A/N: Finally. Last chapter. Depressing, I know, but not as depressing as the fact Sailor Moon doesn't belong to me.
My Disclaimer Haiku:
A golden-haired klutz,
She is Princess of the Moon,
And I don't own her.
A/N: I know, I know, I need to get a life. But writing Sailor Moon haikus are way more fun than the English homework I keep putting off – I wish I could use Starlight Honeymoon Therapy Kiss on Romeo and Juliet. They'd probably be happier that way. But I'll shut up now.
(The End. Finally.)
He's Tuxedo Mask. Darien is Tuxedo Mask.
Bunny felt strangely calm. Eerily calm.
Is it because I know that it doesn't matter? Because neither of them would ever have liked me anyways?
Maybe it was the calm before the storm. The deadly quiet before the tsunami crashed down. Because he would come and find her. She knew he would, because he would want to find out how a ditz like her could be Sailor Moon. And if he wanted to find her, he would find her whether she wanted him to or not, because somehow, Tuxedo Mask always found Sailor Moon.
So Bunny ran. Maybe if she ran fast enough or far enough, she could escape it. Wear herself out so that when the tsunami arrived and swept her away, she would be too tired to care.
But her leg was hurting. The wet bandage that she had clawed half off at the arcade before she looked up and seen him was flapping in the wind like a limp, broken wing, and the icy wind stung her torn skin. She had to slow down. Had to stop while she could.
Right on cue, her foot caught in a root, and she went sprawling in a typical Bunny klutz attack. The nerves of her legs wailed in protest, and she whimpered as she levered herself to her knees. Ow…
She wrapped her arms around her heaving chest and looked around. Unsurprisingly, she was in the park, on the bank of the brook that meandered through the park. A couple of leaves brushed against her cheek; she turned and saw that she was sitting next to a weeping willow – how appropriate.
I shouldn't be moping about like this, she thought, somewhat guiltily. Ami'll be worried, and I left my communicator in my bag, so if there's a youma attack, they won't be able to contact me, not that I'm good for doing anything in battle anyways…
…crybaby…can't even dust a youma without Tuxedo Mask's help…stumbling around like an idiot…
Rei's voice bounced around in her skull. Ami hadn't refuted any of it, so she must have agreed…and Ami was the smart one, so if she thought that Sailor Moon was no use in battle, then it must be true.
But Darien didn't agree, pointed out a corner of her mind that she was afraid to listen to. And he should know, he's been at just as many battles as Ami and Rei…he said he trusted you…
But that was before he found out that Sailor Moon was me.
Bunny jerked around, then flinched as her leg protested at the movement with a particularly vicious stab of pain.
"Miss Haruna?" Bunny's eyes landed on her red-haired teacher, arm in arm with a brown-haired man. Both were dressed in paint-spattered jeans and t-shirts, and Miss Haruna's eyes were sparkling. It was quite a different Miss Haruna than Bunny was used to seeing. She seems so relaxed and happy.
"Bunny, what are you doing out here at this time of evening? It's almost dark," said Miss Haruna, relinquishing her companion's arm and starting towards Bunny. "Shouldn't you be at home?"
Without waiting for an answer, Miss Haruna looked at the man over her shoulder and said, "Robert, why don't you go buy me an ice cream? Bunny and I are going to have a quick chat."
"Peach sherbet?" asked Robert in a voice that clearly said he already knew the answer.
"Peach sherbet," confirmed Miss Haruna with a fond smile. She plopped down Indian-style beside Bunny.
"Diet or fat-free?"
"Okay, okay." He laughed, backing away. "I get the message, I'll leave you to your girl-talk."
"About time, too!" Miss Haruna crossed her arms across her chest and watched him leave, then turned to Bunny. "Bunny, hon, what's wrong? You look so sad."
"I – I'm okay," lied Bunny quickly.
"Bunny, I'm a teacher. I can smell a whopper like that from a mile away. Why don't you tell me what's wrong?"
"I – I – I wouldn't want to interrupt your date," stammered Bunny.
"Oh, Robby won't mind," replied Miss Haruna with certainty. "He knows you're one of my favorite students."
Bunny gaped. "Me – one of your favorite students?" she squeaked. "What do you mean? I'm always late, and I sleep in your class, and you give me detention!"
"Exactly. You remind me of myself at your age," said Miss Haruna. "Which isn't exactly a compliment, I guess – but that's not the point. I never got to class on time either, and my grades were certainly nothing to be proud of either. So I guess you could say I have a bit of a soft spot for you, Bunny."
