Laugh
A short story
Author: Hi! It's me! ChibiCori!
e?mail: Grant a wish upon a star and e?mail me at
kamikaze_bunny_eater@yahoo.com
website: chibicori.virtue.nu
Rating: It should be just PG, but it is probably a PG?13, knowing me.

Disclaimer: So I heard this rumor that Naoko Takeuchi owned Sailormoon.
Sooooo.....why are all these other people writing stories about them?
Isn't that.....stealing? Big Cori eyes Say it ain't so?! Waaaaaah!
Sniffle Okay, I'm over it, how bout you? Ahhh, the beauty of a
solid disclaimer.

Summ: Ahhhhh, so we join our young couple on a peaceful night. At
least it was until Serena decides that she is going to make Darien,
honestly, truly laugh. Is our little odangoed?one's work cut out for
her in this one? Read to find out!

Laugh

Serena couldn't picture a better Saturday night. She and
Darien were snuggled up, warm as a couple of bugs in a rug, on his
couch. The sun was slowly sinking into the blue waters of the bay and
dark shadows emerged in the nooks and crannies of Darien's apartment.
The only artificial light in the room was the TV screen flickering
bright then dim on the two lovers.

Serena sighed, then buried the side of her face into Darien's
cotton covered chest. She smiled softly at the steady beating of his
heart under her ear. He smelled like soap and faintly of aftershave.
His grip tightened around her waist and she instinctively knew that he
was looking down at her, his eyes brimming with passion. Serena
found herself lifting her head to meet that aforementioned passion in
a soul searing kiss, but was quickly distracted by Bugs Bunny as he
strode across the screen in full drag.

Serena's uproar of laughter ripped through the room and Darien
sighed in resignation as he dropped his arms from around her waist.
He'd lost her to the bunny again. Serena took the freedom of movement
as a chance to sit up as the hysteria racked her body.

"Oh, my tummy hurts!" she cried gleefully, pulling her knees up
to her chest and wiping roughly at a tear hanging onto her lashes.

Darien made a disbelieving sound, "I don't see how a cartoon
bunny dressed up as a girl can be so funny to you."

Serena's head snapped up and she stared at Darien incredulously,
"How can it not be? First of all, Bugs Bunny is THE MAN! Only he can
pull off the things he does. Besides, he is a talking rabbit who can
strut his stuff as well as any girl. Which ain't easy in those heels,
I'm telling you."

Darien couldn't help but smile at her enthusiastic defense of
the wise-cracking wabbit. The smile was fleeting though, and hastily
concealed, but Serena caught it.

"Ha! I saw that! You know exactly what I'm talking about.
Admit it, you think Bugs Bunny is THE MAN, don't you?" Serena accused,
jabbing her fingers into his chest as she kneeled next to him on the
couch.

Darien scoffed melodramatically, then grabbed her wrist. He
held fast to it as he jerked her to him so she straddled his lap, "No.
I, am THE MAN."

Serena simply rolled her eyes as she draped her arms over his
shoulders, then stilled in thought before nodding, "This is true."

Darien grinned wide as he trapped her face between his palms.
He lowered her lips to his and kept her there, trapped in his kiss
for a few long moments. Finally, she began to wriggle away, desperate
for air. When he didn't release her immediately, she began to swat at
his shoulders and chest. After a few more moments, he freed her, and
a loudly gasping Serena collapsed against his chest. After a few
solidifying breaths, Serena allowed a cynical chuckle to take up some
precious oxygen;

"You are most definitely, THE MAN."

"No doubt about it." Darien mused as he propped his chin on top
of her head.

Another giggle escaped her as she twisted around in his lap
just in time to witness Daffy Duck getting his beak shot off by a very
confused Elmer Fudd. Laughing until her sides ached, Serena turned
back to Darien to comment on the close race between Daffy and Bugs for
second place, but nothing left her mouth. Darien was just looking at
the TV with a blank expression, not one chuckle or even a "ha" passed
through his lips. He didn't even look mildly amused!

Serena blinked, then began to study his face, truly puzzled at
this enigma. A thought crossed her mind, and Serena's eyes widened
with the realization. 'Oh no, I need to put a stop to this!'

