Again
by Eternal SailorM

Statement made to save one's own ass: I own nothing. Don't own the song used in this. Don't own the series portrayed within this fic. Don't own the bishies portrayed within this fic. (Damn.) All I own is the story concept, the original character Odujin, three mean muses and one sweet muse (more or less ownership/borrowship on the sweet one), and a glass of tea.

Note of the Scribe: I just wanted to thank Chibi Tenshi for her help (huggles) and Usa-chan for letting me more or less borrow Neko Omi. Also, big glomping thanks to Meri of the Temple O' Trunks (Where is it? It vanished!) because her music videos continuously inspire me! This one was inspired by her video to the same song, even though hers was for Fushigi Yuugi. ^_~ And to figure out who my main male character is, you'll have to read very closely.

Additional Note of the Scribe: I didn't use quite all the song lyrics; a lot of it was repeating the same lines over and over at the end, so I cut out the last two choruses.

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Song lyrics
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Princess Serenity sighed, staring out into the Royal Gardens of the Moon Kingdom, her brilliantly blue eyes not taking in the colour sights before her. Silver hair floated into her line of vision, and she batted it away without paying attention to her motions.

"Watashi no ooji-sama," she whispered, her voice so soft.

Behind her and completely unnoticed, a figure bathed in darkness watched the princess. Sure, she was looking at the Earth as she spoke, but the ooji-sama she was speaking to wasn't Endymion. That much was certain. The doll-like girl considered the man she was engaged to a friend or maybe a brother but nothing more. But who could she be talking about? What other prince does she know?

An orange-clad figure with long blonde hair bounced past him and glomped the princess, startling her from her reverie. He frowned when he saw the thoughtful look on her face be replaced with a silly grin; she was beautiful either way though. She was like a light personified; even here in this kingdom of light, she outshone all the others.

"Serenity-chan!" the Princess of Venus shrieked, finally relinquishing her hold on the other young woman. "What are you doing out here? There isn't anything to do."

"I was just... admiring the view." Mentally, he shrugged; he could agree there.

Venus glanced over the balcony then back at Serenity, a frown on her face. "There's nothing there but plants and the Earth." She nudged her friend sharply. "Or were you looking for a certain ooji-sama on Earth?"

Serenity smiled, and Venus turned back to the view. As soon as the blonde princess's back was turned, he was able to see Serenity-hime mouth out "not on Earth" to herself. So who is this mysterious ooji-sama?

Venus grabbed Serenity's arm and tugged her lightly. "Come on, Serenity-chan! Let's ditch your guard and go check out all the hot guys down by the spaceport."

To himself, he groaned, and for two reasons at that. One was Venus-hime's careless attitude that almost always resulted in a quick turnover rate in her guards; she kept "ditching" them, as she so quaintly put it, and they were dismissed. If they were to "ditch" him, if the princess were to go anywhere unprotected, especially the spaceports, it wouldn't be just his job at stake; it could very well be his life. The second reason was a bit harder to explain, even to himself, but as he figured it, it had something to do with a well-kept secret desire to be the ooji-sama she so often spoke of. She was everything he'd ever dreamed of; it would be nice if the reverse were true as well.

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I've been searching for you
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Brilliant blue eyes turned to look at him, and she winked slightly. Unlike the Princess of Venus, she didn't dismiss his presence; even that was better than nothing. "Actually, Venus-chan, I have to meet with my mother in about thirty minutes. Why don't you and Mars-chan go instead?"

"You sure, Serenity-chan?" She nodded, smiling. "Okay. See you at dinner tonight." She hugged her friend and dashed out of sight through the gardens.

"That was a close one, ne?" He blinked sharply; she was speaking to him. She grinned. "I didn't think she'd ever leave." When words refused to come out of his mouth, she gestured for him to come closer to her and turned back to face the large blue planet her family guarded, taking a seat on the marble bench that rested there.

Cautiously, he moved closer to her, closer but not too close, not as close as he'd like to be. "Ohimesama?" he very hesitantly questioned. Under no circumstances were guards allowed to speak personally with the royal families, only if they were in danger.

She glanced at him over her shoulder and gestured for him to sit beside her; instead he leaned against the balcony wall. If anyone saw him sitting beside her, it could be his neck for being so presumptive. "Have you ever been there?"

He shook his head slightly, trying to keep up with her line of thought. "There?"

"To Earth." She sighed sadly. "If Endymion and I marry, I'm going to have to live there. I've never left the Moon in this lifetime. I don't know anything but this." She hugged her arms lightly. "I think I'm scared to leave here."

"I went there when I was young. It's a bit like the Moon, but there are a lot of differences."

