disclaimer: disclaimed.
dedication: to myself because fuck you
notes: i have wanted to write this for a very long time.
notes2: yes i am writing beryl/usagi don't look at me like that you're reading it
notes3: mamo is tagged in this fic but like he is not here even a little bit and i am not ashamed

title: this town is full of monsters
summary: Have you ever been in love, Bee? — Beryl/Usagi/Mamoru.

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(now)

"Have you ever been in love, Bee?"

Usagi's hair was near-white in the sunlight, whorls of silk across the bedframe. She lay curled with her knees up to her chest, head in the other girl's lap, eyes wide as she stared upwards. Beni's fingers were caught up in the white-gold mass, twisting the end of her curls together.

"Bee? You okay?"

"I'm—yeah. I was. A long time ago," she murmured. Skin milk-pale, she was alight; flame-haired and electric-eyed, there was something almost inhuman about her. They'd been friends for longer than either of them could remember.

"With who?" Usagi asked, head lolling back and forth. The movement of Beniko's fingers didn't stop, methodic as they ran through her hair in long lovely strokes—it was such an old thing between them.

"With someone who doesn't exist anymore," Beni said.

"Does it hurt?"

She sighed, "Yes."

"I'm sorry," Usagi whispered, hands coming up to press against Beni's cheeks, skin and bone against skin and bone, flesh giving way beneath pressure and a hollow, sweet sadness. "You don't deserve that."

I wish you didn't hurt so much, is what she meant.

Bee fell silent, gaze trained carefully away from Usagi's.

"I do, though," she said at last. "I really, really do."

(then)

"You look lovely today, Lady Serenity!"

Serenity flushed all the way down her neck. The dress was new, and white, and she'd only just reached the age where she could wear dresses like this, so it was an important thing.

"You always say that, Bee."

"That's because it's true," Beryl said, eyes glinting with mirth. "Come here, Lady, your hair's gone a mess. Were you playing in Jupiter's garden, again?"

The Princess scrunched her face up, nose wrinkling into her forehead. "She's got peaches in there! It's not my fault!"

"Of course not," Beryl laughed softly, already tugging a comb out of the pocket sewn into the inside of her sleeve. All of Serenity's maids had them because the Princess was forever getting into things and ended up ruining her hair and tearing her dress; they all carried combs and needles and thread to keep her out of trouble.

That was the thing about Princess Serenity: you had to love her. Anything else was impossible.

Serenity sighed and flopped into Beryl's grip, a slow deep sigh shuddering its way out of her rib cage and all through her shoulders. Her hair came down out of the twin buns easily enough, a golden mantle across her shoulders twisted tight with sticks and vines and a flower petal or two, maybe.

Beryl combed out the worst of the rot with her fingers. She hummed along to nothing, but—

"What do you think about Terra, Bee?"

"Hm?"

"Terra. The planet. What do you think of it?"

"That's not for me to say, milady," Beryl murmured. The comb didn't stop moving, slow slide, no knots. "Terra is forbidden."

"I know, they lead short and violent lives, blah, blah, blah. I've heard that a hundred times, but it's boring and it makes no sense! Look at it. It's a beautiful planet."

"If you say so," Beryl murmured again.

If only she'd realized, then.

If only.

(now)

"Ami-chan's so nice, Bee, you'd like her so much! She's really smart, and pretty, and has great taste in video games—!"

Beni made a half-hearted sound in her throat and shoved Usagi over. Squished up in the bus' tiny seats, their knees knocked against each other, pale and scrabbly against pale and knobbly.

"Don't get into anything weird, Usagi-chan," Beni said, elbow digging into her friend's ribs. "Naru-chan will get jealous!"

"Awww, c'mon, there's enough of me for everyone!"

And Beni looked at her, and saw a girl with a sword through her gut and thought:

No, no, no, there's never enough, there was never enough.

Usagi was still chattering. "—this stupid dumb guy in a tuxedo, like, who even wears tuxedos? It was the middle of the day, like, three-in-the-afternoon kind of middle of the day! Who does that? Who?"

"Douchebags?" Beni supplied.

"Douchebags is right," Usagi nodded firmly. "God, so rude."

She fell quiet, then, and her gaze went far away.

"Usagi-chan?"

"He had kind eyes, though," she murmured. "Like the whole sky in a single person. I feel like I knew him, but I don't think I'd forget those eyes. They were…"

"Spectacular?" Beni asked. Her throat was closing up. Sky eyes. Usagi had sky eyes. Terra-colour eyes. Universe eyes, blue as far as the ocean and just as deep.

The only other person who had eyes like that…

He wasn't part of this life.

(She'd made sure of that.)

"Yeah," Usagi said, soft. "Spectacular."

(then)

"You went where?!"

"Terra, I snuck down, I went—oh, Bee, it's amazing, it's so amazing! The sky is blue, just like the water, and everything, the ground, it's all green! Just like Alma's eyes! And there are flowers, and pink, and it's all—it's all real. It's not—artificial, that's the word, right? Artificial?—it's not fake, and the sun doesn't burn when it touches your skin and—"

The Princess slowed only to breathe.