Darien's, who hadn't noticed the sudden shift of Serena's
thoughts, attention turned back to the bubbly angel in his arms and
was greeted with her curious stare. He halted a moment, let his eyes
span from one end of the apartment to the other, in search for
something out of place that would have changed her attitude. Not
finding anything out of the ordinary, Darien looked back at Serena;

"What?"

Serena opened her mouth to say something, but hesitated,
shutting it again. She then tilted her head to the side and asked,
"You don't laugh much, do you?"

Darien's jaw dropped and he shook his head to be sure he was
hearing right. He then lifted her off his lap and set her beside him.
She simply tucked her feet underneath her, sitting Indian style and
sat so she faced him directly, her eyes still asking the question she
had just voiced.

"Why do you say that?" Darien finally managed, choosing to
answer her question with one of his own.

Serena shrugged then said, "Because you don't. I've noticed
you smile more, but you rarely ever laugh. I mean a gut-busting,
side-splitting, knee-jerking, tear-inducing laugh."

Darien grimaced slightly, "Well, that sounds pleasant. Why
would I want that?"

"Because it is the best kind of laugh! It leaves you totally
drained of worries and all that's left behind is happiness. You feel
brand new after those kind of laughs. And for as long as I've known
you, I've never heard you laugh like that." Serena pointed out.

Darien smiled slightly, then looked away as he realized she was
right. He shrugged as he looked out at the darkening sky;

"I don't know, I suppose I don't have much of a sense of humor.
Andrew is constantly teasing me about..."

When Darien turned back to Serena, he let his sentence trail
off as he stared in amazement. Her face was an inch away from his,
her eyes crossed and her cheeks puffed out.

Darien stared a moment before asking, "Uhhhhh, what are you
doing?"

Serena answered through puckered lips as she began to pull on
her pigtails, "I'm trying to make you laugh."

"But I just told you-"

"And I don't believe you. Everyone thinks something is funny.
We just have to figure out what you think is." Serena announced, then
sucked in her cheeks and moved her lips like a fish.

"Well, it's not that." Darien stated, though the corner of his
mouth betrayed him slightly by quirking skyward.

Serena's silly faces immediately deflated and she looked at him
disappointedly for a moment. After deciding that it was a good thing
that her boyfriend didn't think she was funny looking, she slumped
back into the couch and crossed her arms over her chest, her brow
knitting together in thought.

Darien wasn't accustomed to thoughtful silence when Serena was
around. He shifted uncomfortably, looking at Serena for short moments,
then at every other object in his apartment for others. Sweat began
to form on his brow as the silent moments stretched into minutes.
'What is she up to?'

"I got it!" Serena exclaimed suddenly, causing Darien to jump visibly in
his seat, "Oh, I'm sorry, I didn't mean to scare you, but I thought of
something to get you to laugh!"

Darien's stomach rolled nervously, "Heh, and what's that?"

A sly smile spread across Serena's face as she subtly edged
closer to him. Yet another still moment passed before Serena suddenly
jumped on him, fingers curled into claws as they attacked Darien's
mid?section. When her fingers began to wiggle, Darien stared in
amazement as it dawned on him that she was tickling him. A wolfish
grin stretched his face as he watched her try her hardest, moving up
and down his trunk, but all was in vain. Eventually, her tirade
slowed and she panted as she looked up at him with bewildered blue
eyes. Not a peep, not even a 'hey, don't tickle me!'

Serena suddenly found herself believing that she was in love
with a robot, some android cast in this delicious form.

Darien meanwhile, arched an imperious brow at his frazzled
girlfriend, "You finished?" Serena opened her mouth to voice her
disbelief, but Darien continued, instantly cutting off her protest,
"Good."

And with that, he flipped Serena onto her back and began to
tickle the daylights out of her. Serena could only gasp at first in
utter surprise, but as his fingers moved over highly sensitive nerves,
her automatic response was fits of hysteria and breathless protests.
All too soon, tears formed in her eyes and rolled into her hair line.
She pounded at his shoulders, swatted at fingers and bucked away from
the line of fire.

"Darien! If...you..DON'T....stop this...very..instant..."

"Say uncle!" was Darien's giddy response.

Serena's eyes narrowed in defiance, then let a blast of
laughter go before she declared, "Never!"

"I could go all night you know!"

