What the Heart Already Knows
A short story
Author: Me, ChibiCori!
e-mail (please!) me at: kamikaze_bunny_eater@yahoo.com
website: chibicori.virtue.nu
Rating: PG-13

Disclaimer: Anybody who doesn't know that I do not own Sailormoon, that the goddess of
all things fabulous, Naoko Tackeuchi owns it, needs to leave. Now, move it! No, I'm just
kidding, all are welcome to Sailormoon Land. But if you say you own it when you don't,
you'll be killed.

AN: Hi all! Here is my very first short! Which turned out to not be very short, but it
is in only one part, so it's a short! So okay, here's the sum- Serena does something
extremely out of character which leaves Darien wondering, "Huh?" It's in Darien's POV,
and he has a really nasty inner voice (signified by a *, while Darien's thoughts are in
' '). And don't look at me like that, we all have inner voices...Don't we?

What the Heart Already Knows

Darien squinted as he shoved the book closer to his face. 'Serves you right, Chiba, for
not bringing your reading glasses with you. You are so vain.' he thought sourly as the
letters continued to blur under his intense focus. *You won't get any arguement here!*
Darien scowled as a shank of black hair fell over his forehead and he ignored it as his
dark, blue eyes tried in vain to see his chemistry homework more clearly.

Of course, he was feeding his bad habit of walking and studying at the same time. Andrew
had always marveled at Darien's knack for multi-tasking. Darien shrugged it off and
claimed the talent emerged from years of practice. He never had time to sit down and
study, he was always either at school, at work or busy saving an adorable super-heroine
from getting fried by the latest Nega-monster emerging from the wood-work.

Darien missed a step and stumbled slightly. Quickly straightening, he resumed his stride
while hiding his red face behind his book. Mentally kicking himself for not being more
focused on what he was doing, he peeked over the edge of his textbook to check out the
damage. He breathed out a sigh of relief as he took in the practically empty street, and
the few who were there seemed oblivious to the fact he was even there.

Thankful that no one had noticed his minor klutz-out, Darien released another releived
breath. If anyone had seen him trip like that, he'd never hear the end of it. 'The last
thing you need is being compared to another infamous klutz.' Darien smirked and took one
last peek over his book. Satisfied that his reputation was still intact, Darien resumed
his reading, continueing to emit the "I'm holier than thou" attitude he was famous for.
*Yep, vanity buddy, You got it in spades.* Darien's inner voice teased. Barking back a
mental 'shut-up' to the annoying conscience, Darien allowed his thoughts to wander to
Sailor Moon.

She was cute, he would admit that. The way her eyes would light up when he showed up,
throwing a red rose just in the nick of time. Or how she would blush a soft crimson when
he held her against him to protect her. She was cute all right, but a mystery to him.

*Oh, yeah Chiba, you should know plenty about that.* the voice snickered. Darien's brow
gathered and he scowled at the periodic table in front of him. So he was a mystery, even
to himself. But he was one step closer, one piece towards finishing the HUGE puzzle that
was his life. He was Tuxedo Mask. Darien's hand wandered to his pocket and he wrapped
tense fingers around the proof that showed plainly he was the caped hero. A Rainbow
Crystal. The key which would unlock the door to all he wanted to know. 'Who am I?'

Now all Darien had to do was find the door, or rather, the princess in his dreams. His
mind flashed her face in front of his eyes. Her figure was in shadow, but he could see
the gold of her hair, flashing the faintest of silver in the moonlight. The princesses
sad blue eyes looking down at him, her sweet pink lips begging him to find the Silver
Imperium Crystal for her. Darien had no idea what she was talking about, but he also
knew that he trusted her. He had to find her and the crystal she asked for, and the
Rainbow Crystals had something to do with it. His fingers slowly released their grip on
the crystal and his eyes narrowed, making his handsome face look ominous. He would get
all the Rainbow Crystals, come hell or high waters. And nothing or no one was going to
stop him. Not even Sailor Moon or any of the Scouts could keep him from discovering his
destiny.

