.moon by night

For the Love of Venus by alizeP

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It came as no surprise when he failed to stay true to his promise to deal with her. He couldn’t be bothered with her and this time was no exception. Again, she became overwhelmed with boredom and debated whether or not she should approach him. Their last encounter had left her somewhat shaken by his forcefulness, but it did give her something to think about for a couple of days helping her to escape from the tediousness of her day to day activities, or lack thereof. How would he respond to her? Would he be angry still, or would he again face her with disinterest? She received her answers a few days later when she found herself being escorted to the royal palace by Kunzite himself. He had spoken his normal handful of words to her letting her know that he had business with the prince as his way of telling her that he would be going with her. Although she had the feeling that he chose to ride with her instead of ahead on his own so that he could make sure that she kept her promise to show up this time. They rode together in silence; he appeared to be completely indifferent to her presence, not that she had been expecting much else from him.

Once they arrived at the palace he helped her down from her horse and pulled her close to him. She felt a shiver run through her thinking about the encounter she had with him only days before as his lips grazed her ear and silently hoped that he hadn’t felt it as well. He whispered sharply into her ear, “when asked about your whereabouts from the other day you will say that you were feeling ill. I will not tolerate any gossip around this Palace and not in front of my Prince. Do you understand?”

She felt as though she were a child being reprimanded by an angry parent and chose not to respond to him, but to instead turn on her heel and walk away, causing her hair to fan out behind her, a most hypnotic movement to any beholder. Before she could take more than a couple steps he reached out and wrapped his arm around her waist bringing her to fall back against him in a most ungraceful way. Her feet moved to reposition themselves underneath her, but he held her firmly and she knew that he would not allow her to fall. “Minako?” He asked her simply. She turned to look up at him and into his eyes debating if it would be worth the effort of ignoring him and walking off again but decided against it sensing that his next reaction would not be nearly as friendly. With a nod of her head she indicated that she understood his words. He held her like this for a few seconds more, watching her closely as if he could see the emotions moving across her face. She could feel her heart beating against her chest as the look on his face softened and his hold on her began to loosen. He placed his hand on the small of her back and escorted her into the Palace as if it were a normal occurrence for them. She realized that this was probably the most physical contact that they had ever had and she absently started to think that having his arm around her had been rather comforting. Even the intimacy of his gesture now crossed her mind and she wondered if he realized what he was doing or if it was a reflex in case she decided to change her mind.

A servant greeted them at the entrance and escorted Minako off down the hall. She looked back at Kunzite, expecting to see him following her or at least waiting until she had disappeared from his sight, but instead saw that he was already gone. After walking down a long hallway and around several turns, she was brought into a room where she later found herself standing in front of several mirrors being fitted into a long white gown that she would soon be married in. She laughed silently to herself thinking that black would be a more appropriate color for that day, although she was sure that he would find no humor in the situation. He rarely found humor in anything it seemed.

The doors burst open and in rushed her cousin Serenity. Her cheeks flushed from running down the halls and her eyes were full of excitement. Minako, ignoring the pins that were so carefully placed on her dress, ran to Serenity and embraced her. Serenity was always so full of energy that it was hard not to be happy in her presence. It was Serenity’s luck, Minako thought, that she was betrothed to the Prince who was considerably kinder and more gentle than the General she was to give herself to in a short time.

“Oh, Mina!” Serenity gushed. “I’m so happy to see you. I heard of your engagement to Kunzite and I wanted to see you sooner, but with my wedding approaching so quickly I haven’t been able to stop by. Aren’t you excited? He is such a handsome man and one of Endymion’s favorites. You are a lucky woman, Minako. “

“Yes, I know, I’ve been told a time or two,” Minako sighed then plastered on a smile and said “enough about me. Tell me more about your plans. I haven’t seen you in what feels like forever.”

Serenity couldn’t contain her happiness at the thought of being married. “We can discuss that later. Tell me about you and Kunzite – are you happy? He’s such a pleasure to be around when he comes to visit, which really isn’t often enough, especially if you ask Endymion. It’s about time he decided to stop being a loner. Endymion has been asking him to settle down for some time now and was pleased when he so willing agreed to marry you.”

Mina couldn’t help but to let out a snort. Was this really her Kunzite that her cousin was talking about? Could there be some confusion? Could there be another man with the same name? Realizing her mistake, her hand flew in front of her mouth and she stopped herself from making another sound.

“Minako,” Serenity slowly asked “is something wrong?”

“No! Of course not, everything is fine. I just – well – I don’t know what to make of everything. It’s a lot. But you’re right, I am lucky. I was afraid that we would be separated and never get to see each other again.”

“My Lady, please, “the seamstress interrupted, “if I don’t get back to work on this dress of yours then I will have my own problems to worry about with the Good General. I am already days behind on my work and it will take me time to re-pin your dress and to start sewing all the hems.”