"Yeah, but...my father...would..hunt you down..and display
your head...on a pike...if you keep me here....all night!" Serena shot
back, giggles breaking into her vow.

It took no more then that uttered promise, one that Darien
knew to be much more fact then fiction. He threw his arms wide and
shot off the couch, ramming a twitching hand through his dark hair.
Deep blue eyes scanned the room nervously, as if Serena's rage?filled
father might come screaming out of any room or space at any second.
He wouldn't have put it past the man to have the room wired, which
only made Darien all the more paranoid.

Serena, meanwhile, was taking this time to straighten her self
out. Sitting up, she ran stiff fingers through her hair, which had
been fitfully tangled from her twisting and turning. After that was
decently enough done, she moved to finger comb her bangs. From under
those honey-gold locks, she looked up at her boyfriend and smiled at
his sudden quirkiness. Geesh, mention her old man and Darien was as
jumpy as a puppet on a string.

"Relax, no harm done. And I have no intention of telling Dad
what we do on our dates."

Darien threw a sickly smile her way, then took a moment to
calm himself. After a brief second and a deep exhalation of air,
Darien turned back to Serena, who had her chin propped on her forearms,
which in turn were settled comfortably on the back of his couch. Her
eyes looked up at him with the same curiosity that they had held
earlier.

"So," she began, pausing a moment before continuing, "you're not
ticklish?"

Darien debated internally whether or not to tell her, then
shook his head. But for the damndest reason, his mouth began to move
of it's own accord, "Well, I am. It's just that I'm ticklish in
highly uncommon spots."

As soon as the words left his mouth, he immediately regretted
them. One look at Serena and it was immediate proof he had made big
no-no. Her head had jerked up off their perch and her eyebrows
quirked skyward. Blue eyes radiated with welcome surprise and a
corner of her mouth tilted up as she replied, "Really? What kind of
uncommon spots?"

This time, Darien reined in his words and shook his head
fiercely, ebony strands falling forward, "No, not telling you."

"Aww, cmon'! You know where I'm ticklish!" Serena pouted from
her seat.

"But that wasn't a real challenge, sweetheart." Darien teased,
then quickly changed the subject, "So, how about that movie? I'll
make the popcorn."

Serena's lower lip protruded even farther in dejection, her
eyes losing some sparkle for a moment. That tiny mili-second was
enough to make Darien spill all the beans, but after the thoughtful
repose, her eyes immediately sparked back to life, back in full force.
He could have sworn he saw mischief flashing behind them, but he had
to be wrong. Serena wasn't plotting anything, she wasn't the type.

'Then why can you hear the guillotine come slicing down?'
Darien gulped quietly and just as discreetly cleared his throat,
"Serena?"

Serena didn't miss a beat, "Great idea sweetie!" then came the
catch, "But I left the movie at Rei's."

Darien's features masked in confusion as he pointed towards
her bag and the video cassette on top, "Then what's that?"

Serena slid a casual glance towards the tape, then shrugged,
"That isn't the movie. It's silly really, but, well...Mina and I went
to one of those places in the mall that you can make your own music
video. If you want to watch it I can just pop it in right?"

"Ahh, no, that's okay." Darien quickly interrupted.

Serena hid a smirk, she knew Darien would fall right into the
palm of her hand when she told him that. Though he was sweet about
it, she knew that he thought she and Mina sang horribly. 'Oh, my
sweet predictable Darien. Tonight, you laugh.' The evil cackle that
followed that internal remark even scared Serena. Thank God THAT was
in her head too, or Darien might have horrifying flashbacks of Beryl.
And he really didn't need to know how truly wicked his girlfriend was.

Yet.

"I'll just call Rei and tell her to drop them by." Serena
chirped as she walked over to the end table that housed his phone.

"Don't make her come all the way out here, we can watch one of
my movies."

Serena nearly cringed as she thought of the film noir and true
life flicks Darien had stored in his entertainment center. Those
wouldn't get a laugh out of him but they'd sure succeed in putting her
out real fast. She needed professional help, "Oh, it won't be any
trouble, she had to make an errand out tonight anyway."

Darien looked at her skeptically before shrugging and heading
to the kitchen entrance, "It's your head when she screams at you for
forgetting them."