"Um – then why do you give me detention all the time?"
Miss Haruna flashed a toothy smile. "Love hurts."
"You're telling me," Bunny agreed, then paled. "Oops."
"Aha! Something is bothering you!" exclaimed Miss Haruna triumphantly. She sobered quickly. "Boy trouble, isn't it?"
"How do you do that?" Bunny said in amazement and a little bit of annoyance.
"Hey, it wasn't all that long ago that I was in high school. I know how to read the signs. So c'mon, spill. What's the problem?"
Bunny sighed. She won't leave until you tell her something. Might as well tell her the truth. Well – the Luna-censored one.
"It's, um, this guy," Bunny began tentatively, looking at her hands. She seemed to be doing that a lot today. "I like him…a lot. Not enough to, um, declare my love or anything, but enough that my heart skips when I see him and, I'm disappointed when I don't see him, and it makes me happy when I talk to him, and he makes me laugh, and – " You're babbling again, Bunny-baka! "Well, I'd go out with him if he asked me," she finished, blushing.
"I see." Miss Haruna nodded sympathetically. "So…does he like you back?"
"No. Well, I don't know – I mean, yes, I do know, because he couldn't, and he doesn't – " Bunny's shoulders slumped. "It's messy. But I'm pretty sure he doesn't like me back." And even if he did, we couldn't be together.
Miss Haruna smiled gently. "Why not?"
"Why not?" Bunny echoed in confusion. "Because I'm clumsy and nowhere near as pretty as other girls, and I get awful grades and eat a lot and klutz out every two steps, that's why not!"
"You haven't looked in a mirror lately, have you, Bunny?" asked Miss Haruna with a wry grin. She leaned forward. "Do you know how often I've wished I had your figure? It's true, you eat nonstop – but you're still the smallest girl in the class! And your hair – I would kill to have hair like yours, Bunny. I've heard lots of girls in the class say the same thing. And you know why they say that, Bunny? Because they like you. When they're feeling down about something, you listen to them. You've got a smile for everyone everyday. Do you remember when Ami first transferred to our school? I was so worried that she wouldn't make any friends and that the other kids might ostracize her, so I was planning on asking you to hang out with her and introduce her to some other kids. But by the time I remembered to ask you, you'd already become best friends with her!" Miss Haruna tapped her heart. "That's where your strength lies, Bunny. Right here. Don't worry about those other flaws, honey – none of us are perfect. In fact, it's our imperfections that keep people from hating us." Miss Haruna frowned. "Do you get what I'm trying to say?"
"Yeah…yeah, I guess so," said Bunny slowly. So I make friends with people. Big deal. My flaws certainly don't keep Rei from hating me. "Thank you, Miss H." At least you tried.
Miss Haruna stood with a wide smile and brushed her pants off, clearly fooled by the dazzling – though fake – smile Bunny flashed at her. "Always happy to help a favorite student. Especially when it comes to loooooove troubles," she teased, starting down the path. She waved. "See you tomorrow!"
"Bye…" Bunny watched Miss Haruna disappear, then heard something rustling in the leaves behind her. Her hand flew to her brooch, then fell. She turned to face the tree, tilting her head and feeling her heart pound. A youma…?
Instead, an ebony head and a red Azabu High blazer dropped down from the tree branch. "Y – you heard all that?"
Her heart dropped to her toes as an ebony head and red Azabu High blazer dropped down from the tree branch. "Y – you heard all that?"
Darien nodded awkwardly. "Uh – yes."
Safety, was all Bunny could think. She needed safety, an anchor. Safety in insults. "You…you…JERK!" She aimed a kick at him. He darted out of the way. "How could you eavesdrop like that? Have you no morals!"
"Hey, it's not like I knew you were going to confess your undying love for me!" Darien retorted, darting out of the way of another kick. He wore a huge grin, and Bunny realized that he was going to make this hard for her – he was going to tease her for having a crush on Tuxedo Mask, instead of pretending her flirting had never happened. She didn't know whether to be relieved or heartbroken. "I just came to give you back your schoolbag!"
"I did not confess my undying love for you," Bunny said sharply.
"Fine, be that way, Odango." His eyes danced, in the same way that Tuxedo Mask's had. How many times had she longed to see those dancing eyes without a mask? Hundreds, but now that her wish had come true and she felt sick. She wanted to run. Run away like the wimpy little bunny that she was, because she had no right to see him like this. No right to feel about him the way she did. "Why did you run out of the arcade?"