In the back of his head, Darien heard a scream, which immediately made him jerk his head
up. Looking around him, Darien searched for the source of the scream with alert eyes.
After a hard scan of the street, he didn't see anything. Not one Negaverse monster, or
one trace of Zoicite. Rolling his stiff shoulders back, Darien chuckled to himself, 'Boy,
you're getting paranoid. Now you're hearing things.'

He had just lifted the book back to his face and began to concentrate on memorizing
components of Titanium when he heard the scream again, this time much closer and very
familiar.

"AaaAAAAaaIiiiiIIIieeeEEee! I am going to be so late! Miss H. is gonna kill me! Again!"

Darien peered over the edge of his book and gasped as the meatball head of all meatball
heads herself came hurtling towards him at full speed and screaming at the top of her
lungs. 'She must be really late today, she's really going at it.'And this is when Darien
suddenly realized that he was standing on the tracks as the Meatball Express speeded it's
way towards him. And it also dawned on him it was far too late to get out of it's way.
Darien automatically held his book in front of him for defense and squeezed his eyes shut,
bracing for impact.

But it didn't come. He waited and waited, but not one apendage of Serena's flailing body
crashed into him, or even touched him for that matter. Suddenly feeling lost, he opened
one eye and then immediately opened the other, as his brain failed to absorb what he saw
in front of him.

It was Serena, face flushed and chest heaving as she took in quick breaths. Darien's own
breath, however, caught in his throat and he struggled to release it. Why was it he had
never noticed how pretty she was before? Because she was right then. Her cheeks were
stained a bright pink and her eyes flashed with energy. Her blond hair was a little
wind-blown, fuzzy little ends stuck up out of her meatballs.

Serena seemed to be studying him as closely as he had been studying her. She cocked her
head to the side and gave him a look that took any capability for speech he had away from
him. Straightening her head, she looked at him a little longer before stepping on tiptoe
and brushing the hank of hair he still hadn't fixed off his forehead. Her hand lingered
only a second longer before she dropped it to her side.

Then she did something that amazed Darien only further. As silently as she had been
through the whole interlude between them, she side-stepped on the sidewalk so she wan't
standing in front of him, and began the mad dash towards Crossroads again. Somehow, he had
managed to turn and the watch as two blonde streamers of hair disappeared over a bend and
he heard her distant call, "Look out folks, blonde on a mission here! Gonna be late for
school!"

Darien stood frozen in place for the longest time after Serena had left him, completely
unraveled. It seemed an eternity before he raised a hand to touch shaking fingers to his
forehead, grazing them over the spot Serena had touched him.

Nobody, not since he could remember had ever touched him like that. No one had even
bothered to brush his hair out of his eyes, or place a single caring finger on him.
Darien had always wondered what it would be like, to be touched and held in love and
caring. It was a secret wish that he didn't share with anyone, not even Andrew knew. He
closed his eyes when he thought about the lonely nights when he prayed for lovely fingers
to caress his face gently, and soft arms to encircle his waist and hold him tight. His
dream had finally come true in some small way. And it had been Serena to fullfill it.

That thought brought Darien crashing back to Earth. Serena? Serena had made him feel
like this? And once more, Serena didn't crash into him! The earth-shattering realization
hit him like a truck of bricks. He could have sworn that she had been on a headlong,
bone-crushing course towards him and knowing Serena, he naturally expected to eat
concrete.

Feeling that the world was probably now spinning in the opposite direction, Darien began
to walk again in dazed confusion. His book forgotten, he tried to sort out his jumbled
thoughts so he could concentrate on his lessons when he got to school.

School! Looking down at his watch, his eyes grew wide as he read the time. Looking up,
he tucked his textbook under his arm and began a dead sprint towards the college,
muttering to himself, "I am going to be so late!"

^_~ ^_~ ^_~ ^_~ ^_~

Darien was actually slouching as he walked home from work. He felt absolutely defeated.
He had been late to his first class and felt like ten times the fool as he walked up the
steps to his desk in the lecture hall, every student's eyes glued to him. He understood
why, he had prided himself on his punctuality. It was his strongest point. Well, maybe
not in Nega-sleaze busting, but for everything else, he was always on time.