Serena nodded and picked the phone up off it's cradle, "I've
been dealing with Rei a bit longer then you have, I know what to
expect. Why don't you get started with the popcorn?"

"Won't it take her a while to get here?"

Serena's mind scrambled for an excuse, and grabbed the most
obvious, "I'm REALLY hungry."

Darien stared for a moment before lifting his shoulders in
indifference again and disappearing into the kitchen. Serena waited
until she heard the microwave start before madly dialing Rei's number.
Moving to a corner farther from the kitchen so Darien would surely not
hear, she waited for the dark-haired priestess to pick up her end.

A distinct click brought Serena's attention to the phone as
Rei mumbled, "Hello, Hikawa Shrine, this is Rei speaking."

"Rei, hi. Listen, do you still have those tapes Mina brought
over for our sleep over the other night?" Serena asked without much
preamble.

"Yeah, why?"

Serena pumped her arm and mouthed 'yes' before gripping the
receiver tightly to her ear, "Great, I need them. Can you bring them
to Darien's?"

"What? No! I'm not hauling all those things over there just
so you can laugh and snort your way through them again." Rei fumed,
shooting the lie Serena had told about Rei going on a couple errands
dead.

"Rei, it is really important. I need them for my master plan."
Serena whined.

"Master plan? Exactly what is going on over there Serena?"

Serena paused for a moment, making double sure that Darien
wasn't around some corner, listening, then answered, "I'm going to
make Darien laugh."

Dead silence was her response before Rei made a strangled
sound and finally squeaked, "You...are going to make Darien...laugh?"

"Or die trying."

Another pause passed between the two before Rei finally said,
"Which ones do you want?"

Serena jumped up and down as adrenalin surged through her
blood, "All of them. I'm gonna have to pull out all the heavy hitters
for this one."

"I believe you." Rei cracked wryly, and Serena could hear her
scurrying in the background, "Okay, I'll be there as fast as humanly
possible."

"Thanks! You're the best!"

"I know, and how could I, Hino Rei, the girl who dated Darien
without getting so much as a chuckle from him pass up the chance to
see the stony visage crumble?" proclaimed.

Serena sweat-dropped and scratched her forehead, "Uhh, yeah-
whatever. Just get down here quick!"

With the order issued, Serena hung up. Darien rounded the
corner just then, holding huge pot full to the rim with popcorn.
Serena smiled brightly at him, rising up on tiptoes to kiss him
lightly on the lips before brushing past him to put the phone back on
the hook.

"Is Rei on her way?" Darien asked as he plopped down on the
couch, setting the popcorn on the coffee table in front of him.

Serena nodded, moving to the table and putting the tape she
had brought with her back in her bag. It was too bad too, she really
wanted to see "The Princess Bride" tonight. But there were more
important matters to deal with. She refused to date a guy who
couldn't let loose once and a while. Besides, what she was doing was
therapeutic in a way. There really was nothing like a good laugh.

And Darien was going to learn that lesson, even if Serena had
to resort to laughing gas. As God was her witness, she would make her
boyfriend laugh his finely-toned hieney off!

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

Serena had never thought she's ever see the day she was
actually full, but that day seemed to have come as she forced the last
handful of popcorn into her mouth. She nearly grimaced in pain as she
began to munch on the light snack. Her mouth had lost all moisture
about 10 minutes ago and swallowing had become harder and harder. The
popcorn practically had to be pureed for her to get it down. Her jaw
hurt from chewing and her throat was scratched from the kernels, but
it was all in the name of true love, so she battled on.

But Serena vowed to herself, that she was never, EVER, eat
popcorn again. Never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever again.

Darien merely watched bemusedely, a hand hiding his grin, but
not the twinkle in his blue eyes. She had said she was hungry, but he
didn't think she was THAT hungry. But then again, Serena was
constantly surprising him.

"I take it that my popcorn?popping skills meet your liking?"
he joked, reaching out to finger strands of silken gold.

Serena, her cheeks still puffed out with popcorn looked up at
him and smiled around the mouthful pathetically, "Yef, fery nife."

Darien's grin widened as Serena finally swallowed painfully.
The doorbell rang, announcing that Rei had come with her videos and
Serena quickly shot up. Thrusting the bowl into Darien's arms, she
smiled her most charming smile while her stomach lurched at what she
had to do next, "Could you make some more please?"

