Andrew raised a hand in greeting, a grin spreading over his face, when he saw Darien walk into the arcade.
"Hey, Darien!" he called, making his way toward his friend. The young man turned and saw him and smiled, but didn't seem as upbeat as usual. It was no wonder though; he'd been in the hospital for a week.
"Hey Andrew," Darien replied as his friend reached him.
"They finally let you out, huh?" Andrew asked.
"Uh huh," Darien said, but then winced. "I still have some recovering left to do, though."
"Yeah, I suspected that, but don't worry, you'll be okay. I know you, Darien. You'll bounce back before I can look twice." With that, Andrew gave him a friendly clap on the shoulder-but unfortunately had a memory lapse at the same time.
Darien cried out in pain and stepped/fell away from him. "AH! Andrew, that's the wrong one!"
Andrew gasped in surprise and jumped back at his outburst and from realizing what he'd done. "Sorry, Darien! I forgot! I didn't mean to hurt you! I-"
Still gasping, Darien looked back at him. "It's okay, Andy, it's okay. Calm down. I know you didn't mean to. Finally catching his breath, he grimaced and straightened. "But I'm never going to be able to bounce back if you keep doing that."
Andrew gave a nervous laugh. "Uh, yeah. I really am sorry, Darien. After visiting you in the hospital several times, you would think I would remember which shoulder it was you'd hurt."
Darien smiled at him. "Like I said, it's okay. Oh, and thanks about that-about coming to visit me. Serena came once, but other than that, you're the only person who did. I appreciate it."
"No problem. What are friends for, right? Hey, did you say Serena came once?"
"Just curious. It seems strange. I thought you two hated each other."
Darien shrugged. "I don't know. It seemed strange to me, too," he lied. Of course he knew why she had come. She'd had to come. She had to tell him she was still alive. And he still couldn't believe it. All week, when Serena hadn't come back again, he'd wondered if he'd dreamed it. But now that he was talking to Andrew about her, he knew she really must be alive.
And he could see why she hadn't come to see him any more after that. After all, they weren't very fond of each other. But now…now he wasn't sure what he thought about her. And what about Sailor Moon? When they had met in the alley, she had known his name. She didn't know he was Tuxedo Mask, but she did know his name. How? She hadn't given him a real answer. And then he had saved her, jumped into front of Zoycite's beam to prevent her from being killed. Why had he done it? At the time, it had just seemed right, like some unexplainable force was telling him that he should. He still couldn't explain it. And why did she remind him so much of Serena? They couldn't be the same person. They were so different. He had to find out who Sailor Moon was. That was all there was to it. He had to know. But he would figure out how he would go about that later. For now, he needed to find Serena. He wanted to see her for some reason.
Sighing, Darien looked around. "Hey, by the way, have you seen Serena around here today?"
"No, not today. She hasn't been out much since the accident at the park. I don't know what's wrong with her. She always seems so down-out of it, you know?"
Darien frowned. "Really? That's not like her. She may be a crybaby, but she's not one to get depressed. Or am I guessing her wrong?"
"No, you're right. That's why I'm worried. I've tried talking to her, but haven't had any luck," Andrew shrugged.
"Mmm," Darien said. Well, maybe I'll get lucky and she will come in today. Or maybe I should just walk around town, and I'll find her. It's always worked before. He smiled to himself. Not to mention it usually served to get me hit in the face with something, whether it was a crumpled paper or a shoe.
Serena sighed as she lay on her back in the middle of her bed, staring at the ceiling. She'd done a lot of nothing that week, and today was no different. Lita, Amy, and Raye had managed to drag her to the arcade after school two or three times, but she hadn't stayed long or done much.
What's wrong with me? she wondered. Why can't I stop feeling like it was my fault Darien got hurt?
Because it was your fault! A part of her mind yelled at her. If you hadn't been such an idiot, he wouldn't have needed to jump in front of that blast to save you. He wouldn't have had to fight for his life the rest of that day!
Serena put her hands to her face and moaned. "Oh great, now I'm coming apart at the seams. This is 'just' what I need."
The truth was, not only did she feel terrible, but she didn't know when Darien would get out of the hospital and didn't want to risk running into him. She just couldn't face him again. She'd barely gotten through it the first time, and when he'd hugged her…well, to say the least that hadn't helped in the nerve department for either of them.