Her eyes lit up, and she looked up at him expectedly. "Tell me, please."

This is going to be... interesting; I can barely get two words out around her, and now she wants me to describe Earth to her? I must be a glutton for punishment. "There are thousands of colours there. The sky is blue, and you can barely see the Moon in the daytime and you can't see any of the other planets. But at night, the Moon glows down and you can see the palace if you look hard."

"So I'll be able to see my real home." That brought a slight smile to her face. "Come on. Tell me more. What colour are the trees?"

"The trunks are usually brown, but they can be all different colours too. The leaves are green all of spring and summer, but in the autumn, they turn red and yellow and fall off the trees."

"Kirei... What colour is the water? The oceans? The seas? The rivers?"

"Blue. That's what the blue you can see from here is."

She glanced up at the planet. "Then there's a lot of water up there. I bet it's beautiful."

"Not as beautiful as it is here." Not as beautiful as you are.

"Ohimesama?" a new voice interrupted. They both looked up to see the captain of the guard, Odujin, at the doorway. "Your mother would like to see you."

"Okay."

She rose, and he started to follow her. Odujin's hand on his chest stopped him at the doorway. "Don't get involved with the princess," the older man stated, his voice low enough that the Princess didn't hear. "Don't hurt either of yourselves like that."

How could he know that... I feel that way about ohimesama? He glanced closer at the redheaded man. He sounds like he's talking from experience too... But this is ohimesama. I can't leave her, not now, not ever.

As if she heard his thoughts of her, Serenity stopped and turned and looked at him. It took all his self-control not to shiver at the warm look visible in those cobalt blue depths. And he forced himself to pretend he didn't see her shiver as he began to follow her down the hall to the throne room once more.

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I heard a cry within my soul
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The current ruler of the Moon, Queen Serenity, was sitting on her marble throne when her daughter entered the room. "Musume-chan," she greeted the princess, standing regally and embracing her.

"What is it, Mother?"

The older woman glanced over her daughter's shoulder. "Odujin-kun, my daughter and I need to be alone for a few minutes, if you please." He nodded and gestured as he left the room; all the guards silently followed him, including the princess's. "Musume-chan," Queen Serenity began again, "I have to leave."

"What?"

"I have to go to Earth and secure your engagement to Prince Endymion." She did not miss the frown in her daughter's eyes, but she did not comment upon it either. "I'll only be gone a few weeks, but you need to be careful while I'm gone. There are people out there, enemies of our kingdom, who would not hesitate to hurt you to get to me, my darling daughter."

"Don't worry, Mother. I'll be fine." My ooji-sama would never let anyone hurt me.

A few hours later, she had found herself standing at the spaceports, waving her mother's ship off, and now she lay in the middle of her large bed, thinking in the silent darkness. It was going to be odd, with neither her mother nor Odujin around. It did mean free run of the palace through, a rare priviledge.

But not tonight. Tonight she was just tired, and all her thoughts were preoccupied on that cursed engagement she was being forced into. For no reason other than to try to make herself feel better, she punched her pillow before she pushed her face down into it. I should be given a choice in who I am going to marry; it's only fair. Instantly, she chided herself for that thought. Mother was forced to marry Father in much the same way as I am being forced to marry Endymion. But still, it's not fair.

Lifting her head from the pillow, she saw a faint shadow moving close to her bed, and she let out a shrill scream which was quickly cut off by unconsciousness.

Outside the princess's rooms and in an adjacent servant's hall, he jumped alert at the sound of her scream, out of bed and out the door before it even finished. So short... This can't be good.

He couldn't waste time for niceties and instead burst into her room. The bed was empty and the window was open. Quickly looking out it, he saw a retreating figure all in black carrying a very white burden over his shoulder, running at full speed. Without even a thought for his own safety, he jumped out of the window, landing roughly with his feet beneath him and absorbing much of the shock of the long fall. All the same, he winced as he heard something snap loudly when he landed.

The dark figure turned and threw something at him. He dodged the dagger, ignored the sharp and screaming pain in his leg, and took off running after them, even as the kidnapper began fleeing again. But he'd always been fast, and even with his newest injury, he managed to catch up, tackling the man. He twisted quickly and more than a bit painfully and managed to cushion the princess before she hit the ground with the same impact as her would-be kidnapper, her body pressed tightly up against his. He could hear the pounding steps of the other guards approaching, surrounding them; it would be safe to make sure ohimesama was all right.

