frightened expression on her sweet baby face.

This was her memory.

"What are you doing here, Odango Atama?" Endymion turned to see his younger self, hunched over, blood seeping into the dark green of his jacket, looking at Usagi with annoyance in his eyes.

But there wasn't annoyance. At the time, he'd been scared for her, this bright happy-go-lucky girl who'd been a balm on his tortured soul this whole time. A reminder that even in a world with a secret identity and lost memories and haunted dreams, there was still simplicity. Still normalcy. Usagi had represented that to him, that at least she'd still be there, running late to school, giggling over Motoki, shoveling treats into her mouth - no matter what. It had terrified him when she'd followed him into danger like the idiot she was, threatening the most precious thing in his civilian life.

Usagi was telling Mamoru he'd moved up to "second worst" person in the world, and he'd tossed her a small, secret smile.

But, no. Then something wrong happened. It was like an orchestra playing in perfect tune and then the notes turned sour and jarring.

The smile on Mamoru's face disappeared and a scowl replaced it, the warmth in his eyes was gone. Instead of a precious, intimate moment between them the elevator filled with contention and dislike. "You are always a bother, Usagi," his past self said in a dismissive voice.

No! It hadn't happened that way.

Endymion reached for Usagi, that precious, precious girl, but his hand floated through her arm like he wasn't even there.

He felt the danger, and although it was a memory, although it was the past, he had to fight to urge to leap in front of her, protect her, at all costs.

The fire rushed toward them and Usagi raised her hand and screamed out the words that had sent a shockwave through the boy next to her.

"Moon Prism Power! Make Up!"

Endymion still remembered what it felt like when Usagi, his bastion of sweet normalcy, and Sailor Moon, the reluctant and kind hearted superhero whom he'd die for, merged into one.

He looked at Mamoru's shocked face and remembered the questions racing through his brain. How? How could that brave-hearted girl who hurled her tiara at monsters every night despite her obvious fear also be the happy and beautiful girl with all those friends and that laugh and that smile and…

How could one person be so… so many things? So beautifully and simply and perfectly and gorgeously and...

That was the moment he'd fallen so deeply in love there was no return.

But again, the jarring change, the shift in perspective. Everything got a bit darker and Mamoru's face changed, twisting into obvious disappointment and disgust. "You are Sailor Moon?" he spat out, recoiling.

"Usako, that's not what happened!" Endymion said, in vain, as Mamoru transformed into Tuxedo Kamen and told her to stay out of his way. That the Rainbow Crystals were all that mattered.

The memory melted away even as Endymion fought against it.

There was a moment of disorientation, of blackness. Then he was on the moon.

Chapter Text

King Endymion paused to take in the scene surrounding him. The Silver Millenium palace was cloaked in earthlight all around him.

It was so, so, so long ago and yet it was burned into his soul. Princess Serenity, standing there with shimmering eyes and silver hair, her dress floating around her in the low gravity. "Endymion!" she called, and it made the king jump, but it wasn't him she was calling.

The earth prince appeared from the walkway, striding with purpose toward the princess. Serenity ran to him and they embraced.

"It's rare you come here to see me," Serenity said, searching his eyes. "What's wrong?"

"My Shitennou tell me the moon has spies," Endymion said, "infiltrating my planet. Is this true, Serenity?"

The princess blinked, shaking her head slowly while biting her lip. "I don't think so… we watch over the earth to protect it but…"

"We don't need your protection," the prince snapped.

"Endym-" She stepped forward, putting a hand to his arm.

King Endymion's heart sunk. His memories of the Silver Millenium were clearer than ever, and while this conversation happened, it hadn't been like this. The prince had come to warn his princess of the Shitennou's suspicions, and together they'd sworn to fight for their love to the bitter end.

"If only you weren't so beautiful," the Prince Endymion said, almost mournfully. "I would've never fallen in love."

The armies filled the skies with blood.

