Yookoso Minna Sama,

Yookoso Minna Sama,

It's my latest story, La Morte. This one's gonna be about nine chapters I think. It's AU and just so you know I'll put my authors notes at the bottom from now on. Just had to say I don't own BSSM in case the great Naoko-Sama ever reads this. Enjoy minna! Oh by the way, thank you to my editor Ekaterinn!

La Morte

"Cheshire Puss,' she began, rather timidly, as she did not at all know whether it would like the name: however, it only grinned a little wider. "Come, it's pleased so far,' thought Alice, and she went on. "Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?'

"That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,' said the Cat.

"I don't much care where — ' said Alice.

"Then it doesn't matter which way you go,' said the Cat.


--Lewis Carrol Alice in Wonderland

Chapter 1: La Lune

Some call her the lady of the lake, the eternal keeper of the waters, the woman, Spring. The silvery liquid she offers, youth eternal, has been sought by great heroes from the beginning of history. Likewise, the sea of history with it's murky depths and cresting waves has served as a challenge to all people throughout time. For as surely as the silvery lady's waters promise eternity, the sea's fleeting waves do not hesitate to take it away. The war between the silvery waters of eternity and the murky black of history has raged on the shores of life for all time. The year of nineteen hundred and twenty-nine was no exception, the deadly black waters threatened to devour the silvery stream forever.

Blue flags flapped in the wind as a band of colorfully dressed gypsies wandered down the enchanting promenade. The world sang to them of opportunity and excitement. Now was the time to be here, time to live this moment to the fullest. This world with its majestic castles decked with red turrets, its latticed walkways and flowered trellises, and its plethora of lights, visible from mainland at night was their home now.

Children laughed as they skipped through the fairytale world of Luna Park and the tarot card reader, one of the gypsies, sighed as she sat down at her table. Pulling her long black hair out of her face, the gypsy set up her deck on the red velvet table. Today she would tell fortunes . . .

Serena Livingston smiled apathetically as the cool breeze played with wisps of her blond hair. She stared at the calm blue water from her vantage point on the top deck of the Coney Island Ferry. The beautiful white boat glided across the harbor like a swan across a clear mountain lake, but none of its merry occupants noticed the splendor of their ship.

"Serena!" shouted a tall brunette as she strode towards the metal railing Serena leaned against.

Serena turned away from the water and gave a small smile. "Good to see you, Lita." she said softly.

"I thought I'd never find you on this boat, Sere!" Lita exclaimed. "But I'm glad you came, when I didn't find you before we left, I was worried you'd changed your mind. You're going to love Luna Park."

Serena nodded complacently and turned back to the blue waters, her mind dwelling on a different shade of blue, the one that haunted her dreams.

Setsuna looked up as the large white swan pulled into dock on the island. The gangplank lowered and the gates of Luna Park opened cheerfully, the magical park awaiting its first load of adventurers for the day. Setsuna picked up her deck of cards and carefully shuffled and cut the deck one last time, a last minute tradition before the crowds came in. Carefully patting the deck down, Setsuna placed the thick pile of cards onto the table, face down. Then, cutting the deck into two uneven piles, Setsuna slipped one card off of the larger pile and placed it on the table in front of her still faced down. This was to be her card for the day, and as always, she would not look at it until the day was over. This card would answer all the riddles of the deck for the day. Opening a brown leather satchel, Setsuna put the card inside of it and then slipped the satchel back under the table. She began setting up the cards even as her first customers approached.

"Serena Livingston!" a beautiful blond exclaimed as she and a tall blond haired gentleman made their way towards Serena and Lita.

Serena smiled as Lubina Amethyst and her fiancée Richard Greenston made their way towards the railing of the boat. Lubina's grace and elegance were almost princess like and it was no wonder that Lubina was a darling of the silver screen.

"Oh Serena, it's so good to see you here today. Isn't it wonderful Richard?" Lubina cooed as she turned to her fiancée for support.