"—and Irina was so mad when she found me, but before she found I—I—"

"You?" Beryl prompted.

"I met someone," Serenity whispered, colour flaming its way up her cheeks. Eyes closed, head dipped; she was demure and soft and herself, and Beryl loved her desperately.

"You met someone," she repeated.

"Yes. A boy. His name's Endymion, and he's—I think he's a prince."

"There's only one Prince on Terra, milady. Everyone knows that."

"It's him!" Serenity said, insistent, eyes wide with fervour. "I know it's him, it has to be! His eyes—they were like the sky. The whole sky, in one person. And he—" she broke off, pressed her fingers to her cheeks. Her eyes were shining. "—he kissed me."

"Lady Venus allowed that?" Beryl asked, something tightening in her throat.

A kiss.

Of all things, a kiss.

Serenity giggled. "Oh, no, 'Rina was so mad. She even yelled! She was still yelling when we got back, I think she scared the guards. Luna scolded me, too."

"I'm not surprised," Beryl said dryly. She held out Serenity's night dress. "Would you put this on? It's bedtime, milday."

"It's just—dumb, you know? There's no real reason we can't go to Terra, not really. It's not dangerous."

Beryl's eyes flashed. "There's darkness there, Your Highness."

"Everyone has a shadow," Serenity countered, and flopped down on her bed, chin pillowed against her arms. "There can't be light without darkness, right? That's what Mama says, anyway. If there's dark, there has to be light. We shouldn't—"

She stopped, and hid her face in the cream sheets.

"I like him," she said, soft, so soft. "A lot."

"Liking people hurts, doesn't it," Beryl said, but it wasn't a question.

Serenity looked up at her with her covers up to her nose, and nodded slowly. "Yes," she said, "it does."

(now)

Beni looked at Usagi, and felt like she was looking at the sun. Her friend—her Princess—in a dress, surrounded by girls who'd been tasked to protect her in another life, laughing. Laughing.

She huddled over the toilet, and puked until there was nothing left inside. This was what she had wanted, Serenity's safety and her happiness.

But that boy.

That boy.

God, god, she didn't think it would hurt this much.

But it did.

Oh god, it did.

(then)

Terra?! TERRA?! SHE CAN'T BE GOING DOWN TO TERRA, IT'S DANGEROUS DOWN THERE—

Of course it is. Think about all the things that might eat her.

Who—what? Who's there?

Me.

Who's me?

Metallia. Call me Met.

You—you feel—

It doesn't matter how I feel. Your Princess, she's falling in love, right? With that nasty Terran prince. Who knows what he'll do to her! Girls are pretty silly when they fall in love. They don't ever listen to reason.

No, no the Princess—she knows what she's doing, this is a good thing, the Senshi will protect her. Bringing Terra back into the Silver Alliance—but it's dangerous, she should know that it's dangerous, why is Lady Venus letting her—?!

You could change it, you know.

That's not my place.

She's wrong, your Serenity. She's going to die, and the Silver Millenium will fall.

You don't know that.

I do.

You don't.

Believe me. I do.

Go away. Just—go away. Whoever you are.

If I leave, she dies for sure. You can't save a dead person. I know. I've tried.

What would have me do, then?

Call me Met. We can talk about it.

(now)

"Bee, I don't even know why I like him, he's a terrible dresser and he's super-rude and he looks like he never sleeps and he always makes fun of my tests—math isn't my strong suit, okay, we all know that—and he's so, ugh, I don't know, irritating, but at the same time it's like—!"

Usagi paused, drawing in a deep breath through her nose in the middle of her tirade. She shook her head, and went right back into it.

Beni watched her mouth move, and didn't pay attention to a word.

As long as she was here, the Terran Prince would never touch her.

No matter what form he took.

(then)

Terra was an ungodly place.

Metallia curled around her, a miasmic oppressive weight on her shoulder that whispered laughing obscenities in her ear. The men she'd stolen from the Terran Guard were well-trained, but they could not see the presence that ate away at her insides.

They could not see her true intentions:

She would see them dead before they could ever harm her Lady Serenity.

"The Sky-Witches have ruled long enough," she said, voice honeyed with malevolent persuasion.

They shouted their support of her until they were hoarse.

Beryl wore a long dress in a colour so dark she couldn't tell if it was the colour of night or the colour of blood, and she looked up at the shining moon. Even from this distance, she could see the gouge-out hole of Mare Serenitas, the White Palace standing tall at its silver-blue shores.

Her home seemed so far away. She stared upwards, and thought of Serenity's long blonde hair slipping through her fingers like sand.

I am coming, my Lady. I will protect you.

"Queen Beryl?" one of the Prince's Shittenou asked.

She waived him away, jewel-encrusted hands pale in the wash of the moon.

"We march at dawn," she said.

And so they did.

(now)

"Bee, my skin feels—wrong—I—it hurts—"

"Usa, Usa, breathe, Usagi, please, please, I—Usagi, please, breathe!"

"I don't—I can't—!"

"Usagi! Usagi! Serenity! Serenity, please!"

(then)

The sword made no sound as it slid through Lady Serenity's flesh.

Beryl didn't remember when she started to scream.

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fin.