Learning To Live Again
Rated R - for rape and mentions of lemon
Raped by her boyfriend, Serena doesn't know who she can trust. Can she find solace in unexpected arms?
Serena collapsed by the street corner, leaning against the light post. With no concern for who may see her, she pulled her legs up and buried her face in her knees. No sound was audible from her prone figure but her shoulders were visibly shaking, revealing the fact that she was crying. 'I'm such a fool,' she accused herself. The reminder only made her cry harder. The day had started out badly. In fact, her whole life had been totally rotten ever since she met Aaron.
Aaron was a guy she had met a couple months back. In fact, Darien had introduced them.
The arcade was especially busy after school that day and someone was already playing the Sailor V video game. Curious as to who he was she crept up behind him and watched the new guy play. She had to admit, he was rather good, though he hadn't come close to beating her highest score. Just as he finished she was about to introduce herself when she suffered a klutz attack. She tripped over air, just like always, and found herself sitting in his lap. Embarrassment burned her cheeks a bright red.
To make matters worse she immediately heard a very familiar (unfortunately) chuckle. "You really should be more careful, Meatball Head. Or should I be jealous? For once it's not me you're running into."
Her blush deepened at his words and she struggled to stand up, stammering the whole time, "I'm so sorry... Please forgive me... I didn't mean to."
Something was wrong, she couldn't get up. It took her a moment to realize that the man had wrapped his arm around her waist and was holding her there. "Don't worry about it," his voice was calm and silky, holding only a little bit of teasing and none of the sarcasm that always accompanied Darien's comments. "I can tell when a lady decides to flirt and you're forgiven. But only if you allow my to buy you some ice cream."
She wasn't sure of what to say. It was obvious that she wasn't flirting and had honestly tripped; at least it was to her. She tried to convince him of it. He wouldn't believe her though, but he did once again offer her that ice cream. Being Serena, she couldn't stay embarrassed or irritated for very long and that ice cream was a very tempting bribe. Finally, she said yes and allowed the man to lead her toward a table.
He had already seated himself when she realized who else occupied the table. "You! Why do we have to sit with him?" Serena had wailed.
"What's the matter Meatball Head? Aren't you hungry? That would be a first," Darien taunted her.
She took the bait, just as she knew he wanted but she couldn't help but respond. "I'm not always hungry, Darien. And I would really like that ice cream, it just so happens that seeing you has totally stolen my appetite."
A half smile spread Darien's lips, "Yeah right. You just couldn't handle actually being close to human long enough to eat that ice cream. And me being here doesn't help, because you know I'm a distraction."
Serena stared at him. 'How could he know that? She never let him know in any way that she actually thought he was cute. That would have been an unforgivable mistake.' Just to prove that he wasn't the distraction he said he was she shook her ponytails out of the way and sat down. "I supposed I can handle your insufferable presence for a little while."
"Don't worry, I'm leaving anyway. Good luck with her Aaron; she is a royal pain in the butt. See ya later Meatball Head." Before she could say anything, he had gotten up and started to walk away.
So she yelled after him, "Don't call me that!" Then she slouched down in the seat beside Aaron and mumbled, "Man, I hate that guy."
The question surprised her. Looking at Aaron, she decided he was somewhat cute looking down at her like that with his red hair falling into his emerald eyes. She smiled,
finally someone who agreed with her. "Yeah, he is a conceited, selfish, egotistical jerk."
Aaron looked mildly surprised. "He must have changed then. I knew him a while back and then he was a goody goody. All the nuns at the orphanage loved him and they always compared him to me. His mommy's boy attitude always ended up making my pranks look worse than they actually were."
'Gee, that sure doesn't sound like the Darien I know.' Instead of commenting on that though she asked, "Darien was in an orphanage?"
"Yup," Aaron answered, a gleam in his eyes. "Everyone used feel so sorry for him to. Cause unlike the rest of us, he couldn't even remember his parents. Had amnesia or something." Then he had unexpectedly changed the subject, "You are beautiful, you know."
Serena sobbed even harder at the memory. If Darien hadn't challenged her like that, she would never have stayed. If only she had followed her first instinct and just stormed out of there like normal, then none of this would have happened. She wouldn't have started going out with Aaron, things would still be fine, and she would still be able to smile.