Darien face faulted, then managed a choked, "More?"

"Yeah, I'm still hungry."

"Still?" Darien sputtered incredulously.

'Great, he's gonna make me pull the guilt card.' Serena pulled
her features into her most adorable pout, she glanced down, "Well, you
don't have to, I mean, I understand if you don't want me to eat out of
house and ho-"

"No! It's fine! It's only popcorn after all. I'll go make
some more." Darien quickly appeased, pulling her into a quick embrace
before disappearing into the kitchen.

"Works every time." Serena mumbled proudly, before rushing to
the door as a peal of rings filled the apartment, "Hold your horses,
Rei, I'm coming!"

The last thing she expected was all four of her friends
tightly packed into Darien's doorway. Rei held a load of video tapes
in her arms while Lita was peering over her head into the apartment,
half expecting to see Darien tied to a chair with a gag in his mouth.
Ami was scrambling over her computer, her tongue peeking from the
corner of her mouth as the screen cast a blue light over her reading
eyes. A certain blonde was missing from the picture, but made herself
known when she shoved her way in front of them, holding a video camera
to one eye. The bright light attached to it forced Serena to squint
and she held up a shielding hand over her eyes.

"What are you guys doing here?"

Rei rolled her eyes and hoisted the bag of videos onto her
hip, "I'm here to do you a favor, these guys are here to frighten and
harass you."

"We are not, we're just curious as to how you plan to get
Stonewall Darien to crack." Lita remarked curiously, standing on
tiptoe, again trying to see if Darien had been shackled anywhere.

"Then what's up with the camera?" Serena asked, pointing at
the device still blaring into her eyes.

"This is a monumental event and you think we're going to miss
it?" Mina exclaimed in disbelief, lowering the camera to glare at her
meatball adorned friend, "You are going to catch this for posterity."

Though the idea was highly appealing to Serena, she shook her
head after a few seconds, "I don't think so."

But the look in Mina's eyes plainly stated that she was going
to do this, no matter what, "You have to, just in case it never
happens again!"

"Sure it will-" but before she could get another word in
edgewise, the camera was placed into her hand and the bag of comedy
specials looped over her other arm. Rei and Mina waved their goodbyes
as they dragged Lita down the hallway. Serena watched wide?eyed as
they disappeared around a corner, then looked at Ami, who was
lingering at her side.

"Anything you want to add, Ames?" Serena spoke slowly,
watching as a small slip of paper popped out of the computer. Ami
simply grinned and handed it to her.

"This is the best order to play the videos. From my
calculations of our experience the other night, these combinations
will most likely get a reaction from Darien."

Serena's smile was radiant as she quickly bid her blue-haired
friend adieu and ducked back into the apartment. The microwave in the
kitchen beeped loudly, signaling she was out of time. Quickly hiding
the camera away in the bag, Serena consulted Ami's list and withdrew
a couple videos.

Darien, holding another heaping bowl of popcorn that made
Serena's mouth turn to dust at the sight, sat himself on the couch and
motioned for her to come sit down with his head.

"So, what kind of sappy romance are you going to make me watch
tonight?" He asked, tossing a few kernels into his mouth.

Serena smiled softly, though her stomach slammed against the
wall of her abdomen when he so casually popped the white fluff into
his mouth, and answered, "I think you'll find this week's choices
refreshingly different."

One, dark eyebrow lifted at the promise and his eyes veiled
with interest. Taking a slow steady breath, Serena cried for the
first charge of her one?sided war. Giving the list hidden in her
palm one last check, she slipped a tape into the VCR.

'Start with some classic Monty Python, move onto Bryan Eegan...'
Serena chanted the list order through her mind and pushed the play
button.

If one thing was certain tonight, it was that Darien was going
down.

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

Serena paced the length of Darien's living room madly.
Grumbling to herself softly, she sent a scathing glance Darien's way
before mindlessly growling again. 'It didn't work, I can't believe it
didn't work!'

Darien was seated on the couch, watching his steaming
girlfriend with wide eyes. She hadn't lied, the movies this week
hadn't been romances, but he was getting the distinct feeling that she
was trying to tell him something and he wasn't getting the hint.