…crybaby…can't even dust a youma… idiot…
"Bunny…." His shiny black loafers stopped in front of her; she blinked back tears and hugged her legs tighter to her chest. If she just kept silent, would he leave her alone? He was kind enough to do that, at least. "Why did you run? Why are you crying?" She felt his fingers pulling back the curtain of hair from her face, just like he had done on that night, when he had drawn it back so that she could see her wound. Déjà vu, what a sense of déjà vu. "Did Rei make you cry? Cause if she did, I swear, Bunny – "
"No! It's not Rei!" Bunny blurted out frantically, head flying up to look at him. Why did his face have to be so concerned! She didn't want him to care about her at all if he couldn't care about her the way she wanted him to! The lump in her throat reduced her voice to a whisper. "She didn't do anything…this is all my fault. I'm sorry, I'm really sorry."
"Bunny, what's your fault?"
"All of this." She buried her head again in the damp folds of her tea-soaked skirt – the minty scent was suffocating. "You thought Sailor Moon was someone strong…I'm sorry she's not what you thought she was. I never meant for you to find out – "
"There you go again! Why do you keep belittling yourself like that? Didn't you hear anything I said at the arcade?"
"I heard it," said Bunny, voice muffled. "But it's not true. I suck at this fighting – I'm not strong. Rei is strong. Rei should be the leader. All I ever do is risk their safety – and yours. All I do is drag everyone down."
Darien exhaled frustratedly and raked his fingers through his hair. "There you go again! Why do you keep belittling yourself? Is it so hard for you to comprehend that you're the most important person on this whole damned planet? All that stuff Rei was spouting off – it was trash. Her own selfish jealousy. You don't see her dusting youma by herself. You don't see her traipsing off to battles alone so that her friends can get some extra study time! You're the only reasons the Dark Kingdom hasn't overrun the whole city by now. And you're…" his voice trailed off, and he gulped. "You're the one who makes me feel like I have a purpose. Like I have a reason to smile."
"No…" Bunny scrambled backwards, the fog retreating. She tried to sever the thread that sewed her gaze to his, but couldn't. "No…you don't…I'm not…"
"Not what?" he gave her a small, uncertain smile. "Not the reason I'm so happy I can hardly breathe right now? Bunny, do you know how happy I was when I found out you were Sailor Moon? I was so worried, I felt like some player, having the same feelings for both of you – but you're the same, it was you all along!"
"No!" Bunny blurted out. "You can't! Darien, I'm not good enough for you! You deserve someone better –someone better, someone smarter or braver – "
"Buns, I don't want someone stronger or braver. There is no one stronger or braver than you. Even if there was, I wouldn't care! No one knows me as well as you do. No one ever took the time to know me the way you did."
"I don't…you can't….I don't know you that well!" Bunny protested desperately – anything to keep him from going on. Her dearest wish come true – but he couldn't. He couldn't!
"You don't?" He grabbed her hand, dark eyes searching her face. She felt the tsunami rearing once more, washing the words from her mouth and leaving her speechless. She couldn't move, couldn't speak, couldn't breathe. "What's my favorite flavor of ice cream?"
Bunny gulped, palm sweaty. Could he feel it? "Chocolate. But I only know because I've seen you order it in the arcade – "
"Which class do I hate the most?"
"Literature. But – "
"What's my favorite drink?"
"Chocolate shake, but you usually order coffee because you need the caffeine, and you add like fifty packs of sugar to make it sweeter because otherwise you say it tastes like cigarettes – "She knew that by now she was babbling, but his eyes were distracting her. " – and you always say you can't understand why I like strawberry so much, because strawberries only taste good with chocolate, but I say that strawberries are healthier than chocolate, and you should eat healthy since you want to be a doctor… " She sucked in a shaky breath. His hand tightened around her wrist; her ribcage tightened around her heart. "Darien…"
"Do you understand now?" His voice was soft and gentle. He kept his distance, the only contact between them was his fingers grasping her wrist. "None of that other stuff matters. Not Sailor Moon or Tuxedo Mask or youmas or Rei or your flaws or mine…in fact, do you know what my favorite thing about you is, Bunny?"
She shook her head mutely. Then smiled fleetingly, thinking of a conversation a few night ago – "My fuku?"
Laughter bubbled forth from his throat. She smiled shyly back, watching him. As he laughed, he threw his head back into the moonlight, and she saw the grin unfurled on his face. It burst the cloud that had hovered above her heart, and sent a cool, cleansing rain pouring down upon her aching psyche.
"Buns…" He grabbed her other hand and pulled her towards him. She didn't resist, merely rested her head against his neck, smiling into his blazer. "Actually, that's close."
