A/N: Again, I make Rei out to be the villain. I really shouldn't – I really don't think Rei is that bad. I even love to read fics about her and Jadeite. Someday I'll write a more Rei-friendly-fic, I promise.
This is a pretty short story, just a little vignette that's been in bits and piece on my hard drive for a while. I decided to sew it together, because I need a romance fix – it's HARD making Serena and Darien's relationship move so slowly in STC.
Disclaimer: I don't own Sailor Moon. It's a good thing, too, because if I did, all the Rei-lovers would lynch me or something.
Don't Want You To See
"I wonder why Sailor V wears a mask."
Rei snorted at Serena's stupidity. "Cause she doesn't want the Enemy to recognize her, duh."
"Rei…" Ami's voice was strained, and weary. How many times a day did she have to scold Rei for being mean to Serena? Why couldn't the girl just take some Midol and get over herself?
"No, it's okay, Ami," Serena interrupted before Ami could say anymore. "Rei's right – I just – wasn't thinking. Sorry."
Bleep. Bleep. Blip.
No one saw the teardrop that splashed down onto the joystick Serena gripped in white-knuckled hands.
"Hey, Dare, what's with you and that Tuxedo Mask doll? You're always trying to win it." Motoki laughed as he wiped his hands on his apron.
Darien shrugged. "Just cause. I'd rather have him than a Sailor V doll."
"Most guys would rather have the girl doll," Motoki teased, raising an eybrow. "Yet you're trying to get the guy. Is there something you haven't told me, Darien?"
"Actually, Motoki, most guys would rather skip the doll altogether," retorted Darien, the faintest trace of a grin tugging at his lips. "But if I ever turn down that path, you'll be the first to know."
"Speaking of your love life…" Motoki trailed off as he walked behind the counter. Darien followed him, plopping down on a stool. "That was kinda rough, the way you turned down Miyaki-san yesterday. A lot of the kids are talking about it."
"She was sending me love letters and cluttering up my locker. I barely have room in there for all my books anyway. What did you want me to do, Motoki, express my gratitude to her for melting chocolate all over my chem notes?"
Darien wore a scowl as he tugged open his locker and another envelope adorned with heart-shaped sticker – the third one this week – slid out of it and landed on the grimy floor. He didn't even bother to pick it up, he was already late for school that morning (after he made the mistake of getting in the way of Odango on her usual morning dash), and he had a chem test second class that he needed to cram for during Study Hall first period.
He reached into his locker – he had left his chem notes on the top of all his folders yesterday so that he could easily access them this morning – and froze. Slowly, he withdrew his hand, which was clutching his chem notes. Both were coated with a glutinous brown liquid that smelled sickly sweet.
Chocolate had melted on his chem notes.
Upon seeing the murderous expression on Shields-senpai's face, all students within a five foot radius backed away. Except for one: an extremely foolish, lovesick girl who was standing behind him, thus unable to see his countenance.
"Shields-senpai?" she asked timidly, lifting a hand to his shoulder. Her face was fire engine red, but she seemed determined to say what she had come to say. "Iknowyouprobablydon'tlikemecausei'mjustasophomoreandyou'reareallypopularjuniorandhandsomeandpopularandstuff,butireallylikeyouandiwaswonderingifyou'dliketogoouttogethersometime." She said all of this in one breath.
Darien turned to spear her with a dark blue gaze. "Did you put chocolate in my locker?" he said slowly.
She blushed harder and stammered, "Hai."
"Leave. Please." Darien struggled to keep his composure. Why must these girls constantly stalk him and swarm around him like honeybees? Why couldn't they just back off and let him live his life? "I don't have anything to say to you."
Motoki sighed and began wiping the counter off with a rag, a sure sign of nervousness. "It's just – she really liked you, Darien. She ran off crying, for God's sake!"
"That's not my fault," Darien defended himself stubbornly. He pushed himself away from the counter and stood up. "I can't help it if I don't reciprocate her feelings."
"You don't reciprocate anyone's feelings!" Motoki had tossed the rag aside, and was leaning forward now. "Remember, last month, when that girl asked you to the spring dance? You didn't even look up from your book to refuse her! Honest to God, Darien, I don't know why these girls still have crushes on you! You're like a block of ice!"