"I can't believe you didn't laugh!" Serena finally howled,
halting her pacing and standing straight in front of Darien,
infuriated hands on hips, "How could you not laugh? I laughed and
I've already seen all of these!"

"Sorr-"

"Oh, no. Sorry ain't gonna cut it buddy. I want to know why
you didn't laugh and I want to know now!"

Serena's stance and expression clearly stated she was not a
woman to trifle with at the moment, so Darien shrugged and answered
truthfully, "Because I didn't think any of them was funny."

Serena's eyes widened into perfect round O's, "Not...funny?"
she spun around, whipping blonde pigtails into Darien's face and
grabbed a video cassette from the top of the T.V. She spun around
again and jabbed the tape towards Darien, "How could think that Dana
Carvey isn't funny?"

"Well, as appealing as Naked Time sounds to me-"

"What about Eddie Izzard?" Serena asked, grabbing another
video tape.

"Which one was that?" Darien asked scratching his head.

"The executive transvestite."

"Uhh, no."

Exasperated beyond belief, Serena slammed the tapes back onto
the television, eliciting a distressed sound from Darien. She kept
her back to him as she silently tried to compose herself. She'd never
get him to laugh if she blew up at him. But she was just so mad that
she ate that other bucket of popcorn for nothing. Her stomach would
never be the same again.

"Okay." Serena finally spoke, but her voice shook some in left
over anger, so she cleared her throat and hoped it steadied as she
went on, "I can understand that. I can."

Darien couldn't help but notice it sounded more like she was
trying to convince herself then him, but didn't say anything as she
continued.

"How about a joke then? I heard this really funny one
yesterday!" Serena explained, her disappointment over the comedy
special's failure forgotten as she launched herself onto the couch
next to him, "One day, this duck walks into a store and asks the clerk
behind the counter if they had any grapes. The clerk says, 'No, we
don't.' The duck says, 'Okay.' and leaves. The next day..." Serena
paused here as the true amusement of her joke crept into her eyes and
she had to stifle a giggle, "The next day, the duck comes back into
the store and asks the clerk again, 'Got any grapes?' The clerk says,
'No.' The duck says, 'Okay.' and leaves. The day after that, the
duck comes back into the store and asks, 'Got any grapes.' By now,
the clerk has had it up to here," Serena held her hand up to her
forehead to demonstrate how fed up the clerk was with the grape-loving
duck. By now, her giggles broke into the story regularly, usually
when she said duck, "with the duck and he said, 'Listen, we don't have
any grapes. If you come in here and ask that one more time, I'm going
to nail your bill to this counter.' The duck says, 'Okay.' and leaves.
The day after that...the duck comes back in and...."

"And...what?" Darien asked as Serena trailed off.

Serena's brows furrowed and she put a finger to her chin in
thought before saying, "I forgot the end."

Darien's smile was beatific as he pulled his troubled angel
into his arms and dropped a kiss to the top of her head, "It's okay.
It was a very good story."

"It was a joke." Serena pouted, getting no comfort from
Darien's embrace, "What good is a joke without the punch line?"

"I still found it very interesting." Darien offered.

But Serena wasn't having it, "You don't even want to know the
end! How am I supposed to get you to laugh if you don't want to?"

Darien sighed and released Serena from his arms and picked up
the empty bowl of popcorn, "You shouldn't feel bad about that, I told
you earlier, I don't have much of a sense of humor."

"And like I said earlier, I don't believe it. Everyone thinks
something is funny. But you aren't ticklish, sorta, and you didn't
even crack a smile at those videos and you didn't think my joke was
funny. I bet even if I remembered the end you wouldn't laugh!"

Darien rolled his eyes and stood, rounding the couch and
heading towards the kitchen, "Fine then, ha ha ha. I laughed, can we
drop this and have our date now?"

Serena gasped in indignation and shot up on the couch,
standing on the cushions and pointing a finger at Darien, "No, we
cannot have our date now! I'm gonna get you to laugh dammit!"