At first, Aaron had been perfect. Always making sure she was happy and having fun. Then he had started being mean. Not mean like Darien could be, but more subtle and saying things that hurt much more than any of Darien's sarcastic teasing ever had. Maybe because when he said things Aaron sounded as if he was completely serious.
Moving her hand from under her knees she reached up to tentatively touch the single ponytail she now wore. The hurting had started with her hair. He had told her that it was a stupid and very out of date style and even started calling her Meatball Head. She found though that when he said it she couldn't fight back, because he never teased. Only talked in a calm, deadly voice that had her believing everything he said, and doubting herself.
Realizing that it was starting to get dark, she stood and continued in the direction of the park. Once there she could find a tree to hide under, where no one would disturb her. As she walked, she remembered something else. Another conversation with Darien. Only he hadn't been mean, in fact, he had sounded as if he was actually worried for her.
She was once again running to school, even way more late than usual because she had called Aaron just as he made her promise. Even though he knew she had to go to school. She had only recently changed her hair and she was still getting used to there being only one ponytail instead of two. The conversation she had with Aaron was distracting her. He had once again said something about her hair and she had tried to convince him that she had changed it just for him. To make him happy. Aaron hadn't believed her.
Serena turned the corner in front of the arcade and just as always ran head on into Darien. "I'm so sorry!" she exclaimed through her tears. The strange look on his face silenced her.
"Meatball Head?" he asked. "What did you do to your hair?" He actually sounded as if he had missed seeing the twin tails.
"I.... umm.... I decided to try something different. That's all. Besides, Aaron likes it better this way." She hadn't meant to add that last part, it had just slipped off her tongue.
Helping her to her feet Darien gazed at her in obvious concern. "So. Why did you change it?" Then, as if he had just notice the tears, he reached up to wipe one cheek dry. "Are you okay, Serena?" he asked, actually shocking her with the use of her name.
"I'm fine," she insisted, jerking back from his touch. Already she had started to feel worthless and unlike before she no longer felt she could hold her own against Darien's teasing. Moreover, the gentleness he was showing scared her. Aaron was only ever gentle when he got extremely angry.
"Are you sure?" Darien pressed.
"Yes! I'm fine, now leave me alone!" Serena yelled and ran past him. Trying to get away from everything only to find herself at the last place she wanted to be. School.
Ever since that day Serena had often wished she could just stop and argue with him, or maybe even have him hold her. The first thing she had learned though was that whenever she mentioned Darien's name she was bound to get hurt, bad.
It was completely dark now and Serena found a spot even better than a tree to hide under. There was a large bush that appeared almost hollow inside, all the branches starting higher up then bending down to sweep the ground. Her sweater caught on a twig as she crawled in and she carelessly yanked on it, not caring that she ripped a hole in the sleeve. That was another thing Aaron's remarks had changed in her. She no longer felt comfortable in t-shirts and shorts. Now she always wore baggy jeans and big sweaters.
Suddenly a tingling spread throughout her entire body and she felt the need to transform. Something was wrong and the scouts were fighting. She fought the urge, cuddling deeper into the bush. They didn't need her. Serena had finally realized that everything Raye said was true. She was a useless crybaby. That had all been made clear to her at the last fight she had bothered to show up at.
Everything was going fine. The scouts appeared to be winning, like always. Sailor Moon held back, knowing the other girls didn't need her, not yet. There was more than her normal aversion to fighting holding her back though and she knew it. The constant insults she had been getting from Aaron lately were the cause. She tried not to let them affect her. Told herself she didn't care. Maybe she didn't, but they cut deep all the same. Because somehow he managed to find all the things she secretly doubted about herself and tell her how true those doubts were.
He was affecting her self-confidence and her ability to stand up for herself. Even she knew that both of those were important in being a scout. Just then, Sailor Mercury ran by yelling, "Come on Sailor Moon, we...." Her voice died when one of the long tentacle arms of the cardian wrapping around her waist.