As he glanced down at her, she stirred awake. Unfocused blue eyes met blue, and for a split second, he felt himself holding his breath as he stared at her beauty. Suddenly she blinked sharply, and her eyes focussed in on him. Slowly tears began to slide down her cheeks, and it took all his willpower not to wipe them away. "Daijoubu, ohimesama," he offered clumsily, as always cursing himself for his lack of words.

Before he knew, her arms were clutched around his body and she was sobbing against his chest. "I knew you'd come save me," she whispered against his dark green shirt. "I knew you would. I was so scared."

A fierce protectiveness welled up within him, and he wanted to pound her attacker's face in with his bare fists. Instead, he raised them both up to their knees and held her tightly. "I won't let him - anyone - hurt you again, ohimesama. Not while I'm alive."

Next to him, he saw one of the queen's guards grab up the intruder and rip the mask off his face. A collective murmur of shock ran through the group. They would have never suspected one of their own to try to take the princess. The new prisoner rolled his eyes up to the sky and whispered, "Beryl-sama..."

Before their eyes, he began to disintegrate, melting until nothing remained but a pile of ooze. He kept the princess's head pressed against his chest, preventing her from seeing the gruesome sight. So Beryl is the name of the person who wants ohimesama.

"I'm taking her back to her room," he stated, gently lifting the still crying princess in his arms, still barely managing not to wince in pain.

"Stay with her the rest of the night," his superior officer ordered. "We don't know if this Beryl person has more spies within the palace or not. Someone should stay with oojo-sama at all times."

Her fist clenched in his shirt, and she whispered so quietly he was barely able to hear her. "I don't trust any of them. Please don't leave me. You're the only one I can trust."

Within his chest, something in the vicinity of his heart clenched tightly at her words, and he knew his voice sounded far from normal when he spoke to his fellow guards. "I'll stay with her." His superior nodded, and the group parted to let them through.

About halfway into her rooms, though, he could feel his leg beginning to give out, a pronounced limp suddenly showing in his gait. He stumbled and nearly dropped his precious burden. She wiggled out of his arms and got to her own feet. "You're hurt," she accused.

"It's nothing."

The look she gave plainly stated her thoughts of the honesty of that statement. "If it was nothing, there wouldn't be such pain in your eyes, would there?" She had him there; he shrugged, unable to truthfully deny her statement. She gestured to her bed. "Sit down. I need to take a look at it."

"It's not that -" She silenced him with a look this time, and he sat.

She knelt before him (This is so not right, he thought to himself) and gently examined his ankle. "It's broken," she pronounced a moment later. "I can take care of it for you, though."

"You don't have to, ohimesama."

"I know," she shortly answered, a small smile on her face however. She held one hand just above his ankle, and a soft warm glow began to emanate from it. A few moments later, she moved back, the light ceasing, and she looked up at him. "All better."

"Doomo arigatoo gozaimasu, ohimesama."

She smiled lightly, glancing down at her hands in her lap. "Ne, why did you jump out the window like that?"

"To save you."

"But why?"

Is she always this curious? Deciding to be honest, he answered, "Because I want to keep you safe from anything that could ever hurt you."

"Because I'm the Moon Princess." Her voice was very soft and very sad.

Please, Megami-sama, don't let anyone come in! He leaned forward just a bit and lifted her chin, so that their eyes met. "No. Because you're Serenity, and Serenity is very precious to me."

"Really?" A nameless and oddly out-of-place hope echoed in her voice.

"Really." Against his sense of duty and fear for life, he let his lips brush against hers. Her eyes fluttered shut, and she found herself returning the kiss. Reluctantly, they broke apart a moment later, and two sets of passion-darkened blue eyes met, a new sense of wonderment in both.

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I never had a yearning quite like this before
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Serenity woke up and stretched, the morning sunlight shining off her hair, reflecting it brilliantly. Suddenly she bolted up right. "Are you still here?" she whispered into the quiet room.

'Hai. I'm right over here, ohimesama," he replied, stepping back into view around the many sheer bed curtains.

She opened her mouth to speak again before a knock at the door cut her off. "Oojo-sama," called the guard outside her door, "there's a transmission coming in for you. It's your mother."

Her eyes shot wide in alarm, and she jumped out of bed, quickly wrapping a robe around her over her nightgown, and ran downstairs. He trailed behind her, never letting her leave his sight.

The moment she appeared before the video monitor, her mother's face appeared. The Queen of the Moon looked tired but thoroughly pleased. "Musume-chan, how are you?"

"I'm fine, Mother. And you?"

"Good, good. The plans are secured; you'll be married to Prince Endymion in a month's time."