"Hentai," she grumbled into the red material.
"Hey, I'm a teenage boy, not a Jedi," he protested.
"Just answer the question, Cape Boy."
"Fine, fine. Wait – what was the question again?"
"You are such a jerkwad." Bunny sniffed and pulled away from him. He laughed and tugged her back again.
"Just kidding, just kidding – okay, my favorite thing about you is your klutz attacks."
Bunny lifted her head and stared at him in slack-jawed astonishment. "You're kidding, right?"
"No, no, I'm serious." He grinned at her. "After all, if you didn't klutz out the way you did, Tuxedo Mask would never get to whisk Sailor Moon into his arms, and I'd never get to bump into you everyday in front of the arcade – God, I never would have even met you." A frown knotted his brows, and he hugged her closer. "Thank God you're such a klutz, Buns."
Bunny laughed. "Now there's something I never thought I'd hear coming out of your mouth."
"Yeah, well I never thought I'd hear you confessing your undying love for me to your math teacher."
"I did NOT confess my undying love for you! I said I would go out with you if you asked me!"
"Same difference. Is Saturday night good for you, Odango?"
"Stop calling me that, your jerkwad – wait a second. What? Could you repeat that again?"
"Oh, come on." Darien rolled his eyes. "I know you heard me. You're just trying to make me beg."
"Well, you'd do the same thing, if it was the guy who'd made fun of everything about you for the last year asking you out."
"No, I a guy asked me out, I would turn around and walk away very quickly," corrected Darien. "And I refuse to beg. Superheroes don't beg."
"Fine." Bunny thrust her nose into the air, turning away from him. "Then I won't go out with you."
"Then I'll kidnap you!" He scooped her up.
"DARIEN!" Bunny squirmed in his arms, beating his chest. Her face felt like it was on fire.
"What? You know you think it's romantic," Darien teased, jumping up to the tree branch with her. "Just like a prince stealing his princess off into the sunset – "
"Hold up, buddy – since when am I YOUR princess!"
"Since I saved your live about two billion times – you know, in some cultures, that would make you my slave." Darien smirked suggestively down at her.
"You HENTAI!" Bunny screeched, blushing furiously. "And weren't you the one telling Rei that I didn't need any help fighting youmas?"
"I said you didn't need the Scouts," drawled Darien. "I conveniently left the matter of Tuxedo Mask's necessity open."
"Yes, how convenient," agreed Bunny with a roll of her eyes.
Darien sniffed. "You're not a very supportive girlfriend."
"GIRLFRIEND? Since when am I your GIRLFRIEND?"
"Must you make this so complicated?"
"Of course I do. I'm a girl."
"You better have." Bunny punched his arm. "Hey, Darien – why were you carrying your glove around in your school bag?"
"My glove – oh my God, Buns, your leg, I totally forgot about it!" He immediately leapt back down to the ground and set her down, his fingers reaching or the soaked bandage. "Is it okay?'
"Yeah, yeah, it's fine," she insisted, grabbing his hands and forcing her to look at him. Twinges a bit, but I'm not about to let him get distracted. "You didn't answer my question."
He looked up at her and grinned. "Did that last sentence feel a bit like déjà vu?"
Bunny laughed. "To tell you the truth, Darien, everything feels a bit like déjà vu when I'm with you."
"Oh." He propped his forehead against hers, eyes and mouth grinning. His breath stirred her hair. "Well, let's hope that we get a lot of déjà vu when we're doing this." His lips met hers.
Bunny's arms wound around his neck. In the back of her mind, she felt that tsunami looming up again. This time, she did nothing to stop it, and it crashed down, flooding her mind and sweeping away all her inhibitions and fears in a spray of cool, refreshing water that was blue and warm.
Blue like his eyes.
And warm like his grin.
A/N: WOOHOOO! My first series EVER is DOOOOOOOONE! Oh, yeah, oh, yeah! It doesn't even matter right now that I have a huge science project due in two days that I haven't even started. I wrote a whole series! Yes!
I hope this met all of your expectations. A lot of people had questions in their reviews like, "Why did Tux have the glove with him?" and "How could he touch the tiara without being burned?" Both are questions that I'm thinkgin about tackling in a sequel, so I don't want to give them away quite yet…however, I am sad to say that I won't be starting the sequel unless a.) a lot of ppl want one, and b.) I finish "Not Drunk" and write at least five more chapters for STC and Why We Can't.
Anyway, guys – lots of love! Thank you so much for all your support – your reviews were the sunlight and rain nurturing my stories as it struggled to put out roots.