A/N: Even though I liked the Perfect Couple episode, there is something not quite right with the way Serena was being treated. So deriving from the episode (and using some lines from it, rearranged to suit my purpose), and adding my own twist, I present to you my latest fiction, named after Episode 132 that inspired it.
Please note: I'm making Serena (and the girls) one or two years older than she is and setting the story after the battle with Queen Nehelenia but before the Sailor Star Arc. Sequence of the events/dialogues in the anime (if used in the story) will be manipulated to suit my purpose.
WARNING: This fiction will be dark. It is harsher than my other stories and will be filled with bitterness and resentment. I just feel that Serena keeps a lot to herself, despite the wailing and crocodile tears. I think she took a lot, accepted a lot, and give too much of herself without being recognised or appreciated. The way the anime (original, not Crystal) presented it, I see the people closest to her (not all, but most) as being the most detrimental to her self-esteem. They didn't just take her for granted but they also put her down rather consistently. So, in this story, Serena is finally lashing out.
MORE WARNING: This story will address the incestuous kiss between Black Lady and Tuxedo Mask. If you think the subject will offend your sense of propriety, DON'T READ this story. If you are a Rini fan that will cringe if she is portrayed as anything but perfect, DON'T READ this story.
This story is dedicated to SailorMoonForever, another wonderful friend I met on ff. SMF, while Shay is my anchor you are my balm, equally precious, equally treasured. Thank you for being my friend.
Thoughts are in Italics.
(Standard disclaimer: I do not own any of the Sailor Moon characters. All characters belong to Naoko Takeuchi.)
In Episode 132 of the anime, Saori made her move on Darien despite having been introduced to Serena. She could not quite accept that someone like Darien would be with someone like Serena. She wasn't the only one who thought so. Clever and classy, Rini implied that Darien may actually prefer her to Serena. It was implied that she would make the 'better fit' for Darien. What if Serena took those comments to heart? What if it was the last straw for her? Can Darien win her back and convince her that they were indeed, the... 'Perfect Couple'
Perfect Couple (The Prologue)
Darien's Apartment (Saturday Evening)
Serena was fuming. Her nerves were frazzled and near to the breaking point. Rini's words rang over and over again in her mind, mocking her, taunting her. It was infuriating, maddening and scaring the hell out of her.
"You can't just cling to the idea that Darien's love for you will never die. Didn't you see Saori? She's prettier, more sophisticated, smart and certainly much more intelligent than you!"
She had chosen not to let the little girl's words hurt her, chose instead, to believe in her love.
"After everything we've been through, how can I doubt Darien's love for me? You don't know anything, Rini."
"They are out there, right now, shopping together, spending time together, while you are here alone. Not that I'd blame him. You two are as different as chalk and cheese and I think she's way classier! I'd much rather have her for my mother if I could choose. But I can't and the biggest bummer is that I won't be born either if you don't get your paws back into Darien!"
Those words cut deep.
She's wrong! Of course Darien loves me! Our love is meant to be! He wouldn't be interested in Saori. She's his friend. His classmate. Urggh! I can't believe I'd actually listen to the little brat! Her mind was racing a mile a minute as she distractedly opened the door to his apartment.
The colour drained from her face. She felt something slammed hard into her chest and as though the ground had fallen away from her. It felt like being blasted by a Youma.
Darien was sitting in the sofa in his living room. In someone else's arms. In Saori's arms. His lips just parted from her lips. Another girl's lips. Saori's lips.
Serena's hands clenched at her sides. "I guess I should have knocked." Her voice was somehow emotionless and she was grateful for it. Maybe his apathy was rubbing off on her. That would be useful. Not to care. Who was she kidding? She hurt so bad that she'd rather be blasted by a Youma. She'd rather be blasted by a thousand Youma!
Darien abruptly pulled himself away from Saori. Horrified apologies whirled through his head amidst all the confusion he was feeling. His face was now as pale as hers as he scrambled towards her in panic.
"Serena. It's not what you think. I swear it's not!"