As the Silver Millennium faded away, Endymion clenched his fist. It was obvious that Wiseman had twisted her memories of them, from the very beginning!

He had to figure out a way to fix this, but how could he, when he couldn't reach her?

And suddenly, there they were again, in 20th-century Tokyo and so, so young. Sitting side-by-side for a painting by Yumemi Yumeno.

It was when he was watching Mamoru's fascinated, amused gaze on Usagi change to an irritated sneer that Endymion realized.

He could remember. He could show Usagi what had really happened, how Mamoru had seen her, really seen her, beneath the guarded looks and awkward posturing. He might not be able to change the past, but he could help Serenity remember how much he'd always loved her.

Shutting his eyes, he reached out in his mind and remembered. Remembered the smell of paint and cookies, of Usagi's shampoo. Her green windbreaker and rain-frizzed hair, Yumeno's soft spoken shyness and really good coffee. And then he opened his eyes and he was sitting on the sofa in a leather jacket in a body that was a bit skinnier, more lanky, younger than he was used to.

He was Mamoru. And he looked at Usagi - softly breathing next to him, cheeks flush and oh-so-touchable, hands curled on her knees, as she primly sat still at Yumeno's command. Feeling his gaze, she turned, a challenge in her eyes. He smiled. A small, secretive smile like the one he remembered making that day.

'You don't know how much I truly like you, Odango Atama,' Mamoru was thinking. Endymion threw that knowledge out into Usagi's memories, threw with all his might.

Usagi gave a small, hesitant smile back at him. And the memory faded.

Endymion had steeled himself for a barrage of the worst, most dramatic parts of their relationship: Rejecting her when he didn't remember who she was, leaving for America in an awkward rushed goodbye so he wouldn't break down in sobs, and worst of all: when he broke up with her to save her.

But that wasn't what appeared.

Instead he found himself in his old apartment, all alone. A textbook was sitting out on the coffee table, and his past self was nowhere to be seen.

"Mamo-chan!" the sweet, cheerful voice echoed down the hall, and Endymion watched with longing as Usagi skipped in, a gray mini-skirt swishing over long legs, a soft pink sweater bringing out the flush in her cheeks, the sparkle in her eyes. She held a cloth bag in her hand, tied with a ribbon. "I baked cookies!"

God, but she was beautiful. Endymion would eat a thousand burnt cookies if it meant he could hold her again.

"Mamo-chan?" She glanced around the empty place and then knelt on the floor, spinning the textbook toward her.

"The… something of…," she trailed off, confusion in her eyes. "I can't even read this kanji." She looked crestfallen, eyes filled with tears.

"It's okay!" Endymion said, his words evaporating into the air, not reaching her. "Usako, you are in middle school! You aren't expected to read college texts. You… you don't need to know all the kanji in the world, you ARE the world. Usako, please…"

But she was already crying, and still crying when Mamoru returned, holding a soda.

Mamoru rolled his eyes at the burnt cookies while Usagi wailed that she could never be smart enough for him.

"Of course you aren't," Mamoru said. "But you're Serenity so I have to be with you. Luckily I have classmates to talk to when you don't understand things." He bit a cookie and made a face.

Endymion couldn't recall this exact instance, but he reached out to Usagi's memories and forced himself to remember. To become Mamoru.

The emotionally distant college student - overachieving, socially awkward and introverted, guarded and cold and so utterly, utterly in love with his bubbly girlfriend.

"It's okay, Usako," he said through Mamoru, and tugged her into his arms. She was warm and soft and sweet and he realized her memories were working through him - her real memories.

Mamoru comforted her, kissed her, told her he liked her just as she was. ('Liked', Endymion thought. 'What an understatement.' He still had so much growing to do.) Slowly, Wiseman's vision faded into the real thing, and the darkness faded even more.

It was hard to leave this memory, when his little bunny was snuggled into his arms, but there was still more to do.