Smiling briefly at Richard, Serena crossed her arms in mock indignancy. "I don't know why everyone is so surprised to see me. I said I was coming, didn't I?"

Lita nodded. "Of course you did, Serena, but, you've been so serious lately and everyone is just worried about you."

Lubina reached over to give Serena a hug. "We do worry about you darling, and considering you've turned down or avoided every other outing we've tried to take you on . . ." she paused to give Serena a kiss on the cheek. "Oh well, happy birthday Serena. May your twenty-fourth year be your best yet." Lubina smiled earnestly letting go of Serena as she looked towards Coney Island.

"Well, what is everyone waiting for?" Richard asked in a deep tone. "Let's go see the most magical place on earth!"

Molly Banks watched as some of the most well recognized celebrities of the radio and screen walked down the red carpeting towards the plaster arch of Luna Park. Scanning the crowds, Molly looked for a celebrity to interview. Spotting Serena Livingston, Molly gave a grin. Today was the siren's twenty-fourth birthday and that would certainly make an interesting interview. Pulling out a pad and a pencil, Molly rushed towards the siren and her entourage. "Miss Livingston! Miss Livingston! A moment please!"

Serena stopped grabbing Lita's wrist. It was that vicious gossip columnist again. Lubina shook her head in distaste as Serena turned to give Molly a withdrawn smile. "What can I help you with, Miss Banks?" she asked in a silvery voice.

Serena Livingston, siren of the radio waves had earned a reputation for being elusive and beautiful. Like her voice which lured so many men to fall in love with her, her natural grace and beautiful features were prized possessions. Although the siren was known for her beauty, many were of the opinion that she was a snob. Serena kept to herself for some reason, not eager to participate in the gossip columnists' scandalous or sensational rumors. Although Molly couldn't find any real complaint to hold against the siren, that didn't change the fact that she didn't particularly like her. The siren's ice-cold demeanor towards her was well known by all journalists, most of whom found the situation to be amusing. Molly would get a story on the siren today if it killed her.

Examining the siren's companions, Molly sighed. Perhaps Serena was truly as boring as she made herself out to be. Although her friends were all celebrities, she wouldn't be able to make much of a story out of it; unless, of course, the readers wanted to read about her fairytale friendships. Perhaps knowing that the siren was with the princess of the motion pictures, Lubina Amethyst, her handsome prince and fellow actor Richard Greenston, and Lita Kingsley, the Amazon, a co-worker of the siren's at WBSH would interest a few housewives, but Molly would need something more sensational if she wanted to make front page. Molly straightened out her skirt and cleared her throat.

"I wanted to wish you a happy birthday on behalf of the American Star. Readers of the Star simply adore you, Miss Livingston!"

Molly's voice oozed with fake happiness as she said this. Serena winced with the knowledge that Molly Banks despised her.

"So Miss Livingston, how does it feel to be twenty-four?" Molly asked cheerfully.

"The same as it felt to be twenty-three. Honestly, I'm only a day older!" Serena said, slightly annoyed by the silly question. Richard gave her a sympathetic smile.

"Oh, um ok then." Molly said, somewhat taken back by Serena's attitude. 'I never remembered her being quite this rude before,' Molly observed as she tried to formulate her next question. "So, how about the rumor I heard about your dashingly handsome co-star Evan Diamando? Is love finally in the air?" Molly asked once again using her fake enthusiasm.

"I'm sorry, Miss Banks, I don't believe in love." Serena said icily as she turned sharply on the red carpeting walking brusquely towards Luna Park. Her hand still firmly gripped Lita's wrist as she dragged the hapless brunette along with her.

"Ouch, Sere!" Lita exclaimed once they were out of Molly's earshot.

"Huh?" replied Serena automatically. Her mind was elsewhere.

"My WRIST!" Lita yelped as she tried to wriggle out of Serena's grip.

"Oh . . . " Serena said, releasing Lita's wrist to reveal a large red mark from where she'd been holding on to her.