Serena gripped her hands tightly together. She felt like falling to the ground, to just sit and weep. But she locked her knees straight. If composure was the only thing she had left, she would cling to it.
"I don't think anything." She answered coldly. "If you'll excuse me, I'll be going now."
She had to get out of there. Had to get out of there before she broke down and make a complete fool of herself. She won't! Especially not in front of her! Pretty, sophisticated, smart, intelligent Saori as Rini described her.
The calm way she spoke had panic streaking through him. He pushed forward as she turned to open the door and let herself out. Desperation rose like a flood and he slapped both hands on the door, effectively closing it and trapping her between it and his body. Desperately, he whirled her around to face him. The look on her face had him instinctively gentling his hold. "Serena," he pleaded urgently, his hands cupping her face, "I didn't kiss her. She kissed me. I swear I don't know where that came from!"
Saori watched the exchange in fascination. She had never seen Darien quite like this before. Frantic and desperate. He was always so calm and collected. Drawing in a deep breath, she started to open her mouth to say something but Serena beat her to it.
"Don't you now? Weren't you just spending the day together? The whole day?" she asked sarcastically, "Did you have fun, Darien?"
"Serena. Darien was just helping me choose a present for a guy friend. I needed a guy's perspective." Saori finally found her voice.
Serena pulled herself out of Darien's hold, stepped away from him and turned her cool gaze towards the beautiful brunette, "Were you now? So you finally decided on a kiss?" Turning to Darien, she continued, "What was your perspective then, Darien? Was it good?"
"Serena!" Darien was shocked by her response. This wasn't his carefree Meatball Head. Bemusement warred with frustration. Turning to Saori, "Saori, I'm sorry. But I think you'd better leave now," he said curtly.
"No. That's okay. You can stay. I'll leave."
Darien's eyes narrowed and sharpened as he gripped Serena's arm to keep her in place while opening the door to let Saori out, barely glancing at the brunette as she hurriedly left.
Taking a deep breath to calm himself, Darien started to lay his hands on Serena's shoulders.
"Don't" she cringed away, crossing her arms over herself in self defence.
He felt something ripped apart in his gut at her rejection. His chest tightened so that he had trouble breathing. His hands fell limply to his sides. "Do you honestly believe that I would I cheat on you?" he asked her incredulously.
He raked his hands over his face in agitation. "Knowing where we came from, knowing what future lies ahead of us, do you really believe that I would cheat on you?!"
"That's the point, isn't it, Darien? The past that was. The future that will be. What about the present, Darien?" Her voice was so thick with tears now that she had to fight for every word.
"What are you talking about?"
"I don't want to be with someone who is only with me because of a promise made a thousand years ago, in a different lifetime! I don't want to be with someone who's only with me solely that he could ensure the existence of a future child that will always mean more to him than I ever will be!"
"It's not like that!" It appalled him that she would think so.
I'm so tired, Serena thought, so terribly tired.
It was as though all the joy she held inside her heart had left her, replaced instead with cold emptiness.
"Do you realise Darien, we've only been on one proper date?" She asked dejectedly.
Darien sputtered. "What? That's not true! We go out all the time!"
"Yes. We, as in the three of us, go out a number of times. The three of us, you, Rini and me. You and she, go out all the time. You and I? On a proper date? Just that one time before she dropped out of the sky. You haven't asked me out on a date again, not once since then. I'll bet you've been out with Saori more times, spent more times with her than you do with me. Your time alone with her today is probably more than your time alone with me for the whole month."
"You have no right to hurt me this much. And I won't let you anymore. No more." She cut him off wearily. Yet there was a resolve behind her statement.
"I wanted so little from you. So ridiculously little. And I would've given you anything and everything. I'm ashamed. Ashamed that I was actually willing to settle for any little scrap you'd be willing to throw my way."
She let out a short derisive laugh, "That's exactly what I got from you, isn't it? Scraps and crumbs!" Her breath came out steady, strengthening her as she went on, "And I took it. I took it because I thought that my love would be enough for the both of us. Because I thought that maybe one day you'll love me back the way I want you to. The same way I love you."