The Tokyo street was bathed in pink and red from the sunset, and so nostalgic it took Endymion's breath away. This was Juuban of the 20th century and it'd been so long since he saw his hometown like this.

His past self was walking purposely toward a high rise, a bouquet of flowers in his hands.

"Mamoru!" Usagi's voice called, and it was odd hearing his full name from her lips. When was this that she called him neither Mamo-chan nor Mamoru-baka? "Please don't go in there! It's dangerous! Natsumi she's…. she's not human!"

"She's sick," Mamoru insisted. "And she's my friend."

Usagi looked like she'd been punched. "Those flowers are for her? Is she your girlfriend or..."

"Not yet," Mamoru said. "But she's gorgeous and into me so why not?" He smirked. "I could do a lot worse," he said pointedly, looking Usagi up and down with derision.

That's not what happened, but Endymion had a sinking feeling the real truth wasn't much better.

He shut his eyes and remembered. When he opened them, he was standing where Mamoru was, flowers and all.

"Listen, Usagi," Mamoru said. "She's my friend and she's sick so I'm visiting her. Don't read too much into it."

That wasn't good enough. 'Sorry, Chiba,' Endymion thought. 'I'm going to tell her everything.'

"I don't have many friends," he said, putting Mamoru's innermost thoughts into words, pushing the truth out into Usagi's mind because she had to know she had to know because his past self was too scared to ever tell her. "And Natsumi annoys me a lot, but she also seems kind of lonely and sad and I can commiserate with that. I am not interested in her romantically. I'm hardly ever interested in anyone romantically, because I can't imagine being worthy of anyone's love. Incidentally, you look absolutely gorgeous in the sunset."

Usagi's brows knitted, but the memory was already fading.

Then, Endymion found himself at a party, watching his past self hold a drink and a conversation with some old classmate he didn't even remember. Usagi was next to him, vibrating with nervousness, in the cutest pink dress he'd ever seen.

"Don't embarrass me in front of my peers," Mamoru hissed at her. "Try to be smart and accomplished for one night."

Edward's party, Endymion realized.

The room swirled and he saw his past self dancing with Michiru.

Mamoru would soon come to sincerely enjoy Michiru's company, but at the time of Edward's party he was frustrated with her secrecy and double-talk. He had danced with her to help the senshi solve the infuriating puzzle of the mysterious Mugen girls.

But in this tainted memory, Usagi wasn't dancing with Haruka as she should've been, but curled near the wall alone while her friends and the exchange students cruelly mocked her, and Mamoru held Michiru much too close.

No! Endymion shut his eyes and forced himself to remember.

Remember her slurred giggle and babble of 'relativity pudding', how jealous he was watching her grasp the exchange student's hands and beam up at him. Remember her saving the entire roomful of people when Eudial attacked.

And then he was Mamoru - politely leaving Michiru and heading to Usagi, taking her hand for a dance. She was flushed and sheepish, running a soft finger along his bruised cheek. He curled a hand around her silk-clad waist and spun her to the music.

He said what Mamoru really had said, while they danced the last song.

"I actually had a really good time tonight," he told her, sincerely. "Better than I thought I would."

Usagi gave him a 'yeah right' look, and he loved her so much for it.

"Honestly!" he said. "These things are always a lot more fun with you."

She smiled, and the darkness lifted a bit more.

It was summer, and stiflingly hot, the type of heat Endymion wasn't used to after years in Crystal Tokyo's temperate climate.

The girls and Mamoru were standing outside Rei's temple, and he had a suitcase by his feet.

"It's only temporary," he was telling Rei's grandfather, and the old man practically exploded with joy.

"Usagi destroyed his apartment," Rei said, accusatorily. The others nodded in agreement.

'It hadn't been Usako's fault!' Endymion thought. In fact, Rei had taken at least partial responsibility if he remembered correctly.

Rei's grandfather danced around, exclaiming how happy he was his granddaughter was dating such an upstanding man.