"I'm gonna have a bruise, Sere!" Lita said, her tone indicating her shock.

"Sorry." Serena said softly. Something was bothering her again.

Lita turned to Lubina and Richard and her mind drifted as well. She wished that she could be as in love with someone as Lubina was with Richard. Theirs was a true miracle romance, and Lita couldn't help but sighing.

"Well, come on then!" Richard said impatiently. "We won't get anywhere standing outside of Luna Park. Let's go IN, ladies!" With that said, Richard took Lubina's arm and Serena's arm and dragged the two of them into the park leaving Lita to straggle behind.

Luna Park truly was a place of enchantment. The piped in music and the lush flowers only accented the superb architecture and elegant embellishments that made the park so famous. All around groups of people excitedly gawked at Luna's large castle, some of the models of famous places, and the fairytale cottages. Standing around the promenade, barkers announced sideshows and merchants sold food and little baubles. The lines were already forming for some of Luna's more well known rides like chutes and ladders and the whirling cups. The sun had risen to a high point in the sky, and according to Luna's topiary sundial, it was nearing one of the clock.

"Honestly, love!" Lubina exclaimed. "You can stop dragging us now. Serena and I are perfectly capable of keeping up!" she giggled as Richard continued to lead them along.

"I, for one, want to ride on the roller coaster! I have it on good authority that Luna Park's roller coaster is the eighth wonder of the world, and I'm sure that Serena wants to ride it with me!" Richard announced as he let go of Lubina's arm.

Serena groaned as Richard steered her towards the large piece of metal and it's long line. "Why don't you take Lubina instead, Richard? I'm sure she'd appreciate this way more than me!" Serena tried to wriggle free of his hold.

"Oh no, Serena! Lubina hates heights, and besides, this is your birthday. I want to take you!" he said softly, his eyes flashed an emotion that almost scared Serena . . . but Richard was madly in love with Lubina . . .

Molly Banks watched the multicolor parade of fashions glide by her. All of the really interesting people had, no doubt, already passed; however she waited outside of Luna Park to see if any final stars would appear. So far her most promising story would probably be the sizzling romance between Serena Livingston and Evan Diamando. Although Miss Livingston had been a few degrees beyond cold, Mr. Diamando had been more than happy to supply all of the juicy details of their romance. Molly wondered if Serena would enjoy reading the article as much as she would enjoy writing it.

A shockingly short red dress caught Molly's eye as it passed and caused her to look up. Only one person would dress with such flamboyancy, Ann Williams. She'd certainly have something scandalous or noteworthy to share with the Star. Walking towards the flashy red dress, Molly was pleased to see Ann's dreamy brother Alan and her charming escort. While Molly did not recognize the gentleman, she was impressed by his designer suit, well kept black hair, admirable build, and dark blue eyes. 'If he weren't with Ann, I think I'd take him myself.' Molly observed.

Sensing that someone was staring at her date, Ann turned around quickly. her sparkling green eyes briefly clashed with Molly's soft brown ones as if to warn her, and then she turned around. Her date stopped realizing that she was no longer walking beside her. Annoyance flashed in Alan's blue eyes as he registered that Molly Banks, gossip queen, was about to pry into their lives.

"Ann, darling!" Molly purred. She once again pulled out a pen and pad as she hurried towards the retreating starlet.

"Oh, hello, Molly." Ann's sugary voice cooed. Ann wrapped her arm around her date's arm and turned them both to face Molly.

Alan frowned at the reporter, crossed his arms, and excused himself from the group.

Molly clucked her tongue in disapproval of Alan and then smiled at Ann's escort. "So, Ann. Who is this charming man?"

Ann smiled. It was a self-assured smile that oozed confidence. "You mean this barbarian?" she asked playfully gesturing to her date.

"Ann . . ." he complained under his breath, eyebrows creasing into a disapproving look.