“I’m sorry, Mary, I wouldn’t want you to get in trouble on my behalf. Let’s finish up this dress. Serenity, please tell me more. We have a lot of catching up to do.” Minako spent the next couple of hours listening to Serenity tell her stories of her time in court - some of the stories involving the man that would be her husband. Throughout she wondered who this man was that she resided with. Why had she never seen this side of him that was anything other than all the rumors had said? Maybe there was more to him than just his chilly exterior.

After her appointment with the seamstress, Minako wandered around the palace amazed by the beautiful artifacts that filled the halls. Thick intricately sewn carpets ran down in aisles on the floors while the walls displayed marvelous works of arts of beautiful women, members of the royal family and glowing landscapes. She heard the sound of muffled voices travelling through the hall and she stopped at the doorway that the voices appeared to be coming from. She recognized the voice of Kunzite, and by his addressing of the other person in the room, she gathered that it was Prince Endymion. She had met the Prince a few times since he had been courting her cousin for quite some time. Her impression of him had always been a good one. She had known right away that he was the perfect match for her cousin from the way he would look lovingly at her, and she knew that her cousin was never happier than when her parents accepted the Prince’s proposal.

“My Prince –,“ Kunzite started, but was interrupted by Endymion. “Please, Kunzite – I will not have you address me so formally in private. We are friends and you are my most respected general, I value your opinion above all.”

“Endymion, we need to discuss the security measures that will need to be set in place for your wedding day. There will be many people roaming freely around the Palace and we need to ensure the safety of both you and your Princess.”

“Yes yes. We’ve discussed much of this already and we can discuss it more as the day approaches. But for now, tell me about Minako. How are things with you? After all your efforts in this kingdom I want to see you happy.”

“Things are….well. Minako is meeting with the royal seamstress as Serenity requested. She insisted that their dresses be made by the same woman. Although to me a dress is a dress, I don’t understand the silly fuss that these women must put into such trivial matters.”

Endymion laughed heartily. “I wouldn’t expect you to, my friend. There are some things about a woman that men will never understand. But tell me, how are you both getting on? To be honest I was afraid that you might choose that undesirable girl Catherine. A foolish woman she was to deceive you that way….”

The sound of a floorboard creaking caught Kunzite’s ear as did the soft mumblings of woman’s voice. Years of being on guard had trained him to be aware of even the slightest noises. “That was in the past and not something that needs to be remembered. I’m sure things with Minako will work out the way they are meant to. She is a smart woman, if not a bit troublesome at times.”

Their conversation was cut short by a knocking on the door and in walked Minako without waiting for an acknowledgement. She knew Kunzite heard her, and she was even more sure that his comments were meant for her to hear more so than the Prince. “Your highness,” Minako curtseyed.

“Please rise, Minako. I will not have my General using such formalities and neither will his future wife.”

“You’re too kind, Endymion. I apologize for keeping you waiting, Kunzite, but my appointment ran a little late. I fear Serenity has decided to take over the poor seamstresses job making alterations to my dress,” she laughed nervously.

“That certainly sounds like my Serenity. There is never a dull moment with her. I will let you two be off now, it’s getting late and you still have to make it back to your home. Although the offer is always open for you to stay here, you don’t have to stay at your other estate so much of the time.”

“That’s quite alright my – Endymion,” Kunzite corrected himself. “You have much planning to do and I wouldn’t want myself or Minako to be in your way. We will be departing shortly.” Kunzite cast a glance over to where Minako was standing. Taking her cue, she quickly agreed with her future husband.

Endymion smiled at Minako then turned to Kunzite. “I will be expecting you in the next couple of weeks and Serenity and I insist that you spend time here. I won’t take no for an answer.”

Minako spoke up a little too quickly, “we would be happy to stay here at the request of you and my cousin.” ’Anywhere would be better than staying alone with him,’ she thought to herself.

“Excellent. Now speaking of Serenity, I must find her. Safe journey.”

“Thank you, my lord.”

With that Endymion left the room. Kunzite looked to Minako and asked her if she was ready to return to his home. She nodded slowly and they headed out to the stables where the stable boys were ready with their horses. Kunzite placed his hands on her waist and effortlessly lifted her up to mount her horse then quickly jumped on his. The movement was so fluid Minako almost thought he had flown to his seated position. He looked back to see her staring at him. She smiled and looked down to her horse. ‘Of all the times for him to catch me….’ She thought to herself. Had she looked back up she might have noticed the telltale signs of a smile pulling at the corner of his mouth.

She looked so beautiful, he thought to himself. The way her dress flowed around her when he lifted her in the air, the soft peach color blending in with her fair skin and the way that she blushed ever so softly when he looked back at her. If only she weren’t so stubborn and determined to have her way he might be able to control his anger around her. She just seemed to know how to hit all of his buttons and it took all of his strength to resist the urge to let her know just how hard she was hitting them.

They set off for the short ride back to his castle. Minako knew that she needed to approach him and talk about the impending nuptials and what that meant for the both of them. If his mood was right she would try tonight, otherwise this discussion would have to wait for another day when he was better suited to speak with. She had seen enough of his anger over the past few days and resolved to find that part of him that Serenity spoke so highly of.

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