"Mamoru-sama and Rei used to date?" Diana the kitten asked the girls - curiously, innocently.

At the time, Mamoru had been exhausted, stressed, overwhelmed. He had a final due, his landlord was pissed, he'd used a bunch of his savings to pay off the damages. He was barely listening to Rei's grandfather, thinking only of getting inside in the shade. He hadn't done a thing about Usagi seething in the corner. He hadn't said anything to Rei's grandfather about not being Rei's intended husband - not wanting the man to withdraw his welcome.

Rei was embarrassed and flustered, Usagi was livid, and he was oblivious.

"Stand up for her!" Endymion shouted at Mamoru, infuriated with his past self - and not for the first time. "Tell everyone it wasn't Usako's fault! Tell Rei's family that you have a girlfriend! Be- be aware! Look at Usako! Look at how upset she is!"

But he couldn't change the past, or Usagi's memory.

As the vision before him faded, he heard a soft, humorless laugh from behind him.

Whirling around, he saw the dark queen appear from the shadows as if materializing out of the darkness itself. She sashayed up to him, a bitter expression on her lovely face.

"Well, my dear?" Serenity said, raising a sarcastic eyebrow beneath the black moon insignia on her head. "Do you have something to tell me?"

She tilted her head, long hair slipping along her shoulder like liquid silk. She stepped closer, ran one long finger up his chest. "Aren't you going to tell me this didn't happen? That the 'real' memory is what matters?"

Endymion swallowed against the burning in his throat. "This is what happened," he admitted. "But- it wasn't …" He grabbed her hand, flatted it against his chest, searching her cold eyes desperately. "It doesn't mean I don't love you!"

It was the wrong thing to say. Her eyes flashed and she yanked her hand free. "I can stand a lot of things, Endymion, but not lies!"

"It's not a lie!" He insisted right back at her. "I've died for you, I'd kill for you, you can't stand there and doubt the depth of my feelings when I've traveled inside your very mind to save you!"

Serenity put a hand in his cheek, skimming her thumb over his lower lip.

"King of pretty words and grand gestures," Serenity said, her voice almost fond. She caressed her knuckles down the side of his face, shaking her head. "And to think I almost believed you."

He realized his hands had moved to her waist, unconsciously pulling her closer. "Serenity, please listen to me, -"

"No, you listen," she said, putting her lips right up against his ear. "He knows you're here, and you are no match for him."

"Maybe not," Endymion said. Keeping his voice steady while her fingers slid down his neck was a herculean effort, but he managed. He turned his head slightly so they were face to face, eye to eye. "But you are."

She didn't pull back so much as she was pulled back, and she vanished in a whirl of black smoke and angry, confused eyes.

"She's right, Your Majesty," the voice of Wiseman was like rancid oil in Endymion's ear, "I know you're here. And I'm glad to have you watch me unravel a thousand years of devotion with just a few… tweaks.

You see, I picked your beginning. Your foundations. The rocky start of a confused girl and broken boy, and it only took magnification of what was already there for it to crumble.

It's so easy to make her believe you never loved her. Too easy." His laugh was like dry leaves, his snort like rotting things. "Some miracle romance.

So, how does it feel, King of Crystal Tokyo, to know your castle was built on sand?"

Chapter Text

Endymion was falling, through shifts of city lights and orange glow, and found himself on a rooftop, at night.

The air was cool, slight breeze; it ruffled Sailor Moon's skirt, her hair, as she stood there facing Tuxedo Mask. Her uniform was simple, her gaze unsure. This was early. This was new.

This was paramount.

He remembered this. The locket. The moonlight. Sailor Moon asking about the princess, and Tuxedo Mask being startled because - for a moment - he'd completely forgotten about that.

Shutting his eyes, Endymion concentrated on remembering. The smell of the breeze over the city - thick and warm and exhilarating. The confusion Tuxedo Mask felt as he stood in front of Sailor Moon. The longing. The fear. Endymion willed himself inside the memory.