"Shush, Darien!" Ann exclaimed lightly hitting his shoulder. "This is Darien Reynaud, you know the owner of Reynaud Investments?" Ann said casually as she waved her hand at Darien.

"Ohh, of course." Molly said once again memorizing his features. Readers would be delighted to hear that Ann had such a gorgeous man as her date. Well they'd either be delighted or insanely jealous. It would definitely make a good story. If she could just get some truly juicy gossip on the two of them she would be set.

"So then, Ann. How come we've never heard about Darien before?" Molly asked.

Ann smiled and stood on her toes to brush a stray piece of hair out of Darien's eyes.

"It's just that my darling is so shy, but I'm sure you can expect to see much more of him in the future." she said after a carefully formulated moment. Entwining her arm around his Ann gave Molly a nod. "I'd love to stay and chat Miss Banks, but we're already so late, and darling does so hate being late. Why don't you drop by sometime and we'll talk?" she cooed.

Molly gave Ann a grateful smile as the woman guided herself and her date towards the entrance of Luna Park.

It was eons before her ride with Richard was over and Serena was very grateful to see the ground again for many reasons. "Ohh, if I never climb into one of those coasters again, it won't be too soon!" Serena said as she reached Lita and Lubina.

Lubina gave a sympathetic smile and said "I know, that's why poor Richard always has to ride those sorts of thing by himself." Then looking at Richard she gave him a heartwarming grin. "And it looks like you've lost yet another thrill seeker from the group, my Pumpkin. Poor Pumpkin, will you ever find someone who actually likes those metal deathtraps?" Lubina teased as she grabbed his hands.

Serena groaned at the mushy sentiments Lubina and Richard were sharing. Turning to Lita, Serena was surprised to see that her other companion was also distracted by someone of the opposite sex. "Lita?" Serena said as she waved a hand in front of Lita's face. "Hello . . . Lita? Are you in there?" Serena turned to get a better look at the guy Lita was staring at. He was tall with blond hair and blue eyes. He was rather handsome, and he was most decisively Alan Williams, Ann Williams' charming older brother.

Lita blinked a few more times before turning her gaze back to Serena. "Sorry." she said softly. "It's just that I saw an old friend, and well, I haven't seen him in a while. Guess I was a bit surprised . . . " Lita trailed off and went back to staring again.

Serena grinned as she debated whether teasing Lita would be the best idea. Deciding that perhaps teasing could wait, Serena waved at the guy Lita had been staring at. He had been staring back. Looking at the pair, she decided that this guy was definitely more than just an old friend . . .

As Alan made his way towards Lita and Serena, Lita slipped out of her daze and gave Serena a panicked look. "Sere, WHY is he coming over here?" she asked in a small voice.

"Well, Lita, if you'd been paying attention to me instead of staring at *him* you would have noticed me waving to him. After all, he was staring at *us*." Serena said as she patted Lita on the head.

"Sere, you are not going to live to make it to work tomorrow! You know what Molly's esteemed column in the Star is going to say? I'll tell you." Lita said as her voice rose in tone. "It's going to say 'Siren killed by Amazon in a tragic fight on Coney Island'!" Serena rolled her eyes as Lita's balled up fist hit her other hand. "So how would you like to die, Sere?" Lita hissed as Alan reached the two of them.

"Lita!" he said happily as he reached over to hug her. "My, but it's been a long time, Lita."

Lita who was uncharacteristically speechless nodded and returned his hug. Her eyes still shot daggers at Serena.

Serena grew a bit uncomfortable, knowing that Lita would find a way to pay her back, and that turnabout was definitely fair play. Trying to disappear from Lita's view, Serena turned back to the 'lovebirds' and breathed a sigh of relief. Lubina wouldn't let Lita kill her on her birthday, would she? She was too nice for that . . .