Pain rushed into her eyes but it remained dry as she continued. "I can't do this anymore. I deserve better than to be with a guy who's only with me out of obligation."
Darien exploded. "I'm not with you out of obligation!"
"You're not with me out of love either!"
"You stood by as people put me down, all the time! Even Andrew has stood up for me more than you have!"
"And you conclude from that that I don't love you?"
"Your daughter sassed me every chance she gets and you're okay with that!"
Darien was bewildered. Added to that was annoyance and an anger that was trying to surface, "My daughter? My daughter?" he asked in disbelieve. "She's our daughter, Serena!"
"And yet she treats you with love and affection and me with disrespect and disgust! I am a teenager, Darien! I'm not old enough to be a mother! Yet I'm not just expected to be one but I'm expected to be a good one! With everyone looking down at me! With no support or understanding from the very people who are supposed to be on my side!" she shouted.
All the anger she had been feeling, the resentment bottled up for a long time, came spewing out and Serena was helpless to stop them, "Mama doesn't even love me anymore. I get punished all the time for something she pulled. She took over my house, my family, my friends and even you. Especially you!"
Shaken by her pain, she turned away from him and stared at the wall in front of her as the steam ran out of her and her voice became small and broken. "You were so proud of Saori, of her accomplishments. You even know her dream. You were practically gushing over her." She said of their earlier conversation with Saori and Kobayashi. "Did you ever ask how I feel? What my dreams are? What I would like to do? Do you ever just want to spend time with me, anymore?"
Because her back was to him, she didn't see the sudden change in Darien's expression. She didn't see the stricken look on his face and the guilt that rushed into his eyes.
"Oh Serena," he murmured, not knowing what to say to make things better for her.
"I don't exist anymore, Darien. I stopped existing the day Rini arrived."
She let the words hang and closed her eyes on them for a moment. When she opened them and turned to face him again, they were fierce and determined. "The future isn't set in stone. In fact, we know better than anyone that even the past isn't set in stone. Her coming back here, to this time...that in itself is rewriting history. And we are expected to preserve the future? What kind of future exactly am I preserving?"
Darien was at a complete lost for words and Serena once again heard Rini's voice inside her head. "Don't you think deep thoughts? Or think about your dull life like what's going to make you happy in the future? Have you set any goals? Do you think of those sometimes?" the little girl had said.
Rini was right after all. Serena raised her chin determinedly and plunged ahead resolutely, "I want a happy future, Darien. I want to be happy. I want to make my own future and if that makes me selfish, then so be it. According to all of you, I am that and a whole lot of other things anyway. Maybe it's time I live up to everyone's real expectation of me, selfish, stupid, irresponsible childish klutz who will never be good enough, who will forever be a disappointment, who will always remain unworthy. Unworthy of your love. Unworthy of anyone's respect."
The finality of her tone had fear gripping his stomach. He couldn't stop himself from reaching out, "Serena."
"Don't touch me," Her voice was so cold that his fingers dropped.
He ran an agitated hand through his hair. "I understand you're upset. But we need to talk about this. We can figure this out." His eyes beseeched her for understanding. With a strong effort, he kept his voice calm. It wouldn't do for the both of them to lose their cool. "We'll wait until you've had some time to calm down. I'll pick you up tomorrow and we'll go somewhere and talk about this."
"No. I'm done talking. I'm done. We are done," she said as she pushed past him and walked out of his apartment, out of his life as far as she was concerned.
Posted on fanfiction: 04 October 2014
A/N: Well, was it too harsh? Let me know what you think. But please, NO flame.
P/S: I know I should be fixing TOBITF's latest chapter and uploading it. It has been written, for over a week in fact. But it requires some editing and I'm getting all these snippets for this story and EVER AFTER and can't seem to focus on TOBITF. I'll try and get back to it as soon as I can but... no promises. Do check out EVER AFTER though. It's my first medieval fantasy. And I think it may have the potential to be as fun as TOBITF.