Serena was about to bury herself under her comforter and sulk a bit more when her door banged open and three voices rang out from the open doorway.
"GET UP, SERENA!"
Serena screeched and jumped three feet in the air. Unfortunately, she also jumped three feet forward and landed hard on the floor. From the doorway, Amy, Raye, and Lita laughed.
"Oww!" she cried. "Guys, what did you do that for! That hurt!-both my ears and my but!"
Raye stalked into the room. "Well, serves you right, Serena! If you had stopped pouting and come out of your room, we wouldn't have had to!
"But Raye, you just don't understand how I feel!" Serena whined.
"I was there when the accident happened too! I fell three stories and got hurt, too, but I'm not as down about it as you are. It's over, Serena. Get over it."
Serena sniffed. "B-but it's not just that. Tuxedo Mask was hurt when we saw him, and I don't know how he is, and then Darien got hurt and almost died all because of me, and-"
"Serena, calm down," Amy interrupted as she and Lita came up behind Raye. "I'm sure Tuxedo Mask is fine, and I know Darien is fine."
"Yeah, Serena, why don't you just come to the arcade with us," Lita said.
"I don't know…" Serena looked at Amy as she stood up. "Are you sure Darien is okay?"
Amy nodded and smiled. "Yes. In fact, Raye told me he got out of the hospital yesterday."
Serena sighed heavily and fell back onto the bed. "In that case, I definitely don't want to go anywhere."
"Why not!" Raye asked.
"Because I might run into him! I don't know what I'd do if that happened! I couldn't handle it!"
"Oh, don't be such a fraidy cat, Serena," Lita scolded, crossing her arms.
"But I couldn't! I didn't even tell you what happened when I went to see him the day after the accident, did I?"
"No, you didn't, but I don't care," Raye said, grabbing Serena's arm, who yelped. "You are coming with us right now, you hear me Serena? You are getting out of this house!"
"Let go of me, Raye, let go!" Serena cried. But none of the girls listened as they dragged her out of the house and down the street, laughing the entire way at her antics.
Darien looked up from the arcade game he was playing and removed his sunglasses when he heard the sound of a familiar voice shouting, coming from down the street. A moment later, Serena's three friends pulled her into the arcade. Lita noticed Darien and nudged the other two, who nodded and let go of her, turning her to face his direction. The young man suppressed a smile and a laugh of amusement. He just watched on.
When Serena was released, she sighed, and was about to relax when she noticed Darien as well.
"Guys, I told you!" she yelped. Then, acting for the most part as if he weren't there, she turned and tried to walk out. But her friends weren't going to let that happen. They grabbed her and kept her from going any further, but she still pushed with her arms and tried to move forward with her feet.
"Come on, people, let me go!"
Darien couldn't keep from laughing at that sight.
Hearing his laugh, Serena turned and looked at him, a frown on her face.
"What are you laughing at!" she yelled, trying to cover her nervousness at being confronted with him. Darien smiled, wondering why anyone was worried about her. She seemed her normal self to him.
Darien stood. "Whoa, meatball head, calm down. I just wanted to thank you for coming to see me in the hospital."
Serena's face straightened at that, and she did calm down. "Oh…uh, thanks. You're…you're welcome, I guess." Then she frowned again and put her hands on her hips. "But I've told you not to call me meatball head!"
Darien walked toward her. "Sorry…meatball head." He laughed, then walked past her and out of the arcade, putting his sunglasses back on.
Forgetting her nervousness, Serena growled in aggravation stormed after him. Stopping at the door to the arcade, she yelled after him angrily.
"You creep! If you don't quit that, I'll, I'll!-"
Her yelling continued, but Darien didn't turn. He simply raised a hand and called over his shoulder. "Later, meatball head!" As Serena's fresh burst of anger faded into the distance, Darien smiled to himself, satisfied with the encounter. He might never understand what had happened at that amusement park, but that was okay, because things were now definitely back to normal.
Yes, it's over, but don't worry. This isn't my last Sailor Moon story! Be looking for my next one shortly! I have a lot of ideas. I just have to figure out which one to do next. So…I'll be back! (Evil laugh. Isn't this fun?)