After the humiliating death march of lateness, he sat miserably and bowed his head in
apology to the professor, who, after a long hard glare at Darien, continued his lecture on
the differences between epicureunism and stoicism.

Darien's ego suffered another hefty blow. He could not get Serena out of his head. He
kept seeing her eyes looking at him intently, how they seemed to stare straight into his
soul, see the emptiness that consumed him and accepted it. But behind the understanding
was something else, something he didn't care to name. The whole concept frankly scared
him to death.

As Darien crossed the street, his hand roamed back up to his forehead, where he could
still feel Serena's warm fingers branded on his skin. He'd been doing it all day. In his
head, he'd been replaying the whole scene. The way her head had cocked as she looked at
him, how her eyes sparked with that unmentionable something. How, when she rose on her
tiptoes, her mouth had been tanatlizingly close.

He found himself dragging the touch of her hand out for thousands of moments longer than
it had actually been. Then, the memory morphed into a fantasy where her hands had stroked
through his hair after industriously sweeping it out of his eyes. He could almost feel
the softness of her hands on the back of his neck as she tugged his head down to her hers.
His mind's eye saw her eyes close and her mouth opening ever-so-slightly, he chin tilted
upwards to meet his hungry kiss-

*Woah! Stop right there big boy! What do you think you're doing, having X-rated fantasies
about Serena of all people? Meatball Head!* that annoying inner-voice scolded.

Though Darien agreed with it whole-heartedly, he couldn't help but answer back, 'It was not
X-rated!' The voice simply stated, *Yet.*

He had to get her out of his head. She was just a silly, clumsy junior high kid who was
always eating or crying or- *touching your soul as not other human being could with one
touch.* the voice threw in.

"Who's side are you on?" Darien grumbled outloud.

Giving himself a mental shake and finished the rest of his trip to the arcade, where a
soda and a conversation with Andrew would fix all his problems. *Gee, that sounds like
the theme song from Cheers!*

As the automatic door slid open, Darien waved at his friend and called, "Hey Andrew,
what's up?"

"Nothing much." Andrew said, smiling the kind of friendly smile he was famous for. It made
men relax and women sigh. Darien, even though smiling was the last thing he felt like
doing, returned it with slight, sickly upturning of the corners of his mouth

Andrew noticed and pointed Darien towards his favorite stool. As Darien complied, Andrew
asked, "I thought you were working today?"

Darien blanched as he thought of the concern his boss showed when Darien had dumped an
entire file into the trash icon, though it was a very important file, because he had been
thinking of Serena again. Not accustomed to Darien being so careless with his work, Mr.
Tomshido thought it would be best that Darien had the rest of the day off.

"Ask me later." Darien finally answered.

Andrew nodded and then took a good look at his friend. He didn't seem to be himself. He
looked kind of distraut. "Hey buddy, you okay? You look kind of-"

"Miserable." Darien finished as he propped his elbows on the counter and scrubbed his face
with his hands, "Miserable would be the right adjetive."

"Why?" Andrew asked, as he poured Darien's usual from the fountain.

"Lot's of things." Darien answered vaguely. Sure, a lot had been on his mind today and
stuff had happened. But it would all be traced back to one, meatball-adorned girl.

As Darien internally debated whether or not to tell Andrew the whole story when the reason
for his distraction entered the arcade. Serena came in with the blue-haired girl, Ami and
a tall brunette he didn't recognize.

"Hey Serena! Ami!" Andrew enthused, waving them towards the counter.

"Hi Andrew!" Serena returned, then pointed to her brunette friend, "You remember Lita,
right?"

"Oh yeah! Hey Lita. Try and be nicer to the machines this time. If they break down, I
gotta fix them." Andrew hooked his thumb at his chest and flashed a smile at her, "And as
anyone can tell you, I'm only good at slinging sodas in this joint."

Lita turned bright red and then looked up at Andrew through glazed eyes, "Sure thing,
Andrew."

Andrew's smile grew brighter and he looked down at Darien, who was staring intently at
Serena. Confusion flashed over his face and he poked at Darien with his finger, "Hey,
Darien? You okay, bud?"