Lubina's eyes scanned the midway looking for something to do. Judging from the look on Serena's face, she'd just caused some trouble again, and they would need a distraction. Her eyes grazed over a table covered in red velvet and her lips curled into a sweet smile. The perfect distraction. "Oh Richard, look! There's a gypsy over there! See?" she motioned with her eyes towards the table where a dark haired young woman in bright colored cloth and bangle bracelets sat, a deck of cards in front of her. "Pumpkin, we simply must get her to tell our fortunes!" Lubina said amiably.

Serena rolled her eyes at Lubina's distraction of choice. 'She would choose a gypsy' Serena noted bitterly. Not believing in all that hocus pocus, or finding the romanticism of it appealing to her nonexistent sentimental side, Serena tried not to seem ungrateful to Lubina. Fortune telling was a waste of time. However, a distraction was a distraction, and perhaps this sort of thing would appeal to Lita. Serena turned back to look at Lita and Allan who now had his arm around Lita's waist. There was definitely something between them. Serena smiled as she saw the look in Lita's eyes. The look broadcasted 'You are soo not forgiven.' so loudly that Serena could practically hear Lita say it in her head. "So, do you guys want to go watch Lubina get her fortune told?" she asked trying not to make the question seem too awkward.

Lita gave her a big grin and shook her head. "Actually Serena, I think YOU should get your fortune told. At least you'll know when disaster is about to strike."

Serena gave a pretty smile and nodded slowly. "OK then, I'll have my fortune told. But that doesn't mean I believe any of that sort of thing." she answered as the group made it's way towards the gypsy.

"I'm so sorry about that darling. Those awful gossip columnists just won't leave well enough alone!" Ann cooed in her sickeningly sweet voice.

Darien frowned. "Ann, if you really wanted them to leave you alone, they would. I certainly don't have any gossip columnists talking about me yet, and I've had just as many opportunities as you. It's all a matter of how you deal with those people. If they don't think there's a story, they aren't interested in you." he said disapprovingly.

"But, darling. . . " Ann purred. "I honestly can't help it! I've always been a target of all the gossip columns and fan magazines across the country. It's just a price of fame." Ann said with a charming smile, shrugging helplessly.

Darien shook his head. "It has nothing to do with fame. You bring those rumors and articles on yourself, because secretly, you want them! I'm beginning to think my mother was right . . . " Darien said angrily as he scrutinized Ann.

Her actions and dress were definitely edging on tasteless, and her ability to draw gossipmongers and negative attention seemed too much for him to handle. His parents certainly weren't crazy about Ann Williams. Perhaps it was time to end this relationship after all.

He drew a deep breath. "Ann, I've been thinking about this for a while now, and as much as it hurts, I don't think we're suitable for one another. Our lifestyles are so different as our are values, and while I had hoped that this relationship would work out, I think we need to break up." Darien said as he watched the expression of rage grow on Ann's face.

"Just like that?" Ann said angrily as she snapped her fingers. "After four months, you're going to discard me like last weeks newspaper?" she hissed as she closed the distance between the two of them. "FINE THEN!" she shouted as she slapped him hard across the cheek. "If I NEVER see you again, Darien Reynaud, it will be TOO SOON!" Ann said as she turned on her heel and went in search of someone, no doubt her brother.

Darien sighed in relief, realizing that his break up with Ann had been highly successful. "If I'd known it would be that easy, I might have done that month's ago!" The break up had been too easy, almost. Then again, Darien knew that nothing was that easy with Ann, she'd have her revenge. However, Darien was beyond caring. Straightening out his jacket, Darien went off to find Alan. He hoped to tell him before Ann did. Regardless of Ann, Darien still considered Alan to be a good friend. He would try to salvage at least some relationships from the ordeal.

Setsuna looked up to see a blond being escorted to her table. Her large garnet eyes studied the girl closely as she read deeper into the girl's unguarded aura. She had once had a bright and lovely aura, the purest white that had gleamed like sunlight reflecting off of the snow; but something had caused it to dim. It was amazing to watch a soul who had once given off so much light but who was now covered with murky gray patches all over. Did this girl even know?