Darien bit back the words he longed to say, and instead settled for, "Nice to know you hold me in such high regard," before striding away.
"So we're meeting at the temple on Thursday?" Rei tossed her sheet of long black hair over her shoulder
"Yes. Luna wants to discuss the possibility of a new general with us." Ami spoke clipped, precisely, as always.
Rei scowled at the blonde tracing circles on the tabletop beside her. "You know what that means, Serena. No detention tomorrow! Can you handle that for just one day, baka – "
"Rei!" Lita frowned down at the priestess. "Lay off, will ya?"
Serena shook her head at Lita, her bright blue eyes glistening brighter than usual. "No, Lita, she's right… I – I've gotta go." She stumbled to her feet and dashed away, skirt and hair flapping.
"OUCH! Odango!" Darien clutched his head, peeling himself off the floor. "Is there some sort of Darien magnet between your dumplings –" He stopped dead abruptly. "Odango…?"
Serena shook her head, her face twisted as she bit down hard on her lip. Before anyone could stop her, she had picked herself up off the floor and fled.
"Sailor Moon, that youma almost killed Ami!"
"Luna – I'm okay…it's just a scratch…" Mercury tried to defend Sailor Moon, who stood to the side, clutching her tiara.
"But it could have been much worse! Serena has to stop joking around! This is not a game! She didn't even hear her communicator until the fourth time you two called!"
"All's well that ends well," pointed out Sailor Jupiter.
Mars snorted. "Yeah, until next time."
"Exactly." Luna glared at her blonde charge, shaking her head. "I don't even know what to tell you anymore, Serena. Someday your behavior is going to cost us someone's life."
Sailor Moon nodded, not meeting Luna's or the Senshi's eyes. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to leave you guys so long – I was just so tired, and I thought the communicator was part of my dream…"
"Sorry doesn't cut it, Serena," Luna cut her off. She smiled tightly at Mars, Jupiter, and Mercury. "Get home, you three. Mercury, that arm needs rest."
"Serena! What's this? Another F! I thought you were studying for this test at Ami's last night? How do you end up with an F when you spend all night studying?"
Serena winced. Again, one of her lies had caught up with her. She couldn't exactly tell her mother that she was tracking down a Dark Kingdom youma all night, not studying, which was why she fell asleep during the test, which was why she failed it – not that she would have passed it, anyway.
Okaa-san sighed and let the paper flutter to the floor. "I just don't know what to do with you anymore, Serena. To tell you the truth, I just feel like giving up on you. Week after week, you promise your father and I that you're going to do better, but you never do."
"What happened to Odango?"
Rei threw Darien a flirtatious smile. "Just another of her meatball-brained fits. She'll come back in a few minutes, craving a double fudge swirl sundae, you mark my words."
"I don't know." Ami had lowered her book, a sure sign of the gravity of the situation. "She seemed genuinely upset, Rei."
The raven-hared girl shrugged. "She's always upset. She'll be fine, I'm telling you. So, Darien, I heard that there's this new addition to the park – a maze of rose bushes or something. You wanna go check it out?"
Darien's eyes sharpened from the glazed gaze they had assumed. "Actually, I need to study for an organic chem test." He pivoted abruptly and headed for the door.
Rei pouted as the junior made a quick exit. "I don't get it, Ami. He always has some excuse. Why does he keep blowing me off?"
"I don't know, Rei," answered Ami distractedly, standing up and starting to gather her books. "Listen, I really think we should go look for Serena…"
"Serena will be fine!" Rei cried out, pushing Ami back into the booth. "Kami! You just stay there and study. I'll go get us some sodas – coke for me, sprite for you, and cherry for Serena – who will be back within – " She checked her wrist watch. "her usual sulk time of ten minutes, I'm certain."
I'm a klutz, and everyone knows it. Serena threw herself down onto the park bench, her streaming eyes roving across the sparkles of sunlight on the lake. I shouldn't be Sailor Moon. I'll just let everyone down…like I always do.
Her fingers traced the circle of her brooch, leaving sweaty smears on the spotless gold. I shouldn't have this.
