Disclaimer: I do not own Sailor Moon or any of the characters

Disclaimer: I do not own Sailor Moon or any of the characters.

Mirror of Contrast

Chapter 14

Serena languidly rolled onto her back, hoping to avoid the topic. It was too hard to think. Sometimes she wished someone else could make the decisions—not Darien, mind you—but someone who had her interests in mind. Staring at the ceiling for a long minute she gave a soft sigh.

"So what's your ideal situation to look after The Thing."

"I don't want you to return back to the NDS."

Serena bit her lip to prevent screaming 'like hell'. Instead she curled on her side away from him.

"I want you and our pup to remain here, at least until he knows how to survive."

Her fists clenched at his thoughts. "And how long would that take? What am I supposed to do during that time, Darien? I don't like being coddled and treated like a house cat. I don't want to stay here."

Just being in his home made her feel remarkably vulnerable; an alien and she didn't like it. She couldn't stand the idea of being the only one, especially with their communal lifestyle, that aside, she would stand out like a weed amongst roses.

"I think it's unfair," she finished.

"I know you're uncomfortable with it—" the bed depressed as Darien sat down, "—but you'd be safe here. Besides, you won't be alone. There's Andrew and one of my generals has a fairy for a mate. You also have me."

His large hand settled on her hip. It feathered to her stomach, her skin greedily absorbing the heat. She shoved the hand away when it settled on her womb. He's probably so proud of his 'Impregnated Serena' achievement, she ruled cynically.

"Woo-hoo," she cheered sarcastically, "I've got Andrew, who I don't even know anymore, and some faceless fairy."

Shimmying to the opposite end of the bed, she sat up. "Okay. I've listened to what you've said and I don't agree." She turned her head to stare him straight in the eye, "But I'm willing to compromise," she squeezed between her teeth.

His lips pressed with irritation and he nodded for her to continue.

"I'll stay here for the gestation period."

"And then what?" Darien purred softly, "You'll return to your tiny apartment and raise a wolf in the city?"

"No, stop sounding so condescending. We'll talk about it after we've had It because I don't like the idea of complete seclusion in this mansion especially living with people I've spent my whole life trying to avoid. I don't think we can solve anything yet. I mean, I'm not even sure I can handle a baby."

The idea of being pregnant had finally consolidated and the realities made Serena feel cold. There were so many things to do! She had to prepare for one, which meant getting a cot, clothes, a stockpile of nappies, food, toiletries. Not to mention post-birth where the baby would be completely dependant on her. It would be a complete change from her work orientated lifestyle—she just couldn't see herself taking such a big step.

"We have no choice, the pup is going to come irrespective of what we want. Besides, there are dozens of females who'd be willing to care for our pup."

Serena turned her incredulous eyes to Darien, "I'm not handing my kid to some woman! How can you even suggest that?"

"I'm just giving you possibilities, baby. I was raised by the pack."

"So your mother just gave you up with a: here! Have this."

Darien reclined on his side, leaning on his elbow, "My mother had little choice, she did whatever my father told her to do."

"That does not help your argument, Darien. Are you sure you're a lawyer because you're proving the wrong point."

"I'm giving you a choice, Serena. I am far more lenient with you since you're fey."

"You're still sounding like a bastard," she hissed quietly.

Standing up, Serena swayed at a sudden wave of dizziness. Raising her hand, she touched her temple as an inevitable headache started. It was no surprise, considering the circumstances, and all she wanted to do was curl up in bed—her bed—and hide from the world for a few hours. Maybe she could, after all, she was allowed to go whenever she wanted.

Spinning around, she lifted her chin haughtily and addressed him in her snootiest voice. "I want to go home now, Darien."

A slow, sensual grin curved his lips, "Of course, you have my permission to leave."

"I don't need your permission," She replied flatly.

Heading to the door, Darien following behind, she left his room. She was on edge the whole way through the mansion. She half expected wolves to surround and attack her, but on the journey out, she didn't encounter anyone. The house was strangely desolate. Serena glanced at Darien, feeling unease flutter in her stomach. She felt better on exit, where the afternoon sun was beginning to be smothered by heavy storm clouds. How depressing but at least I'm going home. She sighed with relief and descended the stone steps but paused when she realised Darien hadn't followed her. Turning back to the house, she frowned when she saw him languidly leaning in the door way. His arms were crossed over his broad chest and that infuriating smirk still adorned his handsome features. His eyes conveyed the most; they were a mixture of mirth and sneakiness.

"Aren't you going to take me home! You said you would," She stomped with frustration.

"Now, now, baby," he chided, "I don't think you heard me correctly. I never said I'd take you home."

Serena's draw dropped aghast, "But…" She stammered, helplessness flickering over her face for a moment.

"I gave you permission to leave, but you didn't specify how. So I'm not obligated to help you, nor will I give you access to any of my resources."

