Sailor Venus stood outside the crystal formation, hands clenched at her sides and eyes focused intensely on the white silhouette inside. She wanted to lay hands on it, get a better look at the woman inside. She wanted to know if that woman was dead, alive, or in a coma from which she would or would not wake. But the magic was still fresh and volatile. She could feel the heat coming off it from where she stood, and there was still the occasional electric spark. It would be days before anyone could go closer to it than where she was standing.
“Shouldn’t you be with the others?”
Venus looked over her shoulder, unsurprised by the king’s sudden presence. She swallowed, gazing through his transparent form, attempting to make him solid in her mind’s eye. She made an effort to hold eye contact with him to give them both a sense of normalcy, but she’d never dealt to well with holograms. They reminded her too much of ghosts, and that was the sort of association she didn’t care for right at that moment.
“I’m letting Mars handle things for awhile,” Venus explained, trying to relax her stiff fingers. “She needs the distraction.”
Endymion frowned, moving over to her. Venus hesitated to call it walking for while his legs were moving, his feet made no sound. “She’s not handling it well I take it?”
“That’s putting it mildly,” Venus sighed, turning back to the jagged quartz before her. “We’re all upset of course, but… Well, you know how she is about Serenity.”
He seemed amused by that statement. “Yes, I have some idea.”
Venus was briefly confused when she understood what it was that he meant. She felt her cheeks color, something that didn’t happen too often anymore. She stammered, trying to rectify her mistake. “I—I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to imply--"
“It’s all right,” he interrupted, giving her a smile that existed only on his lips. “I know what you meant.”
He continued floating forward until he was right next to his wife’s prone body. He brought up his right hand, holding it a few centimeters away from the quartz. She saw the look in his eyes change and the way he carried himself. It suddenly looked as if he was dragging the world’s weight and all its problems with him. He didn’t look as though he could handle it.
Venus wasn’t sure she wanted to see this or if she should be there. It seemed to be too private a moment, watching a see-through man standing next to his could-be dead wife, able to be closer to her than any of the others but unable to touch her. It made her heart break
“She hates small spaces,” he said softly. “Did you know that?”
Venus shook her head. “No. I didn’t.”
“Ever since Zoisite and the elevator…” he explained. “She’s never been comfortable.” His voice cracked a bit and Venus felt tears spring to her eyes. “I hope she doesn’t know where she is… I hope she is asleep. I don’t want her to be afraid.”
“Endymion," Venus started, her voice trembling.
“I knew this day was coming,” he continued. “But I… none of us could stop it. We all knew, but--"
“We tried,” Venus insisted, straightening her back. “We did all we could do. And we haven’t been beaten yet, Endymion. So, don’t talk like we’ve lost. I won’t let you.” She sniffled, greatly impacting the strength in her words.
Endymion nodded, turning just enough so that she could see him in profile. “Of course. You’re right…” Then he looked at her directly and she saw that he was crying too. Venus hadn’t thought a hologram could cry. “But my wife could be dead in a coffin you made for her and my daughter’s lost in the 20th century. Can you really blame me for feeling like I’ve lost everything?”
And then Venus looked on as his hand passed through the glass and he bent over, weeping openly. She cried right along with him, wanting nothing more than to hold him, to let him lean on her, to reassure him that everything was going to be all right…
But she couldn’t touch a ghost.