Now she was just getting melodramatic. Darien sighed and
shook his head before entering the kitchen. He turned on the water in
the sink and watched in irritation as the water swished and splashed
into the bowl. Why was Serena going through all this trouble just to
get him to laugh? What was it she had said earlier, a side-splitting,
tear-inducing, knee-jerking laugh? Who ever heard of such a thing?
She was just being silly Serena. A lopsided smile tilted his mouth as
he realized how much fun it was when she set her mind to do something.
Maybe he should fake a good laugh to make her feel better, she was
trying really hard.

A sudden flash of blonde streamers swathed in black by the
kitchen entrance caught Darien's attention and he chuckled softly as
he realized that Serena was far from deterred. He grabbed a cloth to
wipe the bowl out and waited for Serena to make her big entrance.

And she did, but he didn't expect anything quite like this.
Wearing a pair of black pants that were 5 sizes too big for her, a
white shirt with a black vest and jacket that went with the pants,
Serena appeared to be imitating Charlie Chaplin. One hand held the
end to a pony tail under her nose as a make-shift mustache and the
other supported her leaning weight on a cane. She shuffled forward
then, revealing shoes that were WAY to big for her. And of course, a
bowler hat sat jauntily on top of her meatballs.

"Serena?"

She didn't answer as she kicked at her cane, sending it on a
few pinwheels before putting it down again. When a corner of Darien's
mouth kicked up, it encouraged her to take the act even further. She
grabbed a banana from the counter and peeled it as animatedly as she
could. She then took a bite out the banana and then shrugged,
throwing the rest of the fruit into a trash can. She then threw the
peel towards the can, but purposely missed. With another exaggerated
shrug, Serena made a few circles, before stepping on the peel and
crashing to the floor.

Darien's first instinct was to aid her in getting up, but she
was already scrambling into an upright position, "Are you all ri?"

When Serena stepped on the peel again and tumbled to the floor
once more, Darien realized it was all part of the shtick. He dried
his hands slowly as Serena looked up at him with a merry grin and
winked saucily.

"Well, how does that tickle your funny bone?"

Darien tilted his head to the side and studied her for a
silent moment before asking, "Are those my pants?"

Serena's jaw dropped and she could only sputter a few
ineligible words before shooting up and raising her arms to accompany
her cry, "I don't believe this!"

"I don't believe you found all that stuff in my closet."
Darien mused, plucking the hat off Serena's head, "When did I get a
bowler?"

The only answer he got was Serena's fiery gaze and a poke in
the ribs to accentuate on each of her words, "Why...won't... you...
laugh?" She didn't wait for an excuse, just turned away and stormed
out of the sterile space. She reappeared behind the counter that
opened into the living room, "I give up. YOU, are hopeless. I value
my sanity too much to try anymore!"

Serena continued on in her fitful tirade as Darien watched,
astounded. Then, something clicked in his head, and the corners of
his mouth began to tremble. Breath began to leave him in strangled
little bursts and tears began to form in his eyes. His face turned a
bright shade of red and he fought hard to repress what he felt was
sure to be the most incredible emotion he shared so freely to date.

"And furthermore, I'm glad I didn't remember the end of that
joke, wasting it on such a big sourpuss would be-" but Serena as got
off when a sudden blast of laughter sounded from behind her. Shock
instantly replaced anger as she turned and saw Darien cracking up.
When their eyes met, Darien seemed to loose all rein he had on his
hysteria and broke completely down. He leaned against the counter,
beating his palm against the formica top merrily. Happy tears spilled
from sooty eyelashes freely, and the only pause in his laughter was
when he dragged in a breath, then started all over again.

"You're laughing." Serena whispered in complete awe, then it
suddenly hit her in full force, "You're laughing now? Darnit Darien,
I was supposed to get that on video for the girls!"

This admission only made Darien laugh all the harder, "Oh God,
my side!"

Serena stamped an angry foot and ran to retrieve the camera.
Pushing the red record button, she spun around and focused it on the
kitchen opening, but Darien wasn't there anymore. Serena yelped and
ran around to the entrance and blinked several times, then rubbed a
hand over her eyes, just to be sure she was seeing what she thought
she was. Darien was sitting on his kitchen floor, bunched up in
hysterics.

Raising the camera to her right eye, she shook her head
slightly as she murmured, "I don't believe this. I can't believe your
laughing now, after all that trouble and - hey, why are you laughing?"

Darien looked up at her with a red face and teary eyes and
pointed at her, but fell victim to another peel of rambunctious
laughter.