Her eyes widened at the revelation before narrowing like a spitting cat. "I hate you. I hate you!"

Turning she ran down the drive, trying to remember how long it was. It took her a good twenty minutes, at a brisk walk, to reach the majestic wrought iron gate. Despite its beauty, it towered above her and was dense, making it difficult for even a mouse to squeeze through. Her hands were shaking from the cold as she reached for the pad lock which was secured. She rattled it with frustration. As she stood glaring at it, the first few drops of rain began to fall, hitting her cheek and streaking down her throat. After a few moments, a torrent of rain came down, saturating her thin dress so it clung to her body. Veering off the path into the forest, she followed the thick brick wall, trying to see if there were any weak points. Her heels were inadequate for the terrain and she stumbled on roots before yanking them off and tossing them into the under bush.

Water streamed into her eyes, her hair snagging on branches and wrenching her head back. Still, she persisted, ploughing on until she was completely lost. She didn't know how long she'd been looking for an exit, but her teeth were beginning to chatter and her feet were frozen; what's more shadows flickered amongst the leaves and she was positive wolves were following her.

Eventually she tripped and landed on her knees. She didn't have the energy to stand, so she sat there unsure of what to do. I'm so stupid. I can't believe I expected his help.

"Serena," Darien called, emerging from the trees. He looked composed as ever, water streaming down his body.

"Go away!"

"You'll make yourself ill."

"Why!" She screamed, "Why are you being like this. You said I could go, so why not help me instead of being a bastard."

"Because, it's the only way with you. Now come back to the house."

Serena struggled to her feet, a new plan formatting in her mind. Tentatively stepping forward, she gazed imploringly at him. "Please?" She whimpered softly. She reached out and fiddled with his shirt, meekly lowering her head and cuddling against him.

His 'No' reverberated through his chest and Serena shot back, slapping him soundly across the cheek. Of course, as soon as she did so, she realised she'd gone too far. He grabbed her stinging hand and pulled her back.

"Don't stretch my temper," He said in a low voice, "Hit me again and I'll make sure you never leave my room." With that threat lingering in the air, he swung her into his arms irrespective of her screams and curses.

Writhing and thrashing, she struggled the whole way back. Behind her, like the Pied Pipers procession, wolves followed. At the mansion more wolves lined the entrance, except they were in human form, looking civilised but grim. At that point Serena gave up; there was no possible way to escape Darien's iron grip or his influence through pack members. Sullenly she with drew into herself, refusing to look at her captor.

They returned to his room, specifically the bathroom, where the tub was full of hot water and frothy bubbles. Lowering her battered feet to the cold marble Darien turned and left. He didn't say a word but his expression conveyed that he was beyond pissed.

Watching him slam the bedroom door, she sunk down to her knees, clutching the toilet as she tried to control the urge to vomit. With shuddering breaths, she attempted to control her rampant emotions. Using the porcelain basin, she pulled herself up and stripped her clothes off. Tentatively lowering her foot into the bath, she hissed as it stung her cuts, but in all, the warmth made her feel better. After a minute of easing her body in, she clutched her knees for comfort.

She felt completely over-looked and stuck in some conspiracy. Andrew. Darien. The NDS. What the hell was she missing? What's more, her entrapment made her feel desperate. Her failed attempt at leaving brought up feelings of inadequacy and weakness; like those damsels in distress. She'd always been proud that she was a resourceful and determined soldier; however, her recent failure saw her lose faith in her own ability and those around her.

She sat there for a long time, before scrubbing her skin of dirt. When she emerged from the lukewarm depths, she found a large fluffy towel had been laid out as well as the pyjamas she wore last time. She slipped the dove grey chemise and pants on, fingering the elegant embroidery on the side. When she returned to the bedroom, she jerked to a stop when she saw a young blonde woman standing there waiting. She smiled, attempting to engage Serena, but she wasn't in the mood for a chit-chat.

"I don't feel like talking, so can you please go."

The blonde's smile faltered before returning to its 100 watt brilliance. "Well that's okay because I'll be the one who is talking."

"Look, whoever you are, take a hint and go away. I tried being nice."

"I'm Mina and I'm not wolf, so I thought I'd come and talk to you since I went through the same thing," she continued unfazed.

"Woo-hoo for you."

Serena grabbed the top quilt of the bed, dragging it to a solitary chair in the corner. It wasn't comfortable, but once she'd cocooned herself in the blanket it was adequate.

"I was just as annoyed when I met Max, he wasn't even nice and he kept badgering me while I was busy."

"And yet you're with him…" Serena drawled condescendingly.

Mina's grin took on an impish look, "Yeah well, we sorta progressed."

"Sorta? What the hell does that mean?"

"Well, even though he's really cold and admittedly haughty, he banged me like a door. Come on!" Mina exclaimed when she viewed Serena's disturbed expression. "Don't tell me Darien doesn't hit the spot."