Lita guided her straight to the wooden bench in front of the gypsy's velvet draped table and forced her to take a seat. "Hi there." Lita said with glee. "My friend here wants to know her future." Lita was enjoying tormenting Serena and it caused Serena to grit her teeth.

Alan smiled at Lita before spotting Darien out of the corner of his eye. He excused himself from Lita explaining that he needed to collect the rest of his group and that this time he would indeed be back. Lita gave him a trusting and heartwarming smile and then he turned away to go collect Darien and Ann. Or perhaps he was just trying to retreat from the intensity of her green eyes.

Setsuna smiled sympathetically at Serena and then nodded to Lita. She could tell by how the girl remained silent that she was uncomfortable being there. Without even using the cards there was so much that the girl needed to know. 'I wonder if she can still feel the emptiness she carries' Setsuna thought as she searched deeply into the girls crystal blue eyes. Picking up her deck of cards Setsuna closed her eyes and carefully shuffled. Placing the deck on the table she gestured for Serena to cut the cards.

Darien looked up and down the busy path in the center of Luna Park. There were too many people there and he would never find Alan in such a large crowd. His eyes drifted from the Ferris wheel to the roller coaster and then over to a pavilion. He wondered what type of ride would suit Alan. He didn't really see Alan as the fair type, while he was a great stockbroker, he was rather serious and Darien was surprised when he'd agreed to come with them to Luna Park.

A frown creased his face as Darien's eyes wandered from ride to ride and finally started searching the vendors. A flash of golden hair caught his eyes and Darien let out a sigh. Perhaps he should go for a blond like the one having her fortune told at the gypsy's table nearby. She looked respectable, her posture held gracefully and her clothes tasteful. A girl like that would be a breath of fresh air, Darien decided as he let his eyes linger for a moment before resuming his search for Alan.

"Hey Dare, where's Ann?" a voice asked as a hand was placed on his shoulder.

"Alan?" Darien asked as he turned to face the voice.

Alan grinned. "Don't tell me you've broken up already!" he teased.

"Uhmm . . ." Darien responded.

"It figures." Alan snickered. "So did she call it off or did you?"

"Huh?" Darien asked surprised that her older and usually protective brother was taking the news so well.

"Maybe I just have a gift, but I could tell you guys were going to break up soon. It just wasn't working out." Alan said as he gave Darien a pat on the back. "Oh well, considering how you're acting, I'm guessing you did the breaking up, so I think I'll stick around with you. I don't want to know what kind of foul humor Ann is in right now. Don't worry though, she'll get over it."

Darien nodded and went back to staring at the blond girl.

Alan gave him a big grin as if amused by some private joke and then pointed in the direction he had been staring. "See that table over there where the blond is sitting? Would you mind if we joined that group for the day?" Alan asked happily.

Darien nodded his head slowly, excited to get closer to the girl, but uncertain of Alan's reasoning.

"Great, Lita will be so delighted!" Alan said as he pushed Darien towards the group.

"Huh, Lita?" Darien asked, wondering if the name belonged to the blond.

"Yeah, she's an old friend of mine." Alan said his voice taking a far off tone.

"Just a friend?" Darien pried.

"Well . . ." Alan trailed off as he noticed that Darien's attention was on the gypsy and her table and not his reply.

Serena glanced at the cards on the table in front of her. The cards, which were still face down on the table looked yellowed and tattered to Serena. Their back side all had the same intricate golden design on a black background. Serena squinted to make out the intricate detailing of the gold on black. The picture looked rather familiar, although Serena was not certain of why the elegant lines of the palace or the flowing fountains in front of it held any significance to her. She had never been outside of the United States, much less all the way to Europe, where this castle was no doubt hidden. She wondered if the gypsy had even been to this palace.

The gypsy carefully placed three rows of three cards neatly on the table. Then gesturing to them she looked at Serena intensely. It almost felt as if the gypsy was looking through her.

