*Standard Disclaimer Comin' At Ya*: I Don't Own Sailor Moon. Those rights go to Naoko Takeuchi/Kodansha and Toei Animation. Other things I make no claim to are B.C. Rich Guitars, Trans Ams, and the beautifully inspiring music and lyrics of the Italian metal band Lacuna Coil. All copyrights go straight to them, not to me! Their music inspires me too much to try to rip it off, so there!

AN: This version is the slight (and I do mean SLIGHT) edit of the actual version I was satisfied with (though you all seemed to dig the original post), which happened to get sucked into some wicked black hole somewhere. I may come back and edit it later, but maybe now at least it'll be easier to read. Hope you enjoy it anyway.

~*~*~*~

Andrew paced back and forth across the cramped room nervously, awaiting the guest of the night. He'd wrestled with his decision for nearly a week, but times were desperate and he knew that his choice would save them from having to start all over from the beginning.

His band had gone through gods knew how many vocalists in the past year. It seemed that every time they nearly got the dynamic right, something catastrophic would happen. None of the girls had been able to keep up with them, and it saddened him greatly.

Their sound was a unique one, though they still hadn't perfected it just yet. While their music was along the lines of gothic metal, they'd all agreed that the main vocals should be performed by a soprano female, for a unique flavor. After the last girl had quit to move back home to England, he'd nearly wanted to throw in the towel for good.

True, their guitarist sang, and well at that. But, the female voice was an integral part of this project and Andrew was determined to find the perfect candidate in his younger cousin Serena. She was fresh out of high school and was taking a year or so off before going to college to study art history.

Serena was a dreamer, a lover of beauty and most importantly, had the voice of an angel when it came to singing. The entire family beamed whenever the subject of Serena's voice came up. It was truly her talent, and though she was quite modest, even she admitted it.

Andrew glanced at the clock once more, the fifth time in about three minutes. The raven haired guitarist who sat tuning his B.C. Rich Warlock in the corner sighed mightily at seeing his best friend pacing endlessly.

"Andrew, will you chill the hell out? Mind telling me why you're so nervous?" Darien wondered, still staring at the now still Andrew.

"I don't know. I guess I'm just stressin' for no reason. But shit, we need her to do this, and I don't want to blow it, you know?" he asked, turning to his friend.

"Well, you know her, so you tell me. Can she do it?" he asked, his blue eyes staring a hole into Andrew.

"You mean can she sing? Darien, wait until you hear her is all I can say. You've never heard anything," he trailed off as the door creaked open. Darien's jaw dropped open as the most beautiful creature he'd ever seen walked cautiously into the room, her eyes darting from Andrew to him and back again.

With that one short gaze, he felt like his very soul had been torn apart. One look and he was hooked. That one look had changed him, though he wouldn't realize it for quite some time.

"Hey, Andrew. Sorry I'm late. Some guy stopped me out on the street and tried every tired pick up line in the book on me before I finally told him to fuck off," she said, smiling a bit as she walked over to her cousin.

Darien's eyes trailed from her head to her feet, taking in every detail of her. Her hair flowed down her back like a golden waterfall, her large blue eyes taking in the apartment.

She was a tiny girl, not much over five feet tall, though the boots she wore made her a few inches taller. The purple spaghetti strapped dress that angled diagonally across her legs accentuated them quite nicely, her tall black boots reaching up to her knees. Adorning her delicate looking wrists were black star studded cuffs and a small silver ankh dangling from a purple suede cord hung from her neck.

"I'm not surprised," Andrew told her, turning to see Darien gawking at his obviously attractive cousin. The ebony haired man quickly erased his amazed expression and pretended to no avail to look uninterested.

"Sere, this is our guitarist, Darien. You'll never hear anybody play better than this son of a bitch," he said with a grin, and Darien chuckled.

"Damn straight. Nice to meet you," he said, extending his hand to her. She looked him dead in the eyes, blue clashing with blue, before shaking his hand politely. A spark so intense that it could've started a fire shot through them both, and she had to jerk her hand away to keep from being consumed by it.

'What the hell?' she wondered silently, still gazing into his intense eyes. She'd never seen eyes so deep and full, and wondered what stories they held behind them. Another disturbing thought entered her mind at roughly the same time.