"Sorry if I can't imagine Max in the throes of passion. But he doesn't seem the type to get his paws dirty."

"Tell me about it. The man is seriously obsessive compulsive sometimes, but I think that's why he's extra wild when you get him in the sack."

Even though Serena didn't want to like Mina, she found herself opening up.

"How long have you been with him?"

"About a year and I gotta tell you, it's really nice to get some company, even if you're a pixie—never really got along with pixies. Woops! I didn't mean it to sound racist or anything because I'm not. I have great respect for pixies and you girls have fabulous boobs. What size are you anyway? A 'D'?" She let loose a long sigh and primped her breasts, "I'm only an A-cup."

"Yeah well, you've got those mile long legs so I guess we're even."

Mina shook her head, "Any-hoo! Back on topic. I know you're annoyed with Darien, but I've come to understand how this place works—at least I think I have."

Serena didn't know how such an effervescent, bubbly fairy had ended up with a stooge like Max. She probably drove him mad.

"—they do things with the best intention. And he's got every right to worry about you. People are hunting the women down, that's why we've been in lockdown. The men loose the spirit to fight when their life-partners have been killed. It's been a while since any woman has died but that's only because we've been heavily guarded. Though I must say," Mina muttered, her eyes suddenly serious, "If Max died, then I don't know what I'd do."

That was a scary thought, "God, I hope I don't become like that."

"I say you're already are. I know the wolves are really physical. They love sex and affection, but they only want it from one person. That's better than any relationship I've ever known. Face it. We fey aren't monogamous people. I grew up with mediocre feelings for my lovers, but now that I've tried being with Max, I'm not going back. I love that someone loves me completely and only me. Max might do his man growl professing I'm all his, but he's also all mine. How many sex-savvy fey have you ever owned? None because we only expect to get laid. Give love a go before you trash it."

Serena regarded Mina from over her knees. After a moment's deliberation she addressed the tall blonde, "Let's say I do give Darien a chance, I can't live with him telling me what to do. Why do I have to join the wolf side? Why can't he join the NDS?"

"There's some funky stuff happening there."

"So they say," Serena shot back sceptically.

Mina raised her hands, "I can't argue that point, I don't know enough and you're pretty stubborn, though that's hardly surprising after all you've driven Darien up the wall these past few months."

"I hardly see Darien being 'driven up the wall'."

"Wanna bet?" Mina chirped, "It was quite funny for a while. These wolves are worse than housewives when they meet The One. Honestly, they're such girls when it comes to relationships."

Serena couldn't repress a chuckle at that thought. Talk about a role reversal. "You're right. I went out on a date and Darien was so furious."

"The night I really felt something for Max was when I was at a party and this guy squeezed my bum. Max was so angry he went to defend my honour."

Serena was intrigued, "Then what happened? Did he beat the crap out of him?"

"No. His actions made me feel so…so…" She floundered around looking for a word, a dreamy expression on her face, "Anyway, I shoved him in a closet and had my dirty way with him."

"A closet! I'm sure he loved that one."

"He thinks it's undignified and doesn't choose to go there. But I'm guess I'm just a closet-girl at heart—it never fails to get a rise out of him, if you know what I mean. Anyway, the moral of the story is: he'd done what no other man had ever attempted to do. He looked after me, so I gave him a go and he wasn't that bad once he knew he was a secure fixture in my life. If you commit to Darien, you'll find he won't be an irrational caveman thinking with his penis."

Frowning, Serena considered everything Mina had told her. Was she too prideful to accept a safer environment or were her concerns legitimate? Darien had proved there was no reason to kill Queen Irene. So far, his sole motivation had been for the betterment of his people, and she had to admit, the NDS has a pretty aggressive policy of attack before they were attacked.

"Food for thought, huh?" Mina muttered as if reading her mind. "I'd better get going, all this talk has made me hungry."

Mina paused at the door, "If you need me, just ask. The hounds will sniff me out."

"Thanks," Serena replied softly.

She continued her thinking in Darien's bed, curling up on her side and taking in his scent that lingered. She had a lot to think about. If she became more manageable she'd probably be given free-reign, but the fact she had to bend to Darien's wishes had her seething. She was also sick of introducing rules as all they did was aggravate each other.

A couple of hours later, Serena stirred awake when she felt a body slide beside her.

"I'm sorry, Serena," Darien whispered in her ear.

"Yeah, me too," she responded hollowly, remaining in his grip but facing away.

He sighed against her shoulder, his arm curling around her waist. She wanted to wrap up in him, but with things being so unresolved she couldn't bring herself to do so. Instead she ignored the urge and screwed her eyes closed until she succumbed to sleep. It was way easier to avoid thinking in the dark.

Urg. I tried to update faster--I failed. But thanks to Kit-t for keeping me going. These stories wouldn't move forward without you. Sorry about the spelling errors.