Her eyes were distant and unfocused. She stood as still as a statue on the bank of the lake. Several passers-by stopped to watch the unique figure she panted against the sunset: a lone maiden with golden tresses and long skirt whipping in the wind and tears rolling down her face as she stared across the lake.
Serena failed to notice the awed attention she was attracting. Her mind was focused on only one thing: her unworthiness.
I shouldn't have this…Her fingers traced the brooch still, but in her pocket, her other hand was clutching Tuxedo Mask's star locket tightly.
"Nice going, Meatball Brain! Were you going to wait until my whole head was gone, or did you just wanna see what I looked like with a mullet?"
Sailor Mars was in her face, screaming so loudly and with so little abandon that Serena felt little flecks of hot saliva landing on her skin. The other Scouts and Luna were standing off to the side, feeling sorry for Serena, but sorrier for Rei, whose jet-black tresses had been sliced to chin-length by the youma that Serena had hastily dusted only a few seconds ago.
"Rei – I'm really sorry – "
"You're ALWAYS sorry, baka! But you never CHANGE! You're always late, you whine and cry, and put the whole team in danger – I don't know why Luna even chose you as the Leader! You're a whiny, klutzy, spoiled, stupid, ditzy little pig!"
The high-heeled Senshi stomped off, looking strangely off-balance without her waist-length hair. Serena watched her go, biting her lip to keep from crying.
"Aw, it'll be alright, Serena," comforted Lita once Rei had disappeared. "She's just upset – her hair's really important to her, you know. She didn't really mean all that."
Serena cast her tall friend a grateful look, though inside she knew that Rei meant every word she had said from the very depths of her fiery heart. And Rei was right – she was just a whiny klutzy stupid ditz. She didn't deserve to be Leader. How was she supposed to protect the Moon Princess when she couldn't even keep herself from bashing headfirst into light poles?
"I'm going to go after her," Luna decided, jumping out of Ami's arms. She directed an inscrutable look at Serena. "You'd better start coming up with a very sincere apology."
"Serena's not here yet," said Ami worriedly, glancing at the clock for the third time on the past ten minutes.
"Good," spat Rei. She viciously stirred her steaming cup of tea. "I'm STILL furious with her…"
"It was an accident, Rei!" Lita gritted out. "Just be happy it was your hair and not your neck, okay?"
"Easy for you to say," snapped Rei. "You're not the one walking around in a chop-job."
"Hey." A new voice interrupted them, and the girls – scowling Rei, concerned Ami, and fed-up Lita – looked up to see Darien Shields standing beside their table. His red school blazer and tie were immaculate, as usual, but his dusky hair seemed rather windblown.
"Darien!" exclaimed Rei in a squeal. She tossed her head and flipped her hair with wide, puppy eyes. "What do you think of my hair? I was going for the sophisticated college-girl look, but I think the hairdresser cut it a bit too short…"
Darien quirked a dark eyebrow. "I really don't know, Rei. I'm not the sort of person to ask about hairstyles."
"Oh, but your hair always looks so nice. Please, just tell me what you think of it?"
Darien shrugged and looked at Ami and Lita. "Have you seen Serena?"
Ami shook her head. "Not since school. She was supposed to meet us here."
Darien raked a hand through his hair. "You don't think that…yesterday, when she…"
Lita caught his drift. "It wasn't you," she assured him. "Serena's just got a lot going on right now, that's all. It wasn't your fault, don't let yourself feel guilty."
Darien seemed slightly taken aback. "Okay…" He stood there for a moment. "Okay," he said again, more firmly. "See you, then."
"Hmm. I thought I'd find you here."
Serena opened her eyes and squinted up at the dark shape blotting out the sun. Her mind suddenly connected the voice to a face, and she scrambled up, scrubbing her tearstained cheeks. "Dar – Shields!"
"The one and only." Darien folded his legs and sat down beside her, pretending not to notice the wet tracks running down her face. He tilted his head back and let the sunlight beat his pale skin. "You weren't at the arcade."
He cracked an eyelid open to regard her. "Far be it from me to be nosy, but that's the first time in months you haven't gone to the arcade after school."