"Huh, Oh, yeah!" Darien started and he realizd that he must look like a total idiot.
Serena and her friends gave him funny looks and Andrew looked concerned. 'Great, this is
just great.' Color crept up his neck and Darien saved face the only way he knew how. By
teasing Serena.

*Don't do it! Don't do it!*

"Why don't you introduce me to your friend, Meatball He-" *He did it. I'm the conscience
of a moron.*

Before Darien could even finish the much hated nickname, Serena's hand flew in front of
Darien's face. It stayed there for a moment until flying to one of her buns, joined by
her other hand. With a mighty yank, Serena pulled out one bun then proceeded to pull out
the other.

For the second time that day, Darien was speechless. Not only from the incredible feet she
had just done, but the fact that she again astounded him with her beauty. Her hair, it was
amazing! Long, golden waves spilled behind her, touching the floor. It framed her angelic
face and fell over her slim shoulders. His eyes swept all over her until coming back up to
meet her eyes. In the blue depths, he saw her dare him to finish. They flashed and again,
that unspoken emotion flared.

Darien felt his heart stop, and a sweat formed on his brow. He gripped the sides of his
stool and suddenly, those fantasies that he had tamped down came flooding back and filled
his mind. 'Oh god, what is she doing to me?'

*You have to ask?*

Darien had not been the only one who had lost his voice. Andrew stared, open-mouthed.
Ami had put a shocked hand over her mouth and Lita, who was new to all this, shifted from
foot to foot uncomfortably.

Serena's eyes searched his for a long silent moment and then she grabbed his hand and put
the pins which had held her hair up, "Keep them."

Darien blinked at the softness in her voice. She didn't sound angry at all. He couldn't
place what her tone was, but it made Darien warm to hear it.

Her hand slowly slid away from his and she turned to Ami and Lita, "Let's go check out the
new Sailor V game guys. I hear it's way cool!"

Hooking her arms through the crook of their elbows, she led them to the back of the arcade,
her movement causing her hair to billow out behind her. She threw a call over her shoulder
before disappearing completely, "See you later, Andrew!"

Andrew rose his arm and waved, then looked at Darien in shock, "What was that all about?"

Darien looked down at the pins in his still warm hand, and felt his heart grow heavy. 'I
don't know.'

*Somehow, I'm not surprised.*

"I don't know." Darien repeated, this time outloud.

Andrew looked at his best friend, who simply sat and stared at Serena's hair pins. An
idea struck him suddenly, Serena and Darien.

"Darien, I think-"

But before Andrew could tell Darien what he thought, Darien stood and pocketed the pins,
"I'm gonna go. See ya later, Andrew."

"Hey." Andrew called and Darien looked back at his friend and saw the understanding in his
eyes.

"Yeah?"

Andrew took a deep breath and cast a glance to where Serena and her friends were
enthusiastically playing Sailor V vs. Street Fighters, "It's okay to take your walls down,
Darien."

Darien blinked, then asked, "Why?"

*Think, stupid!*

"To let her in."

"And who is 'her', Andrew?" Darien asked, his heart leaping into his throat. What was
Andrew saying?

"The One." Andrew smiled softly.

*Duh!*

"The One." Darien repeated.

*Yeah, The One. Is there an echo in here?*

"Yep, the one person who will give you all the answers to all the questions you've ever
had. Your soulmate. You have to lower those defenses of yours or she'll never be able to
get in."

*You know what, Andrew is the only one of your friends I actually like. He's a smart guy.*

"The One." Darien repeated softly, then looked at Andrew and managed a crooked smile for
him, "Thanks, Andrew."

Andrew waved away his thanks, "No problem. Just be open, and everything will be fine."

With that, Darien left the arcade, his head swimming. As night fell over the city, Darien
wandered aimlessly from place to place, his mind always straying to Serena and her
beautiful face and her beautiful hair and her beautiful soul. Was it possible for someone
to be that beautiful? Sure, Serena did have her flaws, like great big zits on her nearly
perfect package, but her heart was always in the right place and the more he thought about
it, her meatballs were perfect for her.