'Damned hot, too,' her mind commented, and she wanted to smack herself. She was here to sing, and that only. Somehow, though, she couldn't quite talk herself into believing that.

"So, Serena. You sing?" Darien asked, still fiddling with his perfectly tuned guitar.

"You could say that," she said coyly, hoping to make him kill over when she demonstrated her natural talent. She loved showing cocky bastards that she was more than just a pretty face. This one looked pretty damn cocky, too.

'How amusing,' she thought, a smile slowly spreading over her face.

"Andrew, can we get this going or what?" she griped, crossing her arms over her nicely developed chest. Darien bit his lip hard, nearly drawing blood. How old was she again? Legal, right? He'd have plenty of thoughts to occupy himself with tonight.

"Sure, if you're in such a damn hurry," Andrew huffed, walking over and picking up his bass.

"You know me. Places to go, people to see," she said wickedly, looking to Darien for his reaction. A small smile, so tiny that he probably thought she wouldn't notice. But she had.

"Chad should be back in a second. You sure you're ready?" Andrew asked.

"Always. Are you ready for me?" she quipped, and both men laughed. Andrew hadn't told him she was so insanely attractive. Sex appeal would be on their side, anyway. If she really could sing, this would be great.

Just then Chad walked in, and he nearly dropped the cymbals he was carrying on his foot. THAT was Andrew's little cousin?

'Holy shit! I love Raye, I have Raye, I love Raye,' he repeated to himself, clapping his open jaws shut quickly before someone had to mop up his drool.

"Serena I presume?" he choked out, plopping down heavily upon the stool behind his drum set.

"Hey. That's me. Are we ready now?" she prompted, tapping her foot anxiously.

"Let's do this," Darien said, getting to his feet. She then noticed how tall and damn gorgeous he really was. His forearms looked huge, from playing so much, she guessed. His hair fell over into his eyes if he leaned forward just so, and she cursed herself for caring where his hair fell. She walked over and took her place behind the mic, wrapping her fingers around it as she assumed the position.

"I hope you're loud, Serena, cause that's how we play," Darien told her, plugging into his amp and releasing a loud riff into the air to prove his point.

"No problem. Let's do 'To Myself I Turned', she said, having memorized that song first.

"Sure thing. Tear it up, little girl," Andrew said, before Darien's guitar cut through the air again. Right on cue, her melodic voice rose above the softly rising music around her.

As she sang, and even Darien was impressed, her voice unlike anything he'd ever heard.

Usually he didn't even give anyone a chance, but she was right. She really could sing, and she knew the words by heart. She must have been reading over their songs a lot to have it covered so well already.

The chorus came, and she belted it out like a pro. Obviously, on key high notes were no problem for her, either. Her voice was beautiful, echoing over the music like vapor magnificence. No one else they'd played with had sounded nearly as good or as soulful as she did then.

She continued on with the song perfectly, until it was over and she was standing there, a gorgeous smile across her face.

"Well?" she asked, waiting for their judgment.

"You sound great as usual, Sere," Andrew told her, looking to Chad.

"Yeah, totally awesome. You're in for me," he agreed, turning to the pensive Darien.

"You, man?" Chad asked, waiting for the answer.

"Well, that song sounded good, but we can't let one determine it. Let's try another," he suggested, loving the challenging look she gave him.

"Ok. We'll do 'To Live is to Hide' so we can see how you two sound together. You know that one, Sere?" Andrew asked.

"Fuckin' A. Let's go," she answered, giving Darien a wink. He swallowed hard, wondering how wrong of him it would be to attack her after the other two were occupied with something else.

This time, he was first to sing, keeping time perfectly as he played.

It was Darien's turn to start the song off and Serena watched him all the while, thinking to herself that their female fans must ogle him when he took the stage.

He looked like a god standing there, playing the life out of his guitar, his voice echoing around the room above the sound. Her time was coming, and she let loose at just the right moment. On cue she took on the lyrics, feeling a pair of intense eyes upon her the entire time.

Something very mysterious loomed about him and she wondered what the hell it was. And why hadn't Andrew mentioned how damn attractive he was, anyway? Maybe because it hadn't occurred to him? Yeah, probably. The second song finished, and her audition was apparently over.

"Well, little girl, welcome to Forsaken Future," Andrew welcomed, and she smiled. Darien couldn't help but think of what a pretty sight she made.

