In keeping with my tradition, here is my Christmas gift to all my precious readers across the globe. May this story find you all safe and sound with your friends and family this winter solstice. Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and may the Light bless and protect you all, no matter your faith. – Paul S.
The moon hung in the midnight velvet sky, shining silver-white amongst a black sea of diamonds. Fresh fallen snow blanketed the neon lit city lights of Crystal Tokyo as they glowed serenely beneath sparkling Christmas lights. The city was strangely quiet, only a few people out and about. Every so often a pair of tire tracks could be seen in the snow that coated the streets and the car or truck that was making them as they trundled along. It was rare that such peace could be seen in such a concentrated population center busier than even New York City in the States. Some might call it creepy. Many however considered it a nice change from the normal hustle and bustle of their daily lives. And what better night than on Christmas Eve to observe such silence?
Soft Cruelty Side Stories
Spider-like cracks and reflective patterns coated the edges of the large bay windows that afforded a view of the royal gardens behind the palace, signs that Jack Frost had visited them already. Evergreen shrubs and trees were covered in white as the larger seasonal trees and the smaller flower bushes scattered the moonlight with the crystalline covering of ice that coated their bare branches. Outside, blue-white Christmas lights highlighted the large stonework fence that surrounded the gardens as well as the rest of the palace grounds. Inside the bedchambers of the Royal Family, aqua and silver colors were common throughout the room underneath the Christmas decorations. A Christmas tree covered in red, gold, and silver tinsel and twinkling with white lights stood off in a corner. Festive holly and garland circled the trim work of the room while a stuffed Snowden plushie sat on a large two-person vanity next to a fat, red rabbit that looked to be well-loved.
I was reclining on the large bed propped up against the headboard by a cushion of numerous pillows. A book of poetry clutched lightly in my hands rested on my lap as I watched on in keen interest and with a mirthful smile as a certain blonde-haired Neo-Queen rummaged through our walk-in closet. I could hear the rustling of dresses and other clothing, the clinking and clacking of hangers hitting together and being slid along their bars, and the frustrated sighs and groans of my wife. A minute later saw Serenity appear in the doorway holding up two gowns, one an elegant red evening gown that flared out at the waist and fell to the floor. The other a simple white spaghetti strap dress with sequins coating the chest.
"Which one?" The slightly frazzled Serenity asked.
I merely chuckled at the irony of it all. Somehow, Serenity and she always managed to wind up sharing part of the same wavelength even after a century together. I placed a bookmark in the hardbound poetry before closing it and placing it on my nightstand. Sliding off the bed and standing up, I walk around to lean against one of the bedposts at the foot of the bed. I was clad in a teal strapless dress that cut off at mid thigh. A pearl necklace and matching earrings adorned my neck and ears while black high heels added to my height. I figured I hadn't worn it in a long while and we were the queens of Crystal Tokyo so I could dress how I liked. It was the same outfit I had worn all those decades ago when we had first met.
"Celestia! You can't go wearing that! This is a formal party!" Serenity exclaimed.
"We're the queens of Crystal Tokyo. Besides," I replied with a dubious look at the white dress, "That looks awfully familiar and if I'm not mistaken, not entirely 'formal' either."
Serenity had the decency to blush. I walked over to her, my heels clicking lightly on the floor and silencing as I stopped in front of my wife who looked up at me. Silently I took the red dress from the blonde's hand and brushed past her into the closet, hanging it back up in its proper place. Turning around I moved back toward my wife and took hold of her now free hand. Shutting off the lights in the closet and gently pulled Serenity out into our bedroom, I gave her a sideways smile. I let go of the blonde and returned to our bed, sitting back down on it.