Each place he stopped, he wondered how he got there, not remembering leaving the last
place and walking to the next. 'Snap out of it Dare, I mean all she did was take her hair
out of those ridiculous buns!' Then the little voice laughed and said, *Didn't you just
admit 'those ridiculous buns' were perfect for Serena?* Ignoring it yet again, Darien
called himself every name in the book for trying to read to much into Serena's actions
today.

*Nooo, we can't do that without looking on the inside, can we? It's too scary in here.*

She was getting back at him, pure and simple. She'd finally snapped after almost a year
of relentless teasing, that's all. Serena had obviously decided to give him no valid
reason to toss his usual barbs at her.

Darien fought the disappointed sigh that tried to escape his throat. He would not sulk
over some little, whiny, klutz of a junior high kid. Even if the whiny, klutz of a junior
high kid was the most beautiful, caring and strongest girl he had ever come across.

Darien was surprised that he had chosen strength as a characteristic of Serena's. She was
always cryng and falling all over herself. Why would he think she was strong?

Because he had seen it. In her eyes when they always had a clash. She spat curses and
names at him and let every word he shot back bounce right off of her. Before he would
have thought it was because she was just thick-skinned, but now it was very clear to
Darien that it was because of her strength she suffered his constant jabbing as well as
she did.

He winced as he considered the possibility that anything he had said to her might have
hurt her feelings somehow. *Now who's thick-skinned, pretty boy?*

Darien muttered something about getting a new inner voice as he passed a construction
site. He read the sign simply to take his mind of of Serena.

"Coming soon: New Virtual Reality Arcade and Theater." Darien read, then added, "Hmmm,
that sounds kind of neat. A little childish maybe, but I bet Serena would love it. I
should mention it to Serena when it opens and-"

His words immediately froze him in his tracks. What was that about? Who cares if Serena
would like the new arcade? *You do! You do!* And it wasn't like he was actually
considering taking her when it opened, he would just mention it to her. *Right, whatever
helps you sleep at night.* He did not want to date Serena. *Yeah, uh-huh. And I'm the
Queen of Crystal Tokyo.*

Darien caught himself before he actually growled, at himself! He fought to keep his cool,
but it was much harder then he expected when he wanted to kick the crap out of himself,
which he was severely tempted to do.

"I am losing it." Darien cried in despair, "I am going slowly insane! I keep having that
stupid dream, I'm hearing voices and now I'm talking to myself while trying to not KICK MY
OWN ASS!"

His last sentance immediately halted his rant. *A little louder Mr. Whacko, the folks in
Okinawa said they missed the last part.* Darien stuffed his hands in his pockets and
looked around him to see if anyone had seen his little outburst. The street was again,
blessedly free of people. A woosh of breath rushed from his lungs as he bent over and
propped his hands on his knees. His reputation was still safe from scandals and gossip.

*Screw you reputation boy! You're gonna need a straight-jacket if you don't figure out
what is with you real quick!*

"Argh!" Darien cried as his hands flew to his head and began to yank at his once perfectly
groomed hair.

"Umm, Darien?"

Darien stilled, his hands still holding handfuls of hair. He twisted around slowly to see
which one of his friends had caught him acting like a baboon in front of a half-finished,
VR arcade.

It was Serena. She stared at him curiously and then asked, "Darien, are you okay?"

Darien's eyes swept over every inch of her. Her hair was still down, it spilled to the
sidewalk like golden rain. She was wearing a light blue apron dress with a white hoodie
underneath. A crescent moon hung between the soft swells of her breasts. Darien hastily
diverted his eyes up to her face, which looked up at him with wide, curious eyes.

*Great man, just oggle the girl's goods why don't you? Can you say jailbait?*

'SHUT UP!!!!"

*Okay, geesh! Can't take a joke?*

Serena's voice interrupted Darien's internal dialogue, "Hello? Is anyone at home?" she
waved her hands in front of his face, then stood on tiptoe to peer closely into his face.