"Thanks, man. You guys won't regret it. I won't bail on you like those other prima donnas!" she giggled.

"We'll see," Darien muttered, and she strolled over to him.

'Shit,' Andrew thought. 'Don't fuck with her, man,' he silently pleaded.

His cousin was as sweet as cane when she wanted to be, but she could and would defend herself against self righteous assholes when she had to.

"What's wrong, Darien? Don't you like me?" she asked with a pout. Gods, she was gorgeous. Serena had an innocent allure to her, like a woman child that knew exactly how to seduce anyone stupid enough to fall for her tricks.

"I don't know you," he replied flatly. Her eyes sparkled as she made her quick reply.

"Well, maybe you'll get to," she said, turning on her heal and starting for the door.

"Practice tomorrow?" she asked Andrew, still feeling Darien's eyes burning into her from behind.

"Yeah, same time. Where are you off to now?" he wanted to know.

"Oh, you know. Just checking out the populous. You never know when you'll find someone interesting," she answered, grinning over her shoulder at the seemingly annoyed Darien.

"Nice to meet you, Darien. Looks like you're stuck with me," she mocked. The place he'd like to be stuck with her popped immediately into mind. It involved a blindfold, some whipped cream and her tied to a bed. He licked his lips at his wicked thought, glad that no one could see into his depraved mind. Andrew would probably beat him to death with his bass if he knew what he was thinking about his cousin.

"I'll manage," he muttered, amusement upon his handsome face.

"You too, Chad. See you guys tomorrow. Later, Drew," she said, before disappearing out the door.

After a moment of brief silence, Chad's voice erupted.

"Man, Andrew, is she single or what?" he demanded, and Andrew looked amused while Darien anxiously awaited his answer.

"Why, Chad? Aren't you in love with Raye this week?" he joked, and Chad huffed.

"Fuck yeah, but is she? I just want to know," he defended, twirling a stick in his hand.

"Well, as far as I know she is. I think that guys tend to either annoy or intimidate her, though I don't know which," Andrew pointed out.

"I find it hard to believe that anything intimidates her," Darien piped in, playing a few riffs on his guitar before sitting it down.

"Looks can be deceiving, man. She isn't nearly as tough as she looks," Andrew told him.

"Had me fooled," Darien griped, thinking that she must be a damn good actress.

"She's a hard ass on the outside, but it's just to keep people at bay. You'll see soon enough," he told him.

"How do you know?" Darien asked.

"Because she's already scared of you," he said simply.

"Scared? Of me? Are you fucking nuts?" he demanded.

"No. I know how Sere works. She tests people. She likes to figure people out," he said.

"Well, whatever you say. She can sing better than anyone I've ever heard. Think she'll be ready for next week's show?" he asked, his mind totally blown by her presence. He'd never been so overwhelmingly intrigued by anyone after just one meeting. He made a mental note to explore the issue further.

"She'll be ready. She's a smart chick, sometimes too smart for her own good."

"Ok, then. This should be interesting," Darien muttered, his mind full of odd things.

~*~*~*~

Darien spent the entire night tossing and turning, having brooded the entire day over the fact that he couldn't stop thinking about their new lead singer. Had their ever been such an angelic face? Such a gorgeous laugh or such challenging eyes?

"Fuck," he griped loudly, dunking his head under the running water of the bathroom faucet. The other two occupants of the apartment were still asleep, oblivious to his troubles. He tried to think of the situation reasonably for a moment. He mentally went over the facts in his head.

One: They were in a somewhat popular band. People knew who they were and people attended their gigs regularly.

Two: They were three attractive males and women were constantly throwing themselves at them left and right. Chad was dating a girl named Raye, and from what Darien knew, he was pretty damn hung up on her too. Andrew dated here and there, but was never really with anyone. He himself, however, was well known for having a new girl every few days. The reputation preceded him, and he wasn't very proud of it either.

But, something went on that only he knew about. He hadn't slept with all of them. Usually, as it turned out, they'd get on his nerves by batting their eyes or giggling excessively or by just being a bit too amorous for his tastes. Even he needed his space. Darien had been lonely for quite some time, as he'd grown very tired of attention from wannabe groupies.