And when he opened his eyes, he was in front of her, this superhero schoolgirl, this warrior princess, this soul who spilled love out over a world who didn't deserve it. Who was looking at him with shining, adoring eyes.

He was Tuxedo Mask, and Wiseman was lurking in the shadows and the only thing he knew to do was take Sailor Moon's hand and run.

They were going to fight this thing. Him and her together.

And they were going to win.

Tuxedo Mask could tell Sailor Moon was exhilarated, but also confused and a little worried, as he dragged her by the hand through the empty city streets. Her long legs kept up impressively with his stride, as his eyes scanned the darkening city around them. His hat had long since flown off, but he kept the mask on. Now was not the time for reveals.

Where could Wiseman not find them?

The answer was nowhere. They'd have to come to him.

Sailor Moon almost ran into his back as he skidded to a stop with that realization.

"Usa- Sailor Moon," he said, turning around to face her. He swallowed, one gloved hand coming up to gently, barely brush against her cheek. She instantly blushed, eyes becoming dreamy. "I have to tell you something."

"Is it about the locket?" Sailor Moon said, suddenly looking worried, wary. "Do you want it back?"

"No, no…" He cleared his throat. "It's yours. It's always been yours it's… always been you, Sailor Moon."

She took a little breath, almost a gasp, almost a sigh.

He licked his lips, continued. "I can't explain too much right now because it's not… you aren't… it's not for you to know now."

She looked confused.

"I… you asked me once why I protected you and I said it was a compulsion. A need I couldn't control, couldn't help," he said. "But it's more than that. I didn't know it at the time, I didn't understand, and I won't for a long time but…

"You are my everything," he breathed, cupping her face in his hands and searching her eyes intently through the mask.

Her hands came up over his and she gazed at him in lovestruck wonder, holding still like she was afraid if she breathed too loudly he'd pull away and disappear, like Tuxedo Mask had so, so many times. Too many times.

"Do you trust me?" he whispered, bending so their foreheads barely brushed.

His heart twisted in his chest when she nodded quickly and without hesitation. She had no reason to trust him, not yet. But she did. Completely.

Wiseman had yet to destroy that.

"Sailor Moon," he said, pulling back slightly and taking a deep breath. "We have a future that we need to protect and I-, I need your help to do that."

And, just like that first night, when she found herself in her best friend's jewellry store - dressed in an unfamiliar senshi uniform and facing down a monster, she rose to the challenge. Because of course she did.

"Okay," she said to him, mouth pulled down in a determined little frown. "Tell me what to do."

"For starters, we need to take off the gloves."

Tuxedo Mask pressed his bare hand to the ground, trying to feel where in Serenity's mind Wiseman was hiding. His other hand held firmly to Sailor Moon's, fingers laced through hers. He shut his eyes, following the sickening, oily thread of Wiseman's energy - and tightened his grip on Usagi's hand when he let the current of dark energy pull them along like a cold, dirty river.

And when they opened their eyes, Endymion's stomach dropped when he saw where it'd taken them.

It was D-Point. Beryl's cave, where Sailor Moon faced her first true evil. All alone, believing her friends to be dead. After he'd tried to kill her. After he died in her arms.

Abandoned. Lost. Unloved. Everything that his Usako had always feared, always hated. The deepest, darkest part of her deepest, darkest fears.

"Where is this place?" Sailor Moon whispered, her voice shaky. "I don't like this! I want to leave!" Tears streamed down her face.

"Sailor Moon!" he said, and she faced him. And then he pressed his lips to her forehead.

She melted. Eyes going from panicked to lovesick in less than a second.

Then Wiseman drifted into her field of vision, his cloak hiding a void of darkness, his rotten hands the only vaguely human thing about him, and her panic was back.

She clutched Endymion's arm tightly and whispered, "Who is that?" Endymion put his arm around her, tucked her close to his side.