Even though they were in the middle of an empty street, Darien could feel the atmosphere
around them thicken and shrivel. Her eyes were level with his and her breath washed warm
over his lips. Though he knew she wasn't doing in on purpose, Darien felt every muscle
tense as all he could think of was kissing Serena. How would her lips feel, how would her
mouth taste? Did she even know how to kiss? Darien found himself
silently wishing he would teach her how.

Without warning, and to both their surprises, Darien's arms suddenly snaked around her
waist. With a jerk, he pulled her body to his. Serena quietly gasped and stared at him
with fear in her eyes. If it hadn't been for that subtle flash of want he caught in her
eyes along with the fear, Darien would have never done what he did next.

Darien had stared at her angelic little face for only a second before lowering his lips to
hers. Serena gasped again, and he felt her tense momentarily before she seemed to melt
into him. Her arms moved around his neck, stretching her small body along his. She
stepped up on tiptoe again to meet his kiss more fully, then moaned softly at how complete
it suddenly felt.

Darien's grip around her waist tightened, crushing her into him. A hand moved up to the
back of her head, then tangled itself the silken mass of her hair. Changing the angle of
their kiss, Darien flicked his tongue lightly at Serena's bottom lip. She shivered and
parted her lips for him. Taking the invitation, Darien's toungue swept into her mouth.
Serena made a small noise of surprised pleasure and kissed back with a
passion completely foreign to Darien.

This thought was like a bucket of ice water thrown over a fire. What on Earth was he
doing?

*You're practically mauling an underage girl on a public street.* the voice answered him
dryly.

Darien ripped his mouth away from the kiss and stepped back from Serena. He let out a
series of rattling breaths before finally pointing an accusing finger at her, "You-you did
this!"

"Mmmm?" Serena murmured, her head still spinning from Darien's amazing kiss, coherent
thought still far away.

"What did you do to me, Serena?" Darien cried, grabbing Serena's shoulders and giving her
a swift shake.

It did it's job because the dreamy look on Serena's face melted away and was replaced with
confusion, "What do you mean? I haven't done anything to you."

"The hell you haven't!" Darien sputtered, raking frustrated hands through his hair, "I've
been going nuts all day! I couldn't think of anything else but you since this morning.
I was even late to school! Me, Serena. I was late to school!"

"I'm sorry."

"And then I couldn't concentrate at work so they sent me home early." Darien added,
beginning to pace.

"Oh, you weren't fired were you?" Serena asked, putting a hand on his arm.

Darien jerked his arm away and turned back to her, "No, but that doesn't matter. What
matters is that ever since this morning, I have been completely distracted. And do you
know why Serena?"

Serena meekly shook her head, her eyes beginning to fill with tears.

"It's because I can't get you out of my head." Darien said, tapping his index finger at
his temple furiously, "You've been stuck here ever since this morning when you stopped
from a dead sprint in front of me, looked at me with your gorgeous eyes and then just took
off again, without so much as a word!"

"Darien, I-"

"And then this afternoon, when I called you meatball head, well, let's make that almost
called you meatball head. When you took you're hair down and practically shoved the fact
you're the most beautiful person I had ever seen in my entire life in my face!"

Serena blinked, "You think I'm beautiful?"

"Of course I do!" Darien sputtered, his hands flying into the air in disgust, "And you
know full well I do."

"No, Darien!" Serena shook her head in protest, "I didn't have a clue!"

"Right. That became perfectly clear tonight, when you used it to turn my brain to mush."

"No-"

"Yes, you did Serena. If it wasn't for you, I'd be able to think of something else other
then kissing you!"

*Hey sparky! You fight that urge!*

Then, as suddenly as the last one had begun, Darien snatched up Serena's face between his
hands and kissed her. Serena's hands flew to his shoulder, ready to push him away, but
Darien had already lifted his head and now stared at her. Serena gasped as she took in
the unmasked pain. So he was human after all.

*::Sigh:: I tried.*

"Why Serena?" Darien croaked, then cleared his throat and attempted to keep his voice
steady, "Why have you done this to me?"

Serena stared at the ground and shuffled her feet. Darien stood perfectly still, staring
down at her and waiting for her answer.

