Universe: canon, past life
X-posted: personal LJ, deviantArt
Summary: At a ball, Endymion watches the shitennou fail at various romantic situations.
Endymion realized something as he looked around him at this gathering of his dearest friends and companions: The shitennou were hopeless in matters of romance and there would be no next generation to carry on the protection of the Earth Kingdom. He shook his head ruefully, a wry smile perking his lips upwards.
There should have been dancing, and there was. Couples comprising the vast majority of his court moved in the graceful turns and steps of a tune composed specifically for the occasion of this ball. They were all arrayed in the usual, predictable assortment of honors and jewels, all blending in with each other. Four men stood out.
Blonde, young, and somewhat shy, Jadeite was talking to one of the palace girls, the prince noticed. He could never remember her name, that one with the red hair. The shitennou was having a hard time of it, seemingly unable to decide precisely where to place his eyes: whether on her face or that rather interesting design in the front of her gown that the prince did notice. A sort of keyhole cut. He appreciated the view, even if Jadeite did not. The blonde called her “Beryl” then, but the name still called up no memories. Another of the faceless masses guaranteed to be present at any court event, he supposed. Eventually, she seemed to become irritated by the lad's clumsy advances and left him standing there alone, blushing, while she went to look for someone else.
Another red-head was much more familiar to him as Endymion's attention left Jadeite and the girl. Nephrite, determined to be the center of attention and possibly already drunk, was attempting some party trick. He had two watchers at most. Then his trick, whatever it was, seemed to misfire. The champagne glasses he'd been balancing fell to the floor all at once, abruptly transformed into a pile of crystal shards. The prince considered feeling badly for the boy, until he began berating one of the palace servants as if it were entirely that man's fault and looking close to violence. The wry smile faded to faint disapproval. He would speak with Nephrite about that temper later. The girls who had been watching drifted away.
Suddenly, stealthily, the music intruded itself on Endymion's notice once more. He smiled. It recalled the moon princess. (Was she here?) When he glanced towards the piano to congratulate the musicians, the peaceful contentment dissolved abruptly into annoyance, a discordant sudden change of mood. Zoisite was at it again. He had distinctly told the silver-uniformed man to participate in the event, mingle with its attendees, make himself agreeable and not so aloof. There were, as usual, at least half a dozen ladies hanging on every note, doubtless willing to hang on his every word and all determined to be the one to rise to the challenge of winning his calm and steady heart, but the soft-spoken man did not so much as turn his head to glance their way. Now, had one of them had the idea of dressing in black and white, with a pattern somewhat like the keys of that instrument... He smirked.
An echo to his smirk showed in a very similar expression to be found on the face of a tall, bored-looking man leaning against the wall with his arms folded across his chest in front of him. There were girls everywhere, there, all vying for the attention of the handsome, powerful, prestigious and high-ranking leader of the shitennou. Simpering, some daring to peep at him from behind fans while others were bold enough to talk to him outright, still others looking from a distance. He paid them little mind, and Endymion read plainly in that face that Kunzite had no intention of favoring any of them with any form of invitation to his chambers. He set ridiculous standards for himself and, it seemed, for others.
The prince had the satisfaction of watching Kunzite's head finally turn and his faint smile grow broader when a blue-haired girl walked by, politely excusing herself through the crowd of the oldest shitennou's admirers - apparently on her way to somewhere else and apparently oblivious to the almost palpable hostility of the crowd as a result of that notice. Mercury. The man seemed to finally become interested as his eyes followed her, drawn to the choker necklace that attracted attention to the slender neck and to the slightly lowered neckline of the otherwise very modest gown. Endymion approved.
Serenity. If her sailor senshi were here, where was the moon princess herself? He scanned the room again, and found Venus apparently engrossed in conversation with Zoisite. He smiled – until he was able to overhear the serious, business-like tone, discussing some treaty he'd long since discarded from conscious memory due to its near-irrelevancy. He caught the gist of their talk, enough to hear the word “war”, and became more concerned as he realized they were discussing fears for the future rather than some historical battle. Then they drew closer, conspiratorially, and he knew something was planned between them, some way they hoped to prevent it. Endymion knew there were worries over his relationship to Serenity, that these two wanted to keep them apart. He would definitely need to meet with the shitennou later. A frown.
Mercury, the blue-haired girl, must have still been able to feel Kunzite's eyes upon her as she reached her destination and knelt on the floor, picking something up. She had gone to help Nephrite, who was still haplessly making the mess even worse as he tried. He snapped out something at her that Endymion was sure was neither thanks nor polite, and the prince found himself wishing for the thousandth time that Nephrite would learn to swallow that pride instead of driving away every potential audience he did find. She seemed not to notice, although she must have, answering his shouts with a few quiet reassurances and going about her task until it was done. He barely gave her a thank-you, not meeting her eye, and then fled the room. She stared after him in confusion. Endymion could have told her Nephrite had run from embarrassment. Kunzite was at her side by then, though, having detached himself from the throng of longing ladies. He bent his head to hers to murmur something the prince knew from long observation of court liaisons was an invitation to his chambers. She flushed and looked up at him. Then Endymion heard the word “chess” uttered between them and knew precisely what would occupy them there. He shook his head; he'd gotten hopeful for a moment.
By now Jadeite had run after that palace girl and was pleading with her. He reached out to take her hand and, surprisingly after the boy's earlier ineptitude, she accepted it. They moved towards the more open part of the ballroom and began the next dance. Endymion wished them well.
There was an excitement in the air suddenly that hadn't been there a moment before. Something happening. Everyone's attention turning to the same thing at once. He followed its general direction and saw what to him would have been a vision anyway: Serenity. Endymion's face broke into a smile that was relieved, thrilled, pleased, and hopeful all at once. She came towards him, smiling as well, and he held out his hand.
“I apologize for my lateness,” the princess said, and the prince did not even notice her gaze shift towards where Venus had been or that Venus was quietly sneaking out of the room. “There was a problem with the door in my chambers.” Then absolutely everything else receded from his mind as he took her in his arms for the dance.