The smile slid off the princess's face, and he felt that same odd tightening in his chest. She'll be married, and I'll have lost her, not that I ever truly... She glanced over her shoulder, looking at him with tearful eyes, and it took every ounce of willpower he possessed to keep from wrapping his arms around her, engagement and her mother be damned. Just beyond her, he could see Queen Serenity eyeing them both measuringly. She knows... but she doesn't seem angry at all. Like she knew this was going to happen.

The Queen smiled suddenly. "So, musume-chan, you'd better be enjoying your last few days as a single women." Ohimesama smiled back very weakly. "I'll be back tonight, darling. Take care until then." The monitor went black.

The room was silent for several long, long moments, the only sounds being soft hitching noises from the princess. Then without warning, she turned and fled back up the stairs, past them all, her face buried in her hands. Wordlessly, he went after her, but when he got to her bedroom, the door was locked. He knocked, and the only response he received was, "Leave me alone!"

Silently he went back to his old room, the room he had not slept in two perfect weeks, instead having been sleeping next to the Princess he'd served for these last three years. Rank (but to be honest, more her perfect innocence) had prevented him from touching her, but even just being beside her was a gods-send. He collapsed onto his bed and released a heavy-hearted sigh.

Minutes or maybe hours later, a soft scraping noise awakened him from the light doze he'd unknowingly drifted off into. He opened his eyes just as the door opened to reveal the princess wearing nothing but a thin, translucent robe.

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Now that you are walking right through my door
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Princess Serenity stood alone before her mother's throne with a heavy heart. This was going to be the scolding to end all scoldings. When the familiar fingers of her mother's hand gently grasped her chin and lifted her head up, her eyes widened in shock. "My poor baby," the White Moon Queen whispered. She pulled her daughter down so that she sat in her lap on the dais steps. "I was so hoping you wouldn't end up repeating my follies, but it seems I hoped in vain."

"Mother?"

"Hush now, musume-chan. I want to tell you the sad fate of royalty." She took a deep breath and spoke. "To be in love with someone you can never be married to and be with forever."

"You were in love with someone else too, Mama?" She didn't even notice her little slip, but her mother did and hugged her for it.

"I still am. You see, Serenity, I married your father to bring peace between the Sun Kingdom and the Moon Kingdom. He didn't love me and I didn't love him, but I needed an heir and so you were born. Once you were here, your father went back to his kingdom and died in the rebellion there seven years later. Since then, I've been free to be with the man I love, but never in public. No one can ever know."

"Who is it that you love, Mama?"

"I think you know, Serenity."

"Odujin." Wordlessly, her mother nodded. "But, if all royalty is like this, then why do we keep having arranged marriages?"

"To preserve peace for all those people who aren't royalty. Earth is in a state of war right now, musume-chan, and it's because some of the people hate us and some don't. When you and Endymion are married, it will stop this rebellion and all the needless slaughter of innocents. It is your duty, just as it was mine and my mother's and so on back."

Her legs shaking beneath her, the princess stood. "Mother, all I ask is please don't send him away. Please let him stay with me, and come with me to Earth."

"As you wish. Welcome to the world of the tragic love affair, my darling little girl."