"Each row of cards represents an arc of your life, the past, the present, and the future." Setsuna said calmly as she focused on Serena's aura once again. "Just as fate and chance are a big part of destiny; the past and the present are very important for the future. So you shall have three cards for each." Setsuna turned away from the fading aura and looked down at the table. So far the girl had completely ignored all the emotions she had sent to her as well as tuned out her voice when she had explained the cards.

As she continued talking to the inattentive blond, Setsuna couldn't help but feel uneasy about this reading. A fortune was not something to be taken lightly, and if this girl tempted the fates she would be sorry. Setsuna wished for the day to end so she could pull the final card out of her satchel and examine it closely, however, the day was just beginning.

"Lita!" Alan said happily as he slid his arm around the brunette's waist. "Allow me to introduce you to my dear friend, Darien Reynaud."

Lita turned to smile at them and Darien sighed with relief. His nameless blond was not the object of Alan's affection. Darien's eyes drifted back to the blond girl as Alan turned his back to Darien.

Setsuna looked down at the nine cards. She realized that her procrastination was futile. The blond would not back out of her fate. For some reason she wanted this girl to stand up and walk away. Perhaps if the girl kept on walking and never turned back, her deadened spirit would not harm her, but the girl sat at the table staring blankly into the space in front of her.

"We'll start with your past." Setsuna said softly as she reached out a shaky hand to reveal the first card. Her bangles made a jingling sound as her hand shook. The blond still paid no attention to the cards.

Flipping over the first card, Setsuna frowned. A large white sphere stared up at her and the uncaring girl. The moon card was a part of her past. Setsuna tried to find the girls eyes with her own and realizing that the girl really wasn't at the table mentally, she cleared her throat. Pale blue crystals gazed into her own garnet eyes and Setsuna sighed her relief. At least she was paying attention now.

"This is the moon card." Setsuna said as she gestured to the face up card on the table. "The moon card often symbolizes bewilderment in one's life. This is a sign that you have lost your way, child. Heed the advice of the fates and find your way back to your path."

The blond nodded silently and Setsuna hid her disappointment. She hadn't fully explained the moon card to the girl. She felt a strong need to protect the girl from her own fortune. Her sense of despair was so strong for the girl. Her eyes expressed her wish. 'I want to warn you about your fear. It is eating away your soul.' Setsuna thought even as her mouth forbid her from saying it.

The entire reading proceeded similarly to the first card, and the whole while Setsuna's sense of dread grew. After the final card Setsuna put her hand on top of the girls to stop her from leaving. The girl did not understand how much power the cards had.

"Please, don't take this so lightly." She said as her eyes pleaded with the blond. "Your world is so full of fear that I can feel it. Don't let the fear control you or it will seal your destiny." She whispered as a tear slid down her cheek.

Serena was not impressed by the sentimental show . . .

Rising from the table, Serena turned and walked away. Lita was standing with Alan and a stranger. Perhaps stranger wasn't the right word. Serena felt as if she knew him, but she couldn't figure out where from. Walking over to Lita, Serena grinned. "I figured you would have hovered over my shoulder the whole time Lita. After all I just found out all about my future."

Lita nodded as she devoted her full attention to Alan. "That's nice, Serena. I'm kind of busy now, Alan and I have a lot of catching up to do. Why don't you talk to Darien?" she suggested as she gestured towards the dark haired man.

Darien smiled at Lita's informal introduction of Serena, if you could call it that. She and Alan seemed a bit preoccupied in their reminiscing to pay anyone else much attention. But he was here to meet Serena, and so he would. Smiling warmly, Darien kissed Serena's hand and said "Pleased to meet you, Serena. I'm Darien Reynaud."

Serena resisted an urge to roll her eyes at the Darien. He wasn't as charming as he thought he was, however, as she had nothing else to do, Serena decided to talk to him. "It's nice to meet you Darien. I'm Serena Livingston." She said with a hesitant smile. In the corner of her eye she could see Richard staring at them.

Serena spent a while chatting with Darien before Richard lost his patience with visiting. Serena watched him stride towards her and tried not to flinch when he happily said her name.