"So," Wiseman said. "You've found me. And you've brought…" He laughed. That horrible, dead-thing sound. "This version of her? Weak and frightened and stupid? Oh, Endymion, you are more pathetic than I thought. Was she the only one naive enough to follow you here? This child with a crush?"

"Any 'version' of Serenity is one too powerful for you, Wiseman!" Endymion said, tightening hold on Sailor Moon protectively.

"I can't," she whimpered. "He's right, he's right I need… Sailor Mars! Sailor Mercury! They can do this… Luna… I don't…" Tears were flowing down her cheeks and she pressed her face into his chest, shivering with fear.

Tuxedo Mask knelt down and took both her hands in his, looked up at her with complete sincerity.

"You may be scared, my love, but you have never been weak." She hiccuped, her sobs abating to listen to him.

"He cannot hurt you," Tuxedo Mask assured her, "because he's not real. He doesn't belong here, because this place is yours. This is your mind. Your soul. And you can make him leave."

Sailor Moon glanced over his shoulder at Wiseman, and she shook in fear. "Will you stay with me?" she asked.

He looked right into her eyes. "Forever," he vowed.

She smiled at him - a trembling, tentative smile that made him ache with love for her.

"You can do this," he whispered, "I know you can."

She stood on shaky legs, facing Wiseman with her trembling chin lifted. Endymion stood behind her, hands out ready to pour whatever power, whatever confidence she needed into her attack.

One hand went to her forehead, the tiara sparking and humming with energy.

"Stop!" Wiseman growled, and tendrils of smoke swirled from his crystal ball. A cacophony of images rose up from it - memories both real and tainted, all heartbreaking, all terrible:

Tuxedo Mask tearing up a rose in front of a tearful Sailor Moon, Mamoru telling Princess Rubina not to judge Japan by his embarrassing girlfriend, walking through the gate on a flight to America without so much as looking back, Prince Endymion embracing Beryl, Mamoru running his hand through Saori's hair, King Endymion fleeing in Sailor Pluto's arms.

Sailor Moon slowly lowered her hand from her tiara.

"I don't like weak girls," Tuxedo Mask told Sailor Moon, walking off with a swish of his cape.

She squeezed her eyes shut, and shook her head violently. "I'm not weak. I'm not alone."

Her eyes opened. "And this ISN'T REAL!"

Then, without her senshi, without her crystal, in the darkest part of her memories - she threw her tiara at Wiseman and yelled at the top of her lungs.


Wiseman screamed, and the images before her burst and shattered as everything went black.

The explosion was deafening. Endymion fell backwards, breaking Sailor Moon's fall and cradling her to him as the cave blew apart around them, rocks and debris falling away until they were in stillness.


It was pitch dark, but there was the sound of water, the smell of fresh air on a soft summer breeze. There was no sign of Wiseman's dark energy.

"Sailor Moon?" Endymion whispered, panicked as he realized his arms were empty. He sat up, groping around in fear until he felt a warm hand clasp his.

"Sailor Moon," he breathed in relief, as a soft white glow slowly illuminated his surroundings.

"Not quite," Neo Queen Serenity answered, a sweet smile on her shimmering lips, heart shaped crown on her white-silver hair, and a golden moon insignia gleaming on her forehead.

Then the air in his lungs was sharp and heavy and real. He was sitting heavily on his knees in the bedroom in the palace. In shock at the sudden transition, he fell forward, catching himself with his hands. Blackness floated around his vision and he almost passed out.

"Endymion!" Warm hands pressed themselves to his cheek, his shoulder, and Serenity knelt to look into his face, concern coloring her eyes. He looked up at her, slowly coming to. His side no longer ached, he realized. He sat up straighter, vision clearing.

"Welcome back," she softly. Her skin was soft and pink, instead of sallow and cold, her eyes were warm and sparkling with tears clinging to her long lashes.

"That's my line," he said, just as softly, brushing his thumb over the golden crescent moon on her forehead.