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All of my life
Where have you been
~~~~~~~~

Pale hair blew into her sad eyes as she was formally introduced to the man she was to marry. Prince Endymion of the Earth did not seem very happy about their upcoming marriage either. But for all pretenses and purposes, they had to appear happily in love.

She couldn't stop herself from glancing over at him, an even sadder look in her eyes. I love you, watashi no ooji-sama. You are the only prince I want.

Out of the corner of her eye, she saw her future husband staring at a woman with short, wheat-coloured hair in a resplendent black gown. She's the one he loves. How did the four of us get stuck in this silly and painful situation?

Over the next few days, hostilities between the Earth and the Moon increased, and everyone distrusted everyone from the opposite group. When Endymion was nearly killed by her guards, she spent the night in her lover's arms, crying in fear for her kingdom.

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I wonder if I'll ever see you again
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The next night was the ball and the last night of her engagement; she would be married on the morn. The dark circles beneath her eyes were cleverly hidden with make-up borrowed from the Princess of Venus, and she wore her formal engagement dress. But the pearl bracelet she wore was a gift from her lover. As she danced with her fianc´┐Ż and got caught up on all the news from Earth, she felt his eyes on her; she did her best to smile at him without it being too obvious.

Luna and Artemis ran into the ballroom and the music stopped. "They're attacking! Every able-bodied man to arms!"

Her heart went into her throat, and she whirled around in search of him. She saw the princesses of the four Inner planets transforming, and just behind Mercury, she spotted him. She dashed across the room and threw herself at him. "Don't leave me," she pleaded in a whisper.

"I promised to protect you, ohimesama," he answered. "It's my mission, my duty. I don't want to see anyone hurting you." His lips brushed against hers quickly in a chaste, closed-mouth kiss. "Stay close to Endymion. I'll find you that way when this is over."

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And if that day comes
I know we could win
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The towering vampire-like woman terrified her. So this was Beryl. She was more terrifying that Serenity had anticipated.

Everyone was dying. Below Beryl, all she could see were the bodies of her friends, the people she loved and cared about, killed for Beryl's and the monster Metallia's pleasure.

A brilliant pain ripped through her chest and she collapsed, barely holding back a scream. Watashi no ooji-sama... She even took him away from me too.

And when Endymion was the last one she saw left alive and Beryl was taking him, she knew the only thing she could do was try to save him. Even if it cost her her life.

Only a few minutes later, Queen Serenity made a wish on the Ginzuishou for her daughter and the people of their kingdom to be reincarnated in the future of Earth. A small grey cat looked up at her dying queen and could only ask one question. "What about -?"

The Queen smiled sadly. "I don't want my daughter to be alone. He'll find her sooner or later."

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I wonder if I'll ever see you again
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Tsukino Usagi, age 18, leaned against the wooden beams of the Tokyo pier staring at the moon high, high above her. It seemed to be glowing as it never had before. But if she remembered correctly, tonight was the 1,000 year anniversary of the Moon Kingdom's defeat. And here she sat alone on the pier trying to commemoration a long-forgotten kingdom.

Footsteps echoed down the wooden dock, lighter than a full-grown man's but heavier than a woman's or a child's. Well, maybe I won't be alone after all. The steps stopped behind her, but she didn't turn to look behind her yet.

"The moon's beautiful tonight, isn't it?" she whispered.

"It always has been," a strangely familiar yet not voice answered. She turned around - and there he was, the man she'd been dreaming of ever since her memories of the Moon Kingdom had begun to return, ever since Mamoru had found his own lost love from that time. "I'm so glad I finally found you again, ohimesama."

Wordlessly, she threw herself at him, knocking them both to the wooden deck and covering his face with kisses that he returned just as desperately. "I'm so glad you found me, itooshi," she breathed back.

He rolled her over and went to work on the buttons of her shirt; she gently tugged at the dark green tee-shirt he wore.

Around them, as they made love, moonbeams sparkled and danced to celebrate true love.

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A sacred gift of heaven
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She clung to him as if her whole life depended on whether or not she let him go - and in a manner of speaking, it did. Strong but gentle hands ran through her unbound hair in an attempt to soothe her that wasn't going very well. "It'll be all right, darling," he whispered into the blonde mass.

"How can it be? We've only had four years together. I'm getting married tomorrow." This time, it had been hers and Endymion's choice, for the sake of the entire world (again) and for a pink-haired girl named ChibiUsa. Again, it was to be a marriage of convenience; she didn't... "I don't want to make you have to stand by and see me with him."

"Koishii." At the tone of his voice, she looked up to meet his eyes. "I wasn't going to do this because of tomorrow, demo..." He dug into his jeans pocket. "Now I think because of tomorrow, I should do this." Apparently finding what he'd been looking for, he produced a small piece of cloth.

"What is it, itooshi?" she asked, curiosity winning in over sadness.

"The old woman I bought them from said that they were from ancient China, that they belonged to a miko and her warrior lover. When I heard the legend, I knew we had to have them." He slowly unwrapped the cloth revealing two rings with identical red gems on them. "So, ohimesama, will you be mine forever?" Her eyes began to shine with barely checked tears of joy. "Will you be my lover, beyond all other responsibilities, Usa-chan? From now until the end of time?" He slipped the smaller ring onto her finger.

"With all my heart, yes. From this lifetime to the next." She placed its twin on his hand and gently brought her lips to his. After a moment, she pulled back, though, a troubled frown on her face. "But I still -"

"Have to marry Mamoru. I know. And I'll be beside you regardless if you're still single living here with me or married to him." Soft lips sealed over hers, and he pulled her beneath him on their bed. He broke this kiss only long enough to whisper, "Ai shiteru, koishii," before he began to slowly make love to her again.

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For better worse wherever
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Neo Queen Serenity stared at the monitor before her in dismay. The Black Moon Family just never gave up. It was playing out exactly as it had when they visited this place from the past, but it would be quite some time yet before their past counterparts would arrive.

A warm and strong hand gently touched her bare shoulder. She didn't even jump; there was only one man who ever touched her that way. "I've missed you, itooshi," she whispered to the general of her armies and the head of her personal bodyguards and her lover, just as Odujin had been to her mother so long ago. And like Queen Serenity and Odujin, this was the only time they could show any affection for each other: when they were certain that they were absolutely and completely alone.

"I got held up," he explained shortly.

In his reflection on the screen, she could see a growing dark spot on the dark green his uniform shirt. "You're hurt!" she cried, whipping around quickly enough to smack the console with one of her long streamers of hair.

"It's nothing."

"If it was nothing, there wouldn't be such pain in your eyes, would there?" She was repeating herself from so long ago, and based on the small smirk on her face, she knew it too. She stood and gestured to the seat she had just vacated. "Sit down. I need to take a look at it."

Obediently he sat and began unbuttoning the uniform without her asking him to do it, watching her eyes as she knelt between his knees, much closer than she had been when they did this in the Silver Millennium, and began to examine the wound. As her eyes narrowed and her beautiful face steeled over, he forced himself to ask, "How bad is it?"

"You've done worse to yourself," she cautiously remarked. The familiar glow began to emanate from her hands, and he held back a wince as he felt his flesh reknitting itself.

"Koishii?"

"Hai?" She looked up into his eyes and smiled.

"Ai shiteru."

"Ai shiteru, itooshi." She pulled her hand away from his side. "All better. It'll be tender for a while, but -"

Her words were cut off as he pulled her against him, their lips crushing together. That way she missed the Monument of the Tokyo Tower collapsing.

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And I would never let somebody break you down
~~~~~~~~

