First Season. Rainbow crystals in his apartment make Darien a prime suspect as a Negaverse spy. To get close to him and obtain information about the enemies, the girls send Serena on the most difficult Sailor Soldier mission yet: to make Darien fall in love with her.
Sailor Moon belongs to Naoko Takeuchi, not yours truly.
by Phantasy Star
Serena's eyes went wide in surprise and utter amazement.
'Steady, Serena... Steady...'
The motorized motion of the clamps made a subtle whirring sound as they closed over the Sailormoon doll. Serena's hand was almost shaking as she very slowly and very carefully navigated the clamp of the crane machine to drag the doll to the out slot.
She let out a shrill cry of joy when the doll fell and landed in the bin, ready to be picked up.
"I won!" she exclaimed, looking at her prize in pride and disbelief, then proceeded to start jumping up and down, "I won! I won! I didn't waste thirty-two hundred yen and five hours for nothing!"
She looked around for her friends, or really, anybody she could possibly share her thrill with. To her disappointment, the girls hadn't arrived yet, and Andrew was busy taking down orders. Still, the accomplishment was huge enough to enjoy on her own. She smiled. The Sailormoon doll had just come in that day... it was the first time there was a doll made in her image!
"Well, if it isn't crazy Meatball Head."
Her smile faded.
She turned around slowly. Maybe it was because of his much larger figure that everything seemed to be a little darker when he's around, his stupid height blocking the light. Or maybe it was his moon-dampening personality. 'No,' she reminded herself, 'Don't let him ruin this for you.'
"You were here when I left for Saturday class this morning!" Darien chuckled, "And you only got one prize?"
'Too late,' Serena thought.
"Stupid baka!" she screamed, "Mind your own business! I bet you can try for five hours and not even win once!"
Andrew came to the counter and Darien ordered a cup of coffee to go.
He turned back to her and shrugged, "Well, I'm sure everyone appreciated it. Five hours of silence with no Meatball Head screeches disturbing the neighbourhood."
Her already red face turned an even darker shade, "Screeches?"
"You know what I'm talking about," Darien continued, "I could hear your screaming two blocks from the arcade."
Andrew reached over the put the coffee-to-go on the counter, sighing at the sight of his two friends arguing again. Honestly, it didn't make sense to him how much they could hate each other. He didn't even bother to try to resolve it and just disappeared into the kitchen for some quiet.
Before Serena could come up with a response, the repulsive dark-haired man had taken his coffee and was heading out the door.
"See ya, Meatball Head," he said casually.
Serena stood frozen where she was, her anger boiling up within her, the elastic band stretched further and further, growing thinner and thinner.
"Jerk!" Serena screamed in rage as she threw the Sailormoon doll at his retreating figure.
Her eyes widened in shock as Darien turned around and caught the doll easily. The coffee in his other hand didn't even spill.
"You're giving this to me?" he said, feigning surprise, "Thanks."
As he walked away, fire appeared in Serena's eyes. She ran full speed at her nemesis and was ready to perform a Sailor Kick attack on the baka when Raye and Amy appeared at the door and each pulled at one of her arms, slowing and finally stopping her.
"Let me go!" Serena cried, "I have to kill him!"
"No, Serena!" Raye screamed, "Let him live... let him live!"
"He took my Sailormoon doll," Serena whimpered, "He just took it!"
Amy and Raye looked sympathetically at their Sailor soldier leader, now reduced to a miserable mess. Even the ice chocolate they ordered for her didn't help.
"Well... you did throw it at him," Raye pointed out.
Serena stopped her sobbing for one second to stare daggers at the Senshi of fire.
"He might bring it back tomorrow," Amy said encouragingly, "It's probably just a joke. You know how he likes to tease you."
"Tease... Harass... Emotionally abuse... whatever you want to call it," Serena muttered.
The two girls continued to try to console their best friend.
"Oh shoot, I'm so stupid," Andrew said as he smacked his forehead walking by their table, turning to the girls' table for some sympathy, "Darien was just here and I forgot to give him back that Microbiology textbook he left here yesterday. I knew I was forgetting something..."
Serena's head shot up, "Textbook...? Andrew, where does he live?"
"The apartment building next to the park entrance just over there," Andrew said and pointed, "Apartment 1101, I think."
Andrew blinked and when he opened his eyes, the book had disappeared from his hands and Serena was running through the arcade doors with it.
"Don't worry, Andrew! I'll bring the book back to the baka!" she hollered as she bolted, leaving the others flabbergasted.
He smiled to himself as he remembered Serena's enraged expression as he left the arcade. He'd bring the doll back to her tomorrow. It seemed to make sense that Serena would be the type of girl to be a huge Sailormoon fan.
When the knock came at the door, he thought he had imagined it because of his exhaustion and slight dizziness. Then it came back, more insistent.
"I'm coming," he groaned, opening the door to find a meatball-headed blonde and frowned, "What are you doing here?"
Serena sized him up. He was wearing a white T-shirt, and a pair of black shorts. She gulped. She didn't realize he was so well built because he wore that horrible jacket all the time. It was easy to tell that he had just been sleeping from his disheveled hair. His eyes were more tired than usual too. But somehow, these features made him even more handsome and masculine.
He glared at her, "I should have known, who else would have such an annoying knock?"
And the list of good things ended with his appearance.
"My Sailormoon doll," Serena yelled, fire from the afternoon returning, "Give it back!"
She pushed past him and threw the Microbiology textbook on the large white couch, then proceeded to rip the apartment apart looking for her prized possession. In the back of her head, she noted how neat the whole place was. It was a shame what was happening to it. But this would teach him to ever take her stuff again.
"Hey, stop that!" Darien shouted as she searched under the cushions by throwing them aside.
"Where is it, where is it?" Serena muttered to herself.
She knelt down on the floor and opened the drawer of the coffee table.
"Ah ha!" she cried as she pulled open a carefully hidden box under pieces of paper, "You must have kept it in there!"
"No, don't open that!" Darien shouted.
Fueled by his words which gave her all the more reason to open it, she flipped open the lid and froze. She blinked.
Two crystals. Her triumphant smile faded.
One light green, one yellow.
Too familiar. Green... Yellow...
The two Rainbow crystals that the Sailor soldiers didn't have.
'Oh god...' she thought, 'Oh god, oh god...'
Before she had realized that he had doved to the floor in front of her, he had ripped the box from her hands and shut the lid. She still couldn't move.
Neither of them spoke. A million thoughts raced through her mind. Finally, Darien recovered first, his expression grim. He was clearly still angry, but didn't have the energy to show it.
"Your Sailormoon doll is in the closet," he said quietly.
She stood up.
"I... I have to go," she said uncomfortably, "Sorry for messing up your apartment."
"But your doll-"
"Um... Give it back to me later..." she said softly.
He stared at her, confused.
"Okay, bye, Darien."
Before he