As Richard reached her and Darien, he placed an arm on her shoulder. Inwardly, Serena groaned. She'd wished that she could ignore him, or that Lubina would keep him busy, or most anything if he would just keep out of her hair! She was even tempted to latch herself onto Darien so that Richard would leave her alone, but Richard had already made his claim.

"Serena, there's a ride I simply have to show you!" Richard told her with a grin.

Serena returned a smile to Richard. There were a million things she simply had to do, going on a ride with Richard was not one of them.

Richard guided her reluctant form up to a marble pavilion. In the center of the pavilion was a large merry-go-round with intricately colored wooden horses that floated up and down as they continued their eternal race to nowhere. Serena almost pitied the horses because she felt just like one of them. Constantly racing on the same circular path, she would never find her way. The gypsy had at least been correct about one thing, her world was full of confusion and fear. Although that didn't mean that Serena really believed the gypsy knew what she was talking about, the idea of fate and destiny was just a silly fairytale . . .

As they waited in line for the merry-go-round Richard chattered about sentimental nothings. Serena sighed and blew a wisp of her blond hair from her face. "Richard?" she asked growing impatient with his chatter.

"Yes?" Richard said immediately stopping his story.

"What's going on with you and Lubina?" she asked innocently. Perhaps she could drop hints gently. Certainly Richard wasn't that dense.

"Nothing." Richard said with a frown.

Perhaps Richard was that dense, Serena fretted as the merry-go-round stopped and let off giggling children and handholding couples. She would need to approach this from a different angle, perhaps.

"What I mean, Richard, is why am I on this ride with you instead of Lubina? It seems to me that you're ignoring her." Serena said softly.

Steering her towards a white horse decorated with garlands of flowers, Richard helped her up onto the wooden horse and took the black stallion next to her. Reaching for her hand, Richard gave her a longing look.

The merry-go-round went around in its dizzying circles playing bright giddy music for a while before Richard spoke.

"I'm not ignoring Lubina really." He said suddenly, somewhat angrily. "But the thing you have to realize is that the ring she's wearing isn't even mine." Richard paused and sighed. "It's all a big stunt by the studio to sell more tickets. They think that if we're in love on and off screen, it will make us more appealing to the audience."

Serena felt a pain in her chest as she looked towards Lubina. She was watching the merry-go-round adoringly. Perhaps Richard didn't love Lubina, but Lubina was smitten with Richard. Shaking her head, Serena realized that it wasn't her place to care about Lubina, after all she didn't really believe in love.

"But, I realized something today Sere." Richard said as his eyes searched for hers. "I don't want to pretend to love Lubina any longer, because I'm in love. For the first time in a while, I really feel love again. I know you probably already know this, Serena, but I love you. Please say the feeling is mutual. If you would, I'd be the happiest man alive!"

Serena looked into Richard's sparkling eyes and then out at Lubina's adoring gaze. She moistened her lips and took a deep breath.

~@~@~@~@~@~~@~@~@~@~@~@~@~@~@~@~@~@~@~@~@~@~

Sooo, what do you think? Hmm, I'd really like to know. As you noticed, this story is set in New York in the 1920's. What a great time to be in New York. (Yes I read the Great Gatsby too many times as a high schooler) Now, I've gotten some questions about this Lubina character. Is she from the SM universe or what? She is actually! She's in Super S. Princess Lubina of the Amethyst kingdom. That cute episode where Diana says that Endy and Sere skip out on royal festivals. Anyways, I hope everyone enjoyed my new story and rest assured that I am working on Kiss Eternal. I also have the second chapter of this halfway done. So to review e-mail me, IM me, review me, anything! You don't even have to talk about my fic, I just like talking with minna.

Till Next Time,

Ja Ne,

Bejiin Ripley

Bejiin@aol.com

http://www.geocities.com/hoshi_no_shita

AIM: Bejiin

4/10/01