This was the part of Crystal Tokyo she hadn't been expecting, the part where it was so close to the Moon Kingdom back in the Silver Millennium. She sighed. Her husband had died defending his lover's territory. But at least she wasn't alone. At least her daughter was about to marry the man she really wanted to; she didn't want to explain to ChibiUsa the sad fate of royalty as it was explained to her. Thank the Goddess Helios was of close enough to royal blood for the marriage to be appropriate.

It felt... strange to know her daughter was about to turn eighteen. Eighteen was always such a strange year in her own life: as Princess Serenity, she'd died; as Tsukino Usagi, she'd met the man of her dreams, again. She couldn't shake the feeling something bad was going to happen today. She knew it in her soul, and she wasn't the only one; there was a reason the entire army was assembled and on stand-by.

The ball was just beginning. Small Lady would never forgive her if she was late, and she was running behind as it was. Some things never change, she thought to herself, barely holding a grin off her regal face; I'm always running late.

She reached the bottom of the outside steps, glancing around for her daughter, Helios, her lover, anyone. The palace and the grounds surrounding it were silent. This is too much like that other time... when I was attacked by the Dark Moon.

"Serenity!" She turned towards his voice just as he collided with her, knocking her to the ground a few feet away, just as the ground before where she had just been exploded.

"What's happening, itooshi?"

"The Federation is attacking," he whispered in her ear.

"How bad is it?"

"Even with the entire army here, they have us outnumbered ten-to-one."

Cobalt blue eyes stared into his slightly darker blue ones. "We're not going to make it this time, are we?"

He grasped her hand, the matching rings glittering. "I'm going to make sure you do. I've already sent as many soldiers as we could spare to get the princess out of the city." He stood, helping her back to her feet. "Come on."

"You know I can't leave, itooshi. Without me, Crystal Tokyo would crumble."

"Then stay with me."

The battle passed in a flash. So outnumbered, there was no way the soldiers of the Crystal Utopia could have won, especially not after their general fell protecting the last surviving ruler.

Neo Queen Serenity surveyed the landscape, bleak and broken as it was. She, Saturn, Pluto, Jupiter, and a few soldiers were all that remained of their kingdom in the capital; thank the Goddess her daughter had escaped. The Federation was creeping ever closer; she didn't have much time left.

She glanced down at the jewel in her hands. "Holy Ginzuishou, all I ask is for one more lifetime for all of us, a lifetime where we are free of the responsibililities of the last ones."

The crystal flashed brilliantly, fulfilling her wish, and she felt it draining all her life away to do so. Is this how you felt when you died, Mother? she thought to herself as she collapsed to the ground, her body slowly dissolving into sparkles. This time, itooshi, we will be together as we always wanted.

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Or take your crown, never
~~~~~~~~

Tsukino Usagi stood on a pier staring out at the moon. She didn't know what she was waiting for, but it was coming. Maybe not yet, but it was coming. "Usagi-chan!" a cheerful voice called. She turned and smiled at Minako, Rei, and the other Senshi. The other blonde wrapped an arm around her shoulders. "What are you doing out here all alone? It's your seventeenth birthday! We should be out celebrating!"

She smiled and agreed, but neither were honest. What is it that I'm waiting for? Who is it?

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All of my life
Where have you been
~~~~~~~~

Princess Serenity smiled at the guard as she walked past him. He'd just transferred in for palace duty recently, and he looked just a bit nervous, like he was trying to hide it. She stopped and slowly moved back over in front of him.

