Moments like these, he realizes, come around only once in a very long while. But they do come, and when they do, he is only aware of their arrival once they have tiptoed back to where they hail from.
He sits under the willow, smiling up from his copy of Hamlet at the two swallows nesting above his head. They busy themselves with collecting twigs and old feathers and yarn from around the tree. Twittering and whistling, they fill the air with soft, sweet music.
Surprisingly he catches a glimpse of a curly lock of rose hair in the mother's beak.
Of course, he doesn't notice Usagi sneaking around the grounds of the palace, planting little treasures for the birds to find until she lands unceremoniously beside him, her trousers and tunic and hands covered in dirt from her expedition in the garden.
"Helios-kun, isn't it interesting how songbirds just seem to lead the most perfect lives without really trying?"
She strums the guitar nonchalantly, listening to Hotaru's violin weave in and out of her casual chords. She is in a wholly different world than Helios' and Hotaru's, and therefore the white-haired young man isn't surprised when she stands up and dances around the garden, giggling as her fingers pick at the strings clumsily.
The pink curls, cut short to her shoulders, bounce around her head in a mirror image of her spirited glee. And she is a child once more, frolicking in some fantasy world only she can see.
Hotaru's playing ceases as she watches her princess, and Helios detects a hint of jealousy in her violet eyes.
Her voice, however, resounds with gentle amusement. "There she goes, off on another journey into the enlightened interior of her mind."
He prays all day and all night, but on occasion he is allowed the freedom to do as he chooses.
Most of the time he invests his time in a book from the Elysian library or rides Pegasus through the forest, but on this particular day, he decides to watch a movie Usagi sent to him.
It's about a princess visiting Rome who escapes her princess activities after being drugged by her physician and falls into the arms of an American journalist. Of course, romance, hilarity and spontaneity ensue, as they are wont to do in these sorts of movies.
But it's a good film, and he enjoys its lighthearted frivolity.
She calls the following morning (except it's night in Crystal Tokyo and so she's probably been busy stealing away from the palace and into the city night life) and asks him about his opinion on the film.
"It was great, Usa-chan," he replies with a smile as she beams in the video connected to the phone.
"Well, of course it was," she laughed. "It's Audrey Hepburn. It's gonna be good."
The note is written on lavender-scented parchment and he raises a brow at its arrival (via Hawkseye because Eos and Aurora are "helping Tigerseye in the garden.")
I know we abandoned letters about two hundred years ago, but I wanted you to have this written on record: Sayuri and Arisu actually got along today. No, scratch that. They smiled at each other, and Arisu even laughed at one of Sayuri's stories about how she got involved with this drummer from some band from Kyoto.
Do you remember the last time you visited? Sayuri stayed out all night long, and so Arisu pitched a fortress in front of her window so that the next morning when Sayuri tried to get back in, she'd have to deal with another stern talking to from Arisu. Except, that instead of going out that night, Sayuri was in my room with Hotaru and you, and so when we went to the garden gates to bid you farewell, Arisu showed up panting and in her nighties. Well, the moment you left, Arisu began screaming about how irresponsible Sayuri is for the lead senshi in my team, and about how she needs to grow up and blah blah blah.
Well, anyway, I remember you mentioning to Sayuri about maybe trying to reach out to Arisu a bit more, and so she did! It was so sweet. Sayuri camped out in front of Arisu's quarters and when the morning came, Arisu just smiled and made her a cup of tea. That's like, the biggest peace treaty in her book!
So anyway, I have to go to some dinner for my parents, but I miss you and I just wanted you to know that (and that you should be a therapist, because apparently you were able to do something I've been trying to do for years.)
The letter made its way into a small silver box beside his bed.
The day of their wedding, Helios hears a pair of very familiar footsteps. They are light and soft, and he hears excited giggles as they neatly waltz into his room.
"Mama wanted to know if you prefer her hair up or down," Kiku, Usagi's adopted daughter, asks. He turns around and smiles at the four-year-old. She wears a simple golden gown that somehow manages to bring out the emerald in her hair and eyes.
"I like her hair any way she wears it, Kiku-chan."
A toothy smile is his response.
Later, after the ceremony, Usagi runs a finger through her cropped rose curls.
"Good answer," she murmurs over her glass of champagne to him. Her lips spin into one of the loveliest things he's ever seen, but for the moment he chooses to focus on the fact that Kiku is climbing out from under the dinner table and into his lap, upsetting the tablecloth and his glass of champagne with the innocent ignorance only children possess.
He can only chuckle as his bride turns her attention to her daughter, winking at her. "Kiku-chan, we only climb under the table if the party is being hosted by Arisu."