Three: Serena was, without contest, the most gorgeous creature he'd ever laid eyes upon. If he were to see her out somewhere, he knew he'd be trying those dumb ass pick up lines on her as well. Along with her looks came an alluring smile and those crystal blue, all knowing eyes. She seemed older than she was, at least that's what her eyes told everyone. He wondered what went on behind those eyes. Maybe she'd allow him to find out.

Four: She was Andrew's cousin, and he seemed to be fairly protective of her. Being beaten to death by your best friend for being too forward with his family wasn't a good thing. Darien decided to watch her for now, to let her voice filter through his soul as it had the previous day, and to ask as many questions as Andrew would allow him to.

~*~*~*~

Ten o' clock came all too soon, but Serena was looking forward to it. She straitened the red tie she wore along with a black button up shirt, looking at herself in the mirror. She saw a pair of sapphire eyes looking through her and wondered what it was about Darien that made her feel so vulnerable.

She was very used to attention from men, but his made her weak in the knees. He seemed so powerful, like he could bend anyone to his will. Even her, she guessed with a sigh. What would it be like to have those strong arms around her, or to run her fingers through that ebony hair? She shook her head, clearing it of useless thoughts.

He was too much for her. One look at him told her that he was a heart breaker. Serena wondered how many women he'd loved then left as they slept. She shuddered at the thought of him with another woman, and it only disturbed her further.

Why did she care who he fucked around with? Perhaps there was more to this than met the eye. As she bent over to zip up her boots there was a knock at her door.

"Who the fuck now?" she griped, peeping through the hole in the door. "Great," she muttered, opening it for her land lord.

"Hi," she managed, plastering on a fake smile.

"Serena. My, don't you look lovely, as usual," the sleazy man greeted, eyeing her hungrily. Not again.

"Can I help you? I was just on my way out," she said, hoping he'd leave her be. She didn't want to be late.

"Well, I was hoping that you could. You see, Serena, with times being as they are, I'm afraid I'll be raising your rent again. $500 a month now," he told her, and she cringed. That was merely double what she paid now.

"What? You know I can't afford that!" she shouted, anger burning in her eyes. This man was the devil, that she was convinced of.

"Well, I'm sure, Serena, that we can work something out," he said, taking a step towards her. She stepped back, her mind screaming orders at her.

"As in?" she questioned, already knowing the answer.

"Such a beautiful body," he said, reaching out a hand to touch her. She stepped back again, eyes wild.

"Share it with me, and I'll lower the rent. Simple, don't you think?" he asked, and her rage exploded. Her knee found its mark directly in his groin, making him double over, his face turning blood red.

"You sick son of a bitch! I'd rather slit my own throat than let you touch me! Fuck you and your fucking rent!" she shouted, shoving the nearly unconscious man out into the hallway. He'd be incapacitated for a while, but she had to act fast. Her skin crawled where he'd touched her and she shook thinking about what could've happened.

The phone rang at ten thirty, as Andrew paced yet again. She was late and that was strange. Darien and Chad looked up as he answered.

"Hello? Sere, where the fuck are you?" he asked loudly, and Darien frowned as Andrew's decorum turned grim.

"He what? Did he fucking touch you, Sere? Are you ok?" Andrew demanded, his fists clinching as he listened further. Darien got to his feet, walking over to his friend. What had happened to her?

"Sure, you can stay here. Don't move. We'll be there in ten minutes. You're sure your ok? Alright, we're coming," he said, slamming the receiver down hard. He tried to take a breath before he exploded.

"Andrew, what the fuck is it? What happened?" Darien asked, as Chad came to join them. Andrew looked positively livid.

"That bastard land lord of hers just told her he'd raise her rent if she didn't fuck him. Who the fuck does he think he is? Oh, man…when we get there, he's dead!" he roared, as Darien grabbed his car keys off the table.

"What the hell? Is she ok?" Darien demanded, his own anger growing by leaps and bounds. Who'd have to nerve to try to take advantage of her?

"Yeah. She kicked him in the balls and left in lying in the hallway. I told her she could stay with us for a while. I hope you guys don't mind," he said, aiming the comment mostly towards Darien. He looked a bit pale. She'd be under the same roof as him, sleeping near him, so close and yet, so far away he thought.