"Konnichi wa," she greeted.

From somewhere at the other end of the hall, Odujin frowned at their conversation. He'd seen the way the young soldier looked at the princess. A small hand gently touched his shoulder. He glanced down at the queen. "What's fated to be will be."

"She's like a daughter to me. I don't want to see her get hurt."

"I don't think he'd be here if he would hurt her," she smiled, "do you?"

They both looked back at the scene before them, just as the fifteen-year-old princess walked away and the young soldier stared after her.

~~~~~~~~
I wonder if I'll ever see you again
~~~~~~~~

Bullets flew all around them. It didn't matter if the Federation soldiers were good shots; the sheer number of bullets was lethal. Her lover pushed her away from him just as several bullets hit him all at once.

"No!" she screamed, sinking to her knees before him. Taking a deep breath to calm herself, she lifted his head into her lap; this was beyond her meagre healing abilities.

"Serenity..."

"We're supposed to be together until the end of time, itooshi," she whispered, brushing his dark hair out of his eyes.

He grasped her hand as tightly as his failing strength would allow. The matching rings on their hands glittered again in the light. "From this lifetime to the next, koishii."

Those were his last words.

~~~~~~~~
And if that day comes
I know we could win
~~~~~~~~

The three remaining soldiers of Crystal Tokyo and the last three Sailor Senshi had barricaded her in her the prayer room. It had been her request, and it was the most easily defended place. From there, the Inner Senshi had kept the barrier around Crystal Tokyo in the war against the Dark Moon. And it was in there that she made her final wish on the Ginzuishou.

This next time we'll be together until the end of time, itooshi.

Those were her last thought before she vanished.

~~~~~~~~
I wonder if I'll ever see you again
~~~~~~~~

He stood on a pier in Tokyo, staring up at the moon. She was here somewhere, in this city or near it, somewhere close to him. He could feel it deep within him. Didn't she know he was here too? Wasn't she looking for him? He'd seen Mamoru with that same girl from the Silver Millennium. That meant it was all playing out again, right? And if it was all playing out again, she and he could be togther again, right?

~~~~~~~~
I've searched through time, I've always known
~~~~~~~~

He couldn't help smiling at ohimesama as she struggled with the final arts of diplomacy and negotiation. He could look at her and tell that all she wanted to was make both parties happy, but it wasn't going easily; she seemed ready to throw her hands up in the air and scream. Finally she hit up on a strategy.

"Mars-chan, if Jupiter-chan makes you a dessert, can she keep the book?"

The raven-haired princess thought it over briefly then nodded. The silvery-haired princess looked at Jupiter next, who also nodded her agreement. "It's getting off easy compared to what she wanted to do to me. Arigatoo, Serenity-chan!" The two princesses ran off in the direction of the kitchen, and ohimesama collapsed on one of the sofas.

"How did I do?" she finally asked, looking across the huge room at him with a smile in her eyes.

"Good." Such an effort! Why can't I manage to get words out around her?

"Arigatoo."

~~~~~~~~
That you were there, upon your throne
~~~~~~~~

He held the queen as she cried. Endymion had died defending his lover's kingdom against the Federation, and she'd lost someone close to her in the process. She'd never loved her husband, but he'd been one of her best friends.

At least Endymion had done what he set out to do. The wheat-haired princess's kingdom was safe from the Federation for now.

"Serenity...," he whispered into her golden hair.

She wiped her eyes and tentatively smiled at him. "Gomen ne," she breathed.

"For what?"

She shook her head slightly. "For never telling you how much you mean to me, itooshi. I don't want to ever lose you."

"You won't." He grinned at her faintly. "We'll be together until the end of time, remember?"

"From this lifetime to the next."

~~~~~~~~
A lonely queen, without her king
~~~~~~~~

He bolted awake, covered in sweat and a bit surprised to see the ceiling of his apartment above his head. Why did he have the oddest feeling that he should be outside in the city looking for something, someone? He shook the sensation off; he didn't have time for it, now or any other time. But the images of a beautiful woman with golden hair and a young woman with silver hair wouldn't leave his mind quite so easily.

~~~~~~~~
I've longed for you, my love forever
~~~~~~~~

Odayaka Usagi glanced at the huge building before her. He was here; she knew from deep inside her. She frowned, taking a huge bite out of her sandwich. Beside her, a woman her own age laughed. "Usagi-chan, you're going to choke if you keep doing that."