Then finally, Serena spoke in a voice so small, Darien had to lean in to hear her, "Because
I didn't want you to tease me anymore."

Darien felt his heart crack, he had hurt her with his stupid teasing. The worse of it was,
now he realized the only reason he had ever teased her was because she scared the life out
of him. He'd known from the moment he had first laid eyes on her that she was beautiful
and wonderful. Darien knew with every bone in his body that, Serena, more easily than any
other person on the planet, would be able to settle herself into his life. This day was
proof of that, how quickly she could consume him with thoughts of her. Hell, he was a
walking testimony to what could happen to him if he let his defenses down for even one
moment. Hadn't Andrew said something abouth them earlier? Something about letting down
his walls for 'The One'.

Darien looked dow at the small woman-child in front of him and and wondered, could she be
that. The One.

*DING! And the prize goes to the jack-ass in the green blazer!*

Darian tucked his index finger under Serena's chin and tilted her head back to look at him.
Serena's eyes and cheeks were wet with tears and a fresh torrent of them filled her blue
eyes.

"I'm sorry, Darien. I didn't mean to screw up your life." she sobbed, "I just wanted you
to be my friend, so badly! I thought that if I didn't give you any reason to hate me
anymore, you would want that too."

Darien silently marveled as Serena's words broke down every wall constructed around his
heart. Her life and generousity filled him to overflowing, and for the first time in his
entire known life, Darien loved with his whole being. He admitted it freely, waving it
like a banner under that dumb little voice's nose. 'HA! I love her, I love Serena! What
do you have to say to that?'

*About friggin' time.*

"Darien?" Serena's plea broke into his thoughts and he looked down at her sad face, "Oh,
Darien, could you ever forgive me?"

Darien pulled her into his arms and held her tight, burying his face into her hair. He
took a deep sniff of her scent, she smelled so incredibly sweet, "No, don't apoligize,
Serena." he finally spoke, his voice muffled by her hair.

"But-"

"You don't have to apologize because you haven't done anything wrong. I was overreacting
before. I'm just not used to feeling this way. You've made me come completely unglued in
less then 24 hours." Darien joked, straightening to look down at her.

"I'm sorr-"

"No." Darien interrupted again, putting a silencing finger to her lips, "You don't have to
apoligize for that either. In fact, I should be thanking you."

Serena blinked in confusion, "Why?"

Darien picked up one of her small hands and held it over his heart, "For forcing me to
tear down my walls."

Though it was night and the street poorly lit, Darien could see her blush. He also saw
her eyes flash with that unspoken emotion again. Darien's heart slammed into the wall of
his chest, his soul begging him to name it. Could she possibly love him too?

Serena slipped her hand free and walked past him a bit, her expression confused and
hopeful. She stopped and turned to him, her voice heavy with the latter, "Does that mean
you'll be my friend now?"

Darien wondered if his heart would ever start beating again after what he had just
witnessed. Serena had transformed magically in his mind's eye as she turned back to him.
As she had turned, a breeze had caught in her hair, sending it floating around her. Silver
streaks were accented by the light of a full moon that glowed in the background. Her eyes
were glistening with spent tears and her face had tilted in an almost sad way at him. It
was his dream princess! Serena was his princess!

"Darien?" Serena asked again when he had failed to answer, "Do you think we could be
friends now?"

"No." Darien shook his head finally, "No, I don't think that is possible."

Serena looked wounded and her tone was unbelieving as she asked, "But...why?"

"Because I don't think friends do this." Darien explained as he stepped forward, swept her
into his arms and slanted his lips over hers. Serena's eyes widened in shock, but it was
not long before they slid shut and she returned Darien's kiss.

When he finally finished the kiss, Serena looked up at him with a dazed and somewhat
confused expression on her angelic features. 'She's it. My One, my princess.'

"I love you." Darien felt the words escape from his heart, but did not panic or wish them
back when all was said. He did love her, after all.

Serena looked up at him in shock. She gasped and shoved away from him, "Why did you say
that?"

"Because I do." Darien stated simply.