A side of Serena's mouth lifted wryly in spite of herself. "Have you been stalking me?"
"Hardly." Darien closed his eyes again. She was glad he did; those dark orbs saw far too much when they were open. "It's not my fault you frequent my favorite haunt."
"You talk like a textbook, you know that?" Serena said, bringing her knees to her chest and watching him.
"So I'm told."
"By who? Who else, I mean."
"Teachers. Friends." A grimaced flitted across his face. "Admirers. They think it's romantic."
Serena giggled. He cracked an eye open again to look at her.
"That's why I left, you know."
Serena stopped giggling, face smoothing. "Left what?"
Serena's blonde brows furrowed. "I don't understand."
"Rei was in a flirtatious mood. That's why I left the arcade and came to find you. Because Rei was bothering me. Not because I was worried about you."
"Oh." If Serena felt a sinking sensation in the pit of her stomach, it didn't manifest itself on her face. "What's wrong with Rei flirting with you?"
Darien sighed and reclined fully on the grass, an arm over his eyes. "There isn't. I guess. That's what Toki tells me."
"What does your heart tell you?" Serena smiled slightly as she asked the corny cliché.
Darien didn't need to see Serena to be able to sense her amusement. He smiled himself, beneath his arm. "That I'm tired of girls throwing themselves at me."
"So…" Serena stretched out on the ground, her body perpendicular to his.
"So what are you going to do?" Serena watched a cloud drift across the sun.
"That's the question I don't know the answer to." Darien sounded slightly frustrated. "Motoki's starting to make me feel guilty about all the girls I give the cold shoulder to – but that's the only way to make them leave me alone!"
"Well…you could tell them you're gay," Serena offered.
Darien sighed and turned his head to look at her. She saw her own reflection in his dark blue eyes, and felt slightly disconcerted. "I've considered it. But the problem is…a considerable portion of the male population has fixated on me, as well."
Serena's fingers found a blade of grass and began to toy with it. "But at least people like you. It's better to have too many people like you than to have even one person hate you."
"Ah." He observed her for a moment. "Are you offering to explain why you have tear tracks on your face?"
Serena sighed and shifted away from him. Some of the golden curls that had escaped her hair buns brushed across his nose. "It's the usual story. I was a klutz, now Rei's mad at me."
"Does Rei have some sort of lojack on the pair of us?" Darien murmured. "Perhaps we should join forces and hire a hit man, Odango."
"Joining forces sounds good." Serena smiled. 'But I think a hit man might be overkill."
"I'll forgive the pun." Darien idly poked blades of grass into Serena's odangoes. "An assassin, then. They're more subtle."
"How about we just sic Chad on her? We could leave him anonymous love letters and then tell him they're from her."
"Hmm." Darien chewed on this plan for a moment. "It's devious, I'll give you that."
"Not that devious. Chad really likes her. If she'd just give him a chance – "
Darien's lazy smile disappeared suddenly. Serena, with her eyes on the clouds, didn't notice the change in his expression.
"I've gotta go." He stood abruptly and picked up his briefcase.
Serena looked up. "Um – okay," she said timidly, climbing to her feet. "Thanks for, um, talking…"
"Yeah." Darien's reading glasses fell from their perch atop his hair back onto his nose. "It was fun. Bye." He strode off quickly down the path.
Serena thought a moment. Then her eyes widened. She broke into a run, tumbling through the grass after her enemy/conspirator.
"Darien! Wait!" She dashed in front of him, pigtails flapping.
He surveyed her calmly from behind his glasses. No, not calmly, emotionlessly. "Yes?"
"What I said – about giving people chances – please don't be upset with me." She gazed pitifully up at him with her big blue eyes. "I don't want you to be mad at me, too."
Darien raked a hand through his hair. "It's not you I'm mad at, Serena. It's me. I know that I should give these girls a chance – but I don't want to…"
"And that's okay," insisted Serena. "You're not turning these girls down based on what they look like or talk like. You just don't want to go out with them. Rei ignores Chad because she doesn't think he looks very handsome. She doesn't pay attention to his character at all, and she doesn't reject him very nicely. She's mean and cold to him."