"Come on. She has to clear out before he comes to," Andrew said, starting for the door. Darien wasn't worried about it, though. If the bastard did come to, a hard meeting with his boot would remedy the problem nicely.

~*~*~*~

Darien pulled his Trans Am around back, leaving it running in case they needed a fast break. They found Serena leaning over the fire escape, a couple of suitcases and belongings at her feet. She waved as they approached before picking up a suitcase.

"Ready?" she shouted, before hurling it over the edge towards the three men below. Andrew caught it with an "Ooomph" before the next one came hurtling down towards Chad. As they went about cramming them in the car, Serena came climbing carefully down the ladder until she reached the end, still hovering a good eight feet above the ground. Darien looked at her, trying not to peer directly up her skirt.

"If you let me die, I'm going to haunt you," she informed him, before releasing the ladder and free falling to the Earth below.

He deftly caught her up in his arms, holding her against him to soften the impact. The fire roared to life again, and it was evident on both their faces that something was up. Andrew and Chad turned just in time to see him standing there holding her, and her hands clamped tightly onto his shoulders.

Their faces were only inches apart and Serena's eyes looked as though they'd fall from their sockets. They were staring at each other open mouthed and Andrew nearly cracked up at seeing the usually unshakable Darien taken so aback by his younger cousin. Even so, he couldn't help but frown.

Seeing the two in such close proximity was more than unnerving for the poor man. Memories assaulted him, though he fought them all back into submission. She was safe now. And that was all that concerned him for the time.

Darien stared at her, seeing the wonderful look of surprise on her pretty face. It would be so easy to kiss her, he thought, his eyes drifting from her wide eyes to her lips and back again. How would she taste? Sweet like honey, he thought, struggling to keep from it. The sound of Andrew clearing his throat snapped them both out of their small reverie.

Darien lowered her to the ground gently, her body running along the length of his and threatening to kill him without mercy. He wondered if she'd noticed how obviously turned on he was, releasing her from the cage of his arms as her feet touched the ground. She stared up at him, endless emotion in her eyes.

"You ok?" he managed, swallowing hard as he struggled to keep from losing himself in the depths of her eyes.

"Oh, uh, yeah. Yeah, I'm fine. Thanks," she nearly choked out, forcing herself to take a step back.

She'd never felt as safe before in her entire life as she had in his embrace, however short a time it may have been. This man was something unlike anything she'd yet to know, that much she accepted, but why? Why did he have this power over her? She regained her senses momentarily, turning to her smirking cousin, who'd seen the electrical storm that erupted when the two had locked eyes with one another.

"Ready?" he asked simply. She nodded.

"Thanks for coming," she said sheepishly, turning back to Darien.

"Sure," he answered, heading to the car. A very, very cold shower was in order.

~*~*~*~

The ride back was mostly quiet as Serena sat in the passenger's seat curled up into a ball. She felt dirty for some reason, like her beauty was a curse of some kind. Occasionally she felt Darien's eyes upon her, and a warmth would spread over her immediately, like the rays of the sun.

Andrew and Chad watched with amusement from the back seat at what was going on in front of them. Usually when Darien was attracted to someone, he'd just go after her. But, Serena seemed to have him totally confused and totally enchanted by her every move.

In turn, Darien made her trip over her own tongue, which was unheard of. No one had ever managed to leave her speechless before, so that alone had to account for something. Andrew wondered what other odd situations would be born of these two near each other.

"You're sure you're not hurt?" Andrew asked from the back seat.

"Huh? Oh, yeah. I'm ok. Just pissed off," she answered, her voice icy.

"I can't believe he actually tried that shit with you," Chad chimed in, leaning forward into the conversation.

"Well, he did, but it'll be the last damn time. I don't think he'll ever father any children," she noted with a victorious grin.

"Was he still out when we got there?" Andrew asked.

"I think so. He can rot out there, for all I care. He'd deserve it," she said darkly, continuing to gaze out the window at the orange evening sky.

"Yeah, he would," Darien said suddenly, and she turned to him. The fading sun outlined his profile nicely and she was content to stare at it for a few moments before resuming her staring out the window, her poor heart still thumping a bit irregularly.

~*~*~*~

That's all for chapter 1. So, let me know what you think, good, bad or ugly. I'm a woman! I can take it! Ja ne!

*Cosmic Moon Baby*