Serenity moved to the vanity, hanging the dress on a side hook, her question answered. She stripped down out of her clothes, putting on a clean white bra and underwear. She glanced over her shoulder, catching me watching and giving me a smile. I blushed before turning back to my book. The blonde took the dress off the hanger and pulled it over her head. It flowed down over her like silk as she adjusted the straps on her shoulders and the dress around her bust. She opened her jewelry box and looked through the neatly separated rings, necklaces, and earrings. She spied what she was looking for in a slightly dusty corner of the box. Pulling them out, she wiped them off with a small cleaning rag she kept on the vanity. It was the diamond earrings and diamond teardrop necklace. She hummed a little to herself as she put them on. Sitting down at her seat in front of the mirror she picked up her hairbrush and began brushing her hair until it shone in the lights of their private sanctuary. She braided it down her back, coiling part of it up into a bun on her head leaving the rest to hang freely over her shoulder. She put on a light blush and some mascara and eye-liner, and applied some strawberry lip gloss to complete her primping. Standing up she turned and looked at me who quite a while ago had given up on reading and instead chose to watch my beautiful wife, wondering how I got so lucky as to be blessed with her love.
"Do I look all right?" Serenity asked.
Smiling at the question, I stood and walked up to my soulmate, my hands resting on her hips and pulling her softly against me. Serenity's own hands came to rest on my shoulders.
"Yes, you look wonderful tonight." I whispered before leaning down and lightly kissing soft lips that responded immediately.
The Great Hall of Crystal Tokyo was done up in festive cheer, two huge Christmas trees, both easily twenty feet tall sat at each corner of the building as a sign announced the annual Crystal Christmas Party for the citizens of the city and anyone who might want to come. Tickets were separated into price ranges to allow all a fair chance at getting a place inside the great hall. The Chevrolet Highlander SUV pulled up along side the curb, Celestia putting it in park as a valet opened the doors for her and her wife. The tinted windows didn't allow them to see inside the vehicle so it came as great shock when their queens stepped from the SUV. Smiling at the valet, Celestia walked carefully around the front of the car and took Serenity's offered hand as the two of them walked up the red carpeted steps that had been kept clear of snow. They weren't afraid of much, seeing as how their union had ignited within them powers greater than that of the rest of the senshi combined, thus they did not feel vulnerable nor did they take no for an answer when they told their security detail they would go by themselves. Not to mention there was hardly a soul in Crystal Tokyo that didn't like the Royal Family.
Serenity and Celestia smiled at their people as they walked among them into the hall's entrance foyer taking time to stop and visit for a little bit with those they knew and those they didn't. Apparently no one thought that they were going to be here. Their choice of apparel also was accepted gracefully and without many questions, but countless comments on how beautiful they complimented each other. Just then, one of the hall managers came up to them and informed them that their announcement of arrival was going to be made to the main ballroom. Making their excuses to the people in the foyer, they followed the manager to the doors who tapped twice on them, paused, and tapped twice more. Sounds of a few trumpets came muffled through the thick oaken doors followed by the voice of the announcer.
"Presenting to you citizens of Crystal Tokyo, your Neo-Queens Serenity and Celestia Tsukino-Kaioh!"
The doors opened up before us and we stepped through to loud applause, whistles and cheering. We smiled and waved as we made our way inside, heading toward the front of the table section where we had learned that the Inner and Outer Senshi were gathered. Everyone turned to look at us, and I bore it silently and with grace. And then she asked me, leaning close to whisper in my ear for she knew my feelings about large crowds.
"Do you feel all right?"
I turn and look at her, feelings of love and contentment swelling up almost painfully within me as I whispered back, kissing her cheek.
"Yes, I feel wonderful tonight."
I felt wonderful as the night went on and I watched my wife, my love, my life, spend time with each and every guest. She was truly amazing and had a heart larger than the sky with room for everyone, but a special place for me. And as I stood listening to some news that Haruka and Makoto were discussing about their self-defense school, I turned to search out Serenity within the crowd. I found her almost instantly, and she looked at me as well. There in her eyes I saw a light shining within that I knew was her love for me. And I knew that it shone just as brightly as the love that was certainly shining from me as well because I saw that soft smile grace her lips. The children around her whom she was reading a classic Christmas story to looked up at her and followed her line of sight to me. They whispered quickly amongst themselves as they looked on at their queens and even though I noticed them in my vision, all I truly saw was Serenity.