"But…" Darien teetered on the edge. To tell or not to tell? Serena's blue eyes were looking up at him with such trust and respect; he didn't want her to know how he had hurt the feelings of the girls he had rejected. He didn't want her to know the truth – and yet, he did.
"Serena, I'm not very kind when I turn down people either." Taking a deep breath, he plunged into the story of Miyaki-san and the chocolate, and what a monster had had been.
Serena's reaction when he finished was not quite what he had expected. Yes, he had expected her to watch him silently with attentive blue eyes as he told the story…but he hadn't expected her to wrap her arms around him when he finished and give him a big hug.
"Odango…?" he said confusedly, staring down in shock at her golden buns.
"You're not a monster, Darien." Her voice was muffled – muffled by his red school blazer. "What you told Miyaki-san was not very nice at all. And yes, you should have been nicer about it. But the fact that now you regret it and you feel bad about it shows that you're not a monster. You're not heartless, and you're not a block of ice."
"Then what am I?" Darien murmured, more to himself than to Serena.
But Serena heard him. She pulled away to look up at him. "You're Darien," she said with a bright smile. "You're Darien the straight-A student who has a heart and who is very good at coming up with witty insults."
"Gee, thanks for making me feel accomplished." Darien smiled bittersweetly. "I want to be more, Serena. I don't just want to be someone. I want to be someone to someone."
"Well…" Serena let go of him. "Then you're just going to have to start getting to know some of those girls, aren't you?"
A change came over the two regulars of Motoki's fruit parlor after that. It wasn't really a conscious metamorphosis on either of their parts, nor was it an entirely gradual process. The first sign of it was seen in the arcade the day following their conversation in the park. Darien showed up at the arcade at his usual time, but instead of ordering some highly-caffeinated stimulant and settling in with a thick textbook or trigonometry worksheet, he ordered a mint-chocolate-chip milkshake and left his briefcase and all its contents untouched at his feet.
The second anomaly occurred when Serena entered the arcade an hour early – and wonder of wonders, she was alone. Without any of her friends, not even Ami, walking beside her.
And, shocking Motoki further, Serena headed straight for the seat beside Darien's and plopped down in it, chattering non-stop to the dark-haired upperclassman. And Darien spoke back to her. Without either of them bursting into tears, yelling, or stalking out of the arcade!
"Are you two feeling alright?" asked Motoki when he brought Serena's order to her – she had asked for a large Pepsi, bizarrely. He felt each of their foreheads in turn. "You don't feel like you have fevers… Do you have a bet going on, or something? Like Serena has to be Darien for a day and Darien has to be Serena? Because, Serena-chan, this is the first time ever in history that you've ordered a soda instead of some dairy product – "
"I need the caffeine," explained Serena solemnly. "I'm going to be up late cramming for my Earth Space test."
"Studying, huh?" Darien regarded her curiously, sipping from his shake through a straw. "Did your parents threaten to ground you?"
"No…" Serena shifted on her stool. "They've kind of given up on me, actually. But…I want them to be proud of me for something for once. So I've decided that I'm going to ace the Earth Space unit test tomorrow!"
"Good luck on that," said Darien. He hesitated a moment, and that was when Motoki's eye sharpened. Something had definitely happened yesterday that he didn't know about. "Hey – would you like some help? Help studying, that is."
"Um. Wow," said Serena, clearly as surprised as Motoki by this offer. "Thanks for the offer, Darien, but what I really need to do is read all the chapters. Which is gonna take forever…. But I've gotta do that by myself. Thanks, though. Bye!" She waved at them and skipped towards the door.
Motoki and Darien turned to watch her go, and therefore saw when a familiar group of girls entered the arcade just as Serena reached the door. The blue-haired and brown-haired ones had smiles and greetings for her, but the black-haired priestess had only a scowl.
"Where are you skipping off to, pasta-brain? We have business to discuss."
Serena stopped, confusion flitting across her features, as well as a small degree of fear and guilt. "What d'you mean? Our meeting's not until tomorrow night."
"We changed it. I found out that I have talent show rehearsal tomorrow. So come on." Rei jerked her head toward their usual booth, to which Ami and Lita were already headed.