The tears spilled from her eyes and then she threw herself in his arms, knocking him back again, pressing her lips to his, warm and coaxing and passionate and desperate, salty with happy tears. She wound her fingers through his hair, pulling him closer still, wrapping him in a tangle of hair and limbs and those lips.

And god, Endymion thought, this was heaven, this was paradise, if he'd died fighting Wiseman this was surely his reward, to drown in this ecstasy for the rest of eternity, to -

The forcefield he'd been pressed against suddenly disappeared, and Endymion landed with a hard 'thump' on the floor, his wife tumbling after him and elbowing him in the ribs as she struggled right herself. "Oof," he said, sitting up and rubbing his head. Tilting his head back, he shot a look at Sailor Pluto, standing over them. She raised an eyebrow.

"It seemed the forcefield was no longer needed, My King."

"Pluto!" Serenity scrambled up and threw herself at the senshi of time, engulfing her in a warm hug. Completely denying any form of decorum or social expectation. As usual. And Pluto froze, awkward and wide-eyed at the physical affection. As usual.

"Thank you," Serenity whispered to her, grasping both hands in hers. "Thank you."

The senshi of time's face broke into a soft, private smile. "Of course, My Queen."

By this time Endymion had also risen to his feet, meeting Pluto's eyes and giving her a small bow.

There was a lot to do. Defeating the real Wiseman. Bringing the city back from the brink of death. Waking the other senshi from statis. Welcoming their small lady home.

But for now, at least, Endymion thought, squeezing Serenity's hand, they were together.

Chapter Text

Hello lovelies!

There was a lot of positive feedback on here and tumblr for a citrus-rated chapter of this fic, so I have written one! Rather than have to change the rating of this fic, I'm going to post it as a chapter in Moonbeams and Lemon Dreams. This fic is complete as is, the lemon chapter is merely an interlude. ;) So please look for it there if you are interested!

Chapter Text

A kiss… desperately 

I suppose this takes place after the first chapter but before the second one. 


“My brother died because of you and the White Moon tyrants!” Saffir raged.

King Endymion didn’t move, kept his face impassive. 

“I don’t care what the Dark Queen OR Wiseman says, I will have my revenge!” A coil of smoke and crackling energy spun through his hands, emanating from a black crystal fragment.  

The pain in Endymion’s side intensified the closer the dark crystal got, but he didn’t let it show.  “Killing me will do nothing to help your cause,” he said.

“My cause?! My cause is nothing now that everyone I cared about is dead!” He aimed the crystal and threw with all his might.

“Saffir!” A new voice rang out, and to Endymion’s horror, Neo Queen Serenity - black moon insignia and black crystal earrings and white, white dress and all - darted in front of Endymion with her hands in front of her, blocking Saffir’s blast and sending it back at him. 

“You insolent fool!” Serenity screamed, eyes incandescent with rage. “Endymion must be kept alive! He is the only one who knows where the Silver Crystal is!”

Saffir stumbled, clutching his arm as the energy that had been deflected at him sizzled away and left him useless until he returned to the Black Moon Clan’s headquarters to be healed.  “You keep telling yourself that, ‘Queen’ of the Black Moon,” he spat out. “But you know as well as I you can find the crystal yourself, and he does nothing but get in the way!”

Serenity glared at him, still standing in front of Endymion in a battle stance as Saffir disappeared with a sneer.

“Thank you,” Endymion said, hoarsely.  

She turned and glowered at him. Her hands blistered with angry, red burns. Endymion reached for her hands and she yanked them away.

“Let me,” he whispered. “Please.”

Still glaring, still radiating  anger and malice and confusion, she offered him her hands grudgingly.  “I suppose I may as well, considering it can only weaken you,” she said.

He removed his gloves and brushed his fingers along her open palms, his touch a desperate, beseeching kiss. Her wounds healed, and although she turned and left him without a word, the few seconds she’d lingered before pulling back her hands gave Endymion the smallest amount of hope.