And for all the words that humans could create. For all the songs they could write. For all the feelings and emotions they had and the ways to express them in art and music, they were all inadequate. Inadequate for describing exactly how I felt. And the wonder of it all is that she didn't realize just exactly how much I loved her. And I knew that it was most certainly the same for her love for me. I gently excused myself from my two friends who both shared knowing looks and gently pushed me in the direction of my wife. I made my way through the crowd of people all talking, laughing, and having a good time. The children nestled close in around my wife moved slightly to allow me to step around them and sit down next to Serenity. I picked up the little boy who had been sitting next to her and sat him on my lap, my arms wrapping around him in a hug.
"Merry Christmas." I smiled at them all.
"Merry Christmas Queen Celestia!" they chimed back.
Knowing exactly what was coming didn't stop me from leaning in and giving my wife a quick peck on the lips as the little girl sitting on her lap shifted slightly. Giggles from the girls and some sighs or 'ewws' could be heard from the boys as I drew back.
"Merry Christmas, Usagi-koi." I said, using her old name.
"Merry Christmas, Michiru-koi." She replied in kind.
This in turn brought about questions from the little ones who were all watching their rulers acting just like their own parents, like normal people. The round of questions prompted some laughter from my wife and I as we told them tales of us growing up, our first Christmas together, and our first Christmas as the Royal Family. Time slipped slowly away as the hour drew closer to midnight.
The party wound down as the hour grew late. My head ached, probably from too much of the punch that was served at the bar in the back of the hall. I saw Serenity helping parents get their tired, and some sleeping, children ready to go home so that Santa Claus could visit them. I looked on as the parents thanked her for her help, wishing her Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. I hoped soon that we would have our own daughter, Chibi-Usa, to read The Night Before Christmas to on Christmas eve. I knew though that something was up. I had asked Setsuna about it quite some time ago in normal terms, but what seemed like just last year to us senshi. She had merely smiled that mysterious smile and told me to have faith. I knew Chibi-usa still existed for she had visited us twice in the past; once for that summer vacation where I had proposed to Usa-chan, and the second time for our wedding.
As she sees the last child safely off with her parents, I make my way over to her. She smiles at me and I return it tiredly. I give her the keys to the SUV, telling her about my head. She kisses my cheek and wraps an arm around my waist, her other hand gripping my own. We walk out of the hall and through the foyer, wishing the few people left a Merry Christmas as we gather our parkas from the coat check and put them on. Her arms return to their places and we step outside into the cold night air. Our SUV waits at the curb and she helps me into the passenger seat. She climbs in and starts the car. Not a word was exchanged between us as we made our way back to the palace through snow-covered streets.
We reach our bedchambers and strip down out of our dresses, placing them in a hamper near the closet. I brush my hair as she undoes the coil of golden tresses on her head, leaving her hair braided but hanging loose down her back. She slips a pink silk chemise over her nude form as I put on my teal silk tank top and pajama bottoms. We climb into our bed under the covers, with her cuddling up to my side. Wrapping an arm around her I reach up behind me to press the switch on the headboard to turn out the lights, and as I do so, I whisper words of love into her ear as we slip slowly into sleep. And all I felt was my love's body against mine, our warmth a comforting protection.
"My darling, you were wonderful tonight." My lips caress each of her eyelids before finding her lips. "You were wonderful tonight."
The world slipped away into the dark and winter night, as the faint sounds of sleigh bells echoed through the air.
DISCLAIMER: I don't own Sailor Moon. If I did, well…I'm pretty sure you all know how I would make things work.
A/N – Quite a few of you asked for it, so here it is. Bonus points to those who guess which song inspired this chapter (it's not hard).