"But-but, you hate me!" Serena studdered.

"No, I don't hate you. I love you." Darien corrected her calmly, "And I've loved you ever
since I met you."

"But you always teased me." Serena pointed out, her eyes beginning to shine brightly.
Were they tears, or something else?

"I teased you because I was scared you'd see right through me. It was a defense mechanism
really, everything you ever say or do hits too close to my heart, and I got scared. And
being scared of you scared me even more. Serena, do you have any idea how much you could
hurt me?"

"But-"

"No more buts, Serena." Darien demanded sternly, grabbing her upper arms, "I've always
thought that love was impossible for me, but you've proven me wrong. I love you, Serena.
And I know that I might have to wait a while for you to believe I do. And you may not
love me either, but I hope with time you-"

This time, it was Serena interrupting him, though she used a much more effective way to do
so. Grabbing his face between determined palms, Serena pulled it down as she lifted up on
tiptoe to kiss him soundly on the lips. The rest of Darien's speech was muffled out and
when Serena's tongue slicked over his lips, Darien whole-heartedly bid her welcome.

As the kiss came to an end, both thought they saw the stars exploding in the sky. It was
the best kiss both had ever experianced. Well, except for the previous three they had
shared.

Serena pulled away slowly and looked up at Darien, her eyes radiating that emotion that
Darien happily named, "Serena, you do love me."

Serena nodded and giggled softly, ducking her head for a moment before looking up at him
with soft blue eyes, "Yes I do. I love you very much."

Darien's face split into a wide grin as he let out a celebratory call and swung Serena
around in his arms, "You love me!" he then put her down and asked, "Since when?"

Serena's face screwed up in thought then looked at him seriously, "Probably as long as you
have loved me, but I didn't realize it until this morning."

"Really?" Darien's eyebrows arched and he scratched his head, "I wonder why we both just
realized it then?"

"Well, I really didn't think you felt the same way I did, so I thought I'd settle for a
friendship if it was at all possible. That's why I was trying so hard not to annoy you
today." Serena admitted, looking up at him with adoration, "I'm so glad I didn't run into
you this morning. And that I took out my meatballs too, or you might have never fallen in
love with me!"

Darien's face became serious, looking at her critically. He then reached into his pocket
and took her hand in his, "Tell you what. I'll be your friend for as long as I live if you
promise to always run into me every time you see me, and always wear you're hair up in your
meatballs."

Darien placed Serena's hairpins into her hand and then closed her fingers over them. Serena
looked up at him, her eyes shining with love, "Forever?"

"Forever."

Serena glanced at her closed fist, then said, "So, in exchange for being trapped with
meatballs for the rest of my life, you get to be my friend for as long as you live? That
doesn't sound very fair."

"It isn't." Darien admitted, pulling her closer, "It's set up entirely in my favor. This
way I get to be with the girl I love and her meatballs for the rest of my life. How can I
lose?"

Serena laughed as she rose her lips to his, "You can't."

"That's right." Darien softly said as his lips fell over Serena's to kiss her again. And
again, and again, and again.

^_~ ^_~ ^_~ ^_~ ^_~

The next morning, Darien was trying a new form of multi-tasking, whisteling while walking,
when he heard a familiar screech.

"AAAAAAAiiiiiiEIIEEEEEEE! I am so toast! I am gonna kill Luna as soon as I get out of
detention. Better yet, the furball get's a flea bath!"

Darien grinned as he watched Serena barrel blindly through the crowded street. He then
positioned himself directly in her path of destruction.

*Dear God man! Don't do it!*

'Hey, she owes me one.'

*Have you gone completely crazy?!*

'Crazy in love.'

*Oh, yuck! Did you just hear yourself right there!?*

Darien smiled even wider, if it was even possible, as Serena hurtled over the last
obstacle before him. Laughing softly he thought, 'I am out of my mind.'

*You won't get any arguement here!*

Darien stifled a laugh as he braced himself for he and Serena's inevitable collision.

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

All done! E-mail me and let me know what you think! kamikaze_bunny_eater@yahoo.com

Muchos Smoochos
Cori!