"Are you sure he'll come?"

"For the thousandth time, he said he would show up if his boss would let him go early for the day. I even promised I wouldn't shriek at him or glomp him."

"You'd better not!" Usagi screamed.

The wheat-haired girl and Mamoru laughed before he kissed her and softly stated, "You'd better not, you know that. You're mine now, Princess."

~~~~~~~~
All of my life
Where have you been
~~~~~~~~

Usagi smiled at the image of a little girl before her before she toddled off to her mother. At the sight of the child's mother, she gasped. Mamoru followed her gaze and froze as well. "Hotaru," they simultaneously whispered. One of the three missing Senshi, here in Tokyo... Surely all this couldn't be just a coincidence.

~~~~~~~~
I wonder if I'll ever see you again
~~~~~~~~

She rose to her feet, taking one step at a time closer to the dark-haired woman. When she finally was close enough, she asked, "Hotaru?"

The other woman whirled, placing herself between Usagi and her child. Purple eyes stared at her for a moment before recognition finally flashed through them. "Usagi-san?"

~~~~~~~~
And if that day comes
I know we could win
~~~~~~~~

"I thought that we'd - I'd - never see you again, Hotaru. You vanished."

"Like everyone else, I was reborn. You made that wish, didn't you?" Usagi nodded. "A time where we would be free to be with the ones we love." She glanced behind her just a young man slipped his arm around her waist. "Anata?"

He grinned down at her. "Hai?"

"I want to you meet one of my oldest friends: Usagi."

~~~~~~~~
I wonder if I'll ever see you again
~~~~~~~~

"You're here with the Princess and Mamoru?" he asked, glancing past her. She nodded. "You wouldn't happen to be the infamous blind date, would you?"

"Something like that." I doubt he'd remember the Crystal Utopia. "So he mentioned me?"

"Something like that. Best of luck tonight, ojoosan." He looked over his shoulder then back at her, grinning largely. "Well, here he comes. See you guys later!" With that, he and Hotaru and their little girl walked away, and she caught her first glimpse of him since the destruction of the Crystal Utopia over two hundred years ago.

~~~~~~~~
I wonder if I'll ever see you again
~~~~~~~~

He nearly growled aloud as he saw the man who was something like his best friend, his wife Hotaru, and their kid approaching him; that guy always knew how to get on his nerves. His hand clamped down on his shoulder, and his friend's voice whispered in his ear, "Your blind date is a real hot one. If I was you, I'd snatched her up before someone else beat me to it." Before moving on, the other man pointed over his shoulder at -

Her. The girl from the dreams. Standing there in broad daylight, sunlight glinting off her silvery-blonde hair. Both hands were clasped before her mouth in shock. On the ring finger of her left hand, a red light glinted off a familiar stone.

~~~~~~~~
I wonder if I'll ever see you again
~~~~~~~~

"Koishii?" he barely choked out.

Behind him, he barely noted his friend stopping, staring at him in amazement; no one had ever earned a term of endearment from him before.

~~~~~~~~
I wonder if I'll ever see you again
~~~~~~~~

And there he stood, as always wearing that familiar green top, this time with a black and green jacket over it.

Faintly she heard the Princess urging her on, Mamoru whispering at her to go for it.

"Itooshi?" she whispered, just loud enough for him to hear.

~~~~~~~~
I wonder if I'll ever see you again
~~~~~~~~

So it was her... As impossible as it seemed, it was her. Ohimesama...

~~~~~~~~
I wonder if I'll ever see you again
~~~~~~~~

She couldn't keep the smile off her face. It was him! Watashi no ooji-sama...

~~~~~~~~
I wonder if I'll ever see you again
~~~~~~~~

Neither really knew who started moving first, but suddenly they were face to face. Then even closer.

~~~~~~~~
I wonder if I'll ever see you again
~~~~~~~~

Until the end of time...

From this lifetime until the next...

I'll always see you again.

::Owari::


1 May 2001

This fic was produced while listening to the following songlist on continuous play:
"Again" by Lenny Kravitz (obviously)
"What It's Like" by Everlast
"Insensitive" by Jann Arden
"Velvet Underworld" by Weiss Kreuz
"Change the World" by V6
"Counting Blue Cars" by Dishwalla
"When Worlds Collide" by Powerman 5000
^__~ Arigatoo, minna-sama!!!

Love it? Like it? Hate it? Despise it? C&C are more than welcome; flames will be used in a May's Eve bonfire! *holds up bag of marshmallows*

Reviews mean updates, so review please. Leave it in your review if you figured out who my main male character was! ^_~