Serena's face creased. "Rei, I have to go study for my science test tomorrow – "
"Study? You?" Rei let out a harsh laugh. "Stop playing around, Serena!"
"No, really – Rei – "
Rei wasn't laughing anymore. Instead, she wore annoyance on her face like a thundercloud. "Stop messing aroudn, Serena. You never study for anything. Besides, even if you were going to study, it's not like your empty skull would absorb any of it."
Serena stood frozen. Her mouth worked soundlessly for a moment. Then her head drooped and she followed Rei back to the usual booth.
"Hey." Darien cornered Serena after the girls finally dispersed for the night – at nine-thirty. "What happened? I thought you were going to study for your science test?"
Serena looked drawn. Darien couldn't blame her. He had paid a bit of attention the the girls' conversation – okay, he had been eavesdropping shamelessly – and the majority of it seemed to have consisted of scolding Serena, making fun of her, and stroking Rei's ego by assuring her that her hair looked tres chic.
"Rei needed to talk to me," she mumbled.
"Is that her excuse or yours?"
Serena looked up. Her eyes were shadowed; all her exuberance from earlier that afternoon seemed to have fizzled away. "It's bad enough already without you making it worse, okay!" she snapped.
Darien lips curved. Finally, some spirit out of her. Why did she give in to Rei so easily?
"Why are you smiling?" Serena demanded. Then she shook her head. "You know what, forget it. I'm going home. Who cares about that stupid test anyways – "
"Your parents do. And you did, a few hours ago."
"That was before," mumbled Serena. "I must have been high – I actually thought I could pass a test – "
"Where's your book?" Darien interrupted.
Serena fell silent and looked up at him. "Why?"
"Just take it out. And sit." He slid into the booth his backpack and books were in and jerked his head at the opposite side.
Serena remained standing, staring down at him. "Look, Darien, there is no way that I am going to pass that test. I'll never be able to read all those chapters now, even if I stayed up all night." And that was assuming that there wasn't a youma attack that night.
"Look, Odango Atama." Darien rubbed his forehead. "Do you want me to help you or not?"
Her hopeless expression was answer enough. His hand reached out and closed around the strap of her school bag, tugging it and causing her to stumble over into the booth. "Take it out. What unit is the test on?'
"Um…five. I think. It's about – "
"Volcanoes," interrupted Darien again, eyes distant. "The different types of rock, lava, and intrusive rock formations, right?"
Serena gaped at him. "Wha – how do you know all that?"
"Photographic memory," replied Darien calmly, as though it were something everyone had. Serena watched him neatly remove several sheets of notebook paper from his binder. "I took Earth Space two years ago, and I'm pleased to say that I still remember the tests and chapters quite clearly – Ryourou-sensei does still teach it?"
"But that's cheating – "
"Not really. You'll be well-acquainted with the material."
"Do you want to pass the test or not?"
Serena gulped weakly. "Pass, I guess."
"Where's your textbook?"
Serena heaved it up on the table. Darien flipped it open and riffled quickly though the pages to Chapter 19.
For the next hour and a half, he drew little pictures and taught Serena mnemonic devices to remember the various types of lava, intrusive rock formations, and lava contents. At the end of their impromptu study-session, he shoved the sheaf of notebook paper – on which he'd jotted down the mnemonic devices in his neat, spiky handwriting – at her.
"Look them over again before the test," he ordered her, then gathered up his things and exited the café.
Serena blinked after him. She didn't even notice when Motoki slid into Darien's vacated seat.
"He waited practically all night, you know."
Serena nearly jumped out of her skin. "Wha – Toki!"
"He's never stayed here that long before. And he has a trig test tomorrow," commented Motoki, clicking the pen he took orders with. "It's a pretty big deal for him to stay out until ten-thirty on the night before a big test like that. He usually goes straight home to study."
"TEN-THIRTY?" Serena scrambled out of the booth. "Oh my god, I've gotta get home! My mom's gonna kill me!"
A/N: Probably two or three chapters left. I have the whole story planned out, just have to write it. I'm hoping to make a different sort of Darien here…I want to really focus on character instead of story for once…tell me what you think and if it's worth continuing. PLEASE!