Finally! A date for me and Richard in this crazy war! Maybe this date will secure my daughters' future as well. Oh well, best to just enjoy the moment. For once, it was time for us to hang up our roles in the F.N.S and just enjoy our company as romantic partners. As I was touching up my makeup, I heard a knock on my door. "I'm decent," I called. "Come in." The door opened to reveal Scorpainia and Batman.

"Sorry for barging in like this," apologized Batman, "but Scorpainia insisted to 'guide you in battle'."

"What battle?" I asked.

"I heard you and your knight, Richard, are courting each other," recalled Scorpainia.

"That's right," I confirmed. "We're going on our first date." Scorpainia chuckled softly.

"Battle has already been joined," she remarked, "whether you know it or not. A long, grueling, pleasurable battle." She ran her tongue across her teeth. "If your cards are played right and you and your battle partner are properly prepared, your war against the hardships of the multiverse will be…enjoyable."

"War against the hardships of the multiverse?" Batman asked.

"Correct," replied Scorpainia. "I can remember when I married my husband. I'll never forget the day, nor his father, who opposed the marriage. I had a pet Zartha-serpent. A long, large, hypnotic thing, but a sweetheart all the same. And, in her breast, a warrior's heart beat again and again. Of course, my father in law loathed her." She then sat on my bed. "Well, to make a long story short, while helping my husband move his things into my castle, my father in law… 'accidentally' left the front door open. And my faithful Zartha-serpent, ever ready to obey the call of the wild, slithered out the door and into the forest. To prove his love for me, my husband ran after her. No chance. I let her slither around in the open, so she would train her wilder instincts. My husband gave his best effort, but she was too fast for him. I never laid eyes on her again."

Your father in law, as a representative of the multiverse's ugly side, draws the first blood," I simplified.

"You see my point," confirmed Scorpainia. "Even so, while I may miss her, I would not trade my husband for all the Zartha-serpents on Tarlax. And, difficult though it is for any Tarlaxian to admit, over the course of our marriage, we each lost our fair share of battles. But, we know, in our heart of hearts, in the end, we will win the war." She then crossed her arms in front of her chest. "I wish you and Richard a successful battle!"

"And I wish you and your husband the same," I bid as I did the same action. I then gave myself a once over and headed out the door. Richard was waiting by the Gateway. He had a picnic basket in his hand. "Picnic lunch?" I quizzed. "Whereabouts?"

"You'll see," replied Richard.

"Coordinates set," reported X-PO. "You lovebirds enjoy yourselves."

"See you later," I called. Richard and I jumped in and flew through the rift. When we came out, my eyes went wide. We had landed in a forest of cherry trees in bloom! "Sakura…" I breathed referring to the blossoms. I then turned to Richard. "A little bit of hanami, I see?"

"I thought it would make you happy," answered Richard, "given the symbolism and history of Japan and cherry blossoms."

"Oh, believe me, it does," I sighed. Richard then found a good tree to lay the blanket out. We set the food out and started eating, slowly. This was a perfect way for slowing down and reorganizing thoughts as we just contemplated the beauty of it all. A perfect Valentine's gift.

To those with love in their hearts, Happy Valentine's Day.