Sailor Moon was closest and by all rights should be the one doing something to help Mercury. But she froze. This was worse than where she hesitated in every other battle. This time she couldn't move, without any possible chance of making her body obey her mind. All she could do was watch as Mercury struggled for every breath. The thing that finally saved Mercury was a red rose that flew through the air.
Horrified at herself Sailor Moon didn't respond when the others yelled at her to finish it. Finally, a combined attack from all the scouts and Tuxedo Mask dusted the cardian. They didn't say anything to her afterwards; she didn't give them a chance.
She turned and fled.
Her body's shivering pulled her away from this latest memory. It had started to rain but the bush was thick enough that she wasn't getting that wet. Just then, her hole lit up and thunder shook the earth. Screaming, she tried to hide further into the bush but that wasn't possible. Maybe she should crawl out and go home. Except, what if he was out there waiting for her. Mad at her for sneaking out of his bed.
That was what finally made her too scared to stay with him. She may be worthless but there was no way she was going to let him hurt her like that again. Serena believed whole-heartedly that she would be better off dead rather than with him.
There was no way she could have run to the scouts or Darien though. They must hate her now for sure because of the way she had been avoiding them. She wished they didn't hate her. She needed someone to talk to other than the wind.
Serena walked wearily down the street toward Aaron's house. In her hand, she held two plastic wrapped dresses. Aaron had told her to come over with them. He was going to choose one
and then take her out for dinner. She didn't want to go, but she didn't have the strength to say no.
Arriving she knocked hesitantly on the door. He answered with a smile on his lips but Serena could see the meanness in his eyes that he didn't bother to hide anymore. Walking in silently she handed him the dresses. He took them out of the plastic and surveyed them both. Both were short, like he had told her to bring. He chose the one with the lower neckline.
Retreating into the bathroom, she changed, grateful for the long sleeves that hid the bruise on her upper arm. She stared at her reflection in the mirror. The dress was white cotton with white lace draped over it. At the hem, there were three lines of pink ribbon sewn to the lace. It used to be her favorite, before. Now she didn't think she would be able to look at it again, let alone wear it.
They arrived at the restaurant just before nine o'clock. The waiter showed them to their table. Serena slid herself into her chair, surprised that Aaron had held it out for her. Letting him order for her she found that she was actually hunger when the food arrived. Still, she couldn't eat too much. Aaron already said she was getting fat.
It seemed she didn't have much to worry about though. After the food arrived, Aaron told her to move her chair around the table so she was sitting closer to him. Of course she moved. However, she immediately regretted it. His hand found its way onto her thigh and up under her dress. Though he didn't do anything, just rested his hand, Serena lost her appetite. On top of that, whenever he turned towards her, he never looked at her face. With her sitting so close to him he had a perfect view right down the top of her dress. She didn't dare stop him from looking.
Dinner was over and she wanted to go home but he had ignored her pleas and driven to his place instead. Serena felt as if she had no choice but to follow him in. The door had barely closed before she felt his teeth pushing into her lips as he kissed her savagely. At first, she wasn't sure what he was up to but then she heard the rip of fabric.
"No. Stop!" she cried. Only to have her head snapped to the side by his fist. She had a feeling she would have a black eye come tomorrow.
"Don't you start complaining now. You know as well as I do that you have been wanting this all night. Dressing like you did then letting me look my fill at supper." His voice was the calmest she had ever heard and she was terrified. "This is your entire fault you know. If you didn't want it then you shouldn't have made the invitation."
Then ignoring all her protests and anguished cries, he preceded to rip the dress off her slight frame and rape her. Having no choice but to submit she had laid there until dawn came and he fell asleep. Fear and pain held her in place until after noon. Then, as quietly as she possibly could she climbed out of the bed and pulled on the jeans and sweater she had worn to his place the afternoon before. He woke up just as she slipped out the door and his angry yell followed her as she ran down the street.
Now she was here under this bush. Still sore, crying and terrified of both the storm and the chance that Aaron might find her, Serena refused to move. Eventually though the rain became too much for the little bush and she soon found herself sitting in a puddle of mud, forced out of her hiding spot. Too scared to go home, where she would be alone, she started to walk aimlessly down the street. Keeping to the shadows so Aaron couldn't find her.