But Serena got the hint, "You're laughing at me? Me, your
girlfriend? The girl who busted her hump all night trying to get you
to laugh and you choose to just laugh at me?" her grip on the camera
was nearly crunching and she fought the impulse to chuck the equipment
at his head, "Well, fine. I see how I rate, I'll just take-"

But Darien's long, quick fingers wrapped around her wrist
halted her storming off. She refused to look at him as he pulled her
towards him, and tried to keep the blooming warmness spread from her
wrist into the rest of her body.

"I'm not laughing at you." Darien finally managed, pulling her
down to sit on his knees. Using gentle fingers, he hooked them under
her chin and brought her eyes to meet his, "I wasn't laughing at you."

"Well, I couldn't blame you. I was trying my hardest to look
like a complete idiot." Serena mumbled, her eyes staring past him at
one of his cupboard doors. 'They need to be painted,' Serena thought
quickly, but Darien's soft explanation halted all other thoughts but
him.

"That's just it. I was laughing because I can't believe that
someone as sweet and adorable as you would go to so much trouble to
make an old fuddy-duddy like me laugh."

Serena's eyes crashed to his, the crystal blue of hers meeting
his midnight blue. She relaxed and smiled shyly, ducking her head
some, "You're not a fuddy-duddy."

"Yes I am. I'm the biggest fuddy-duddy to ever walk this
Earth." Darien joked.

Serena caressed the side of his face in a hand, the other
still holding the video camera off to the side, and leaned forward and
whispered, "You're not a fuddy-duddy, you are THE MAN."

And with that, she kissed him. Her lips full of passion and
promise. Darien met her willingly and eagerly. It was times like
these when he forgot about her age, or innocence. When she kissed him
like that he could feel her love for him, and it was ageless. One of
his hands massaged her nape and the other settled on the small of her
back, dragging her even further into him. They melted into one form
and soul then, they're mouths twisting over one another's. The kiss
lingered until it finally spun out, leaving both drained and completed
at the same time.

Serena giggled softly as she fell onto his chest and reveled
in the feel of his strong chin digging into the top of her head. His
arms wrapped around her waist possessively and under the cotton of his
shirt, she could hear his heart pounding in his chest. They'd come
full circle, as they always have. Casting a glance down to the camera,
which somehow had remained in her hand through that universe-shattering
kiss, a slow, evil smile spread across her face.

This is where Darien finds out how truly wicked his girlfriend
is.

"Darien?"

"Mmmm?" Was all she got in response.

"I was thinking, while we had this camera, why don't we find
those highly uncommon ticklish spots?"

Everything stilled after that. Serena could practically see
the inner battle Darien was waging. Then he suddenly rose, bringing
Serena with him. Serena screeched and wrapped her legs around his
waist, then laughed lightly as he exited the kitchen. But when he
passed by his bedroom, her laughter halted and she blinked at him
confusedly. He grinned and winked as he marched her over to his front
door, opened it and plopped her down outside of it. Leaning over to
plant a chaste kiss on her forehead, he waved and said;

"Good night Serena."

He'd never forget the look on her face when he closed the door,
complete and total shock. Her jaw was dropped open and her eyes were
wide, the camera still in her hand. He couldn't help but notice that
the red light in front was on. He couldn't wait to see this tape. It
would be HILARIOUS.

Leaning against the door, Darien waited for the inevitable.
His head bounced against the wood as Serena began to beat on the other
side, "Darien! Let me in!"

"No Serena, you need to cool down. I felt very violated by
what you said." Darien teased, examining his cuticles.

"Oh, whatever!" Serena howled on her side, then began to pound
at the door again, "Think of what my father would think if I came home
wearing your pants!"

"That's not going to work this time!"

Serena growled and began to kick at the door as well as beat
at it mercilessly with her hands, "Remember that sense of humor you
just found? Why don't you use it?"

All she got was Darien's muffled laugh, and behind that, she
could hear the T.V. blaring the end of her cartoon show.

"Th-Th-Th-Th-That's All Folks!"
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I think that pretty much sums it up, don't you think? Feedback!
kamikaze_bunny_eater@yahoo.com!

Muchos Smoochos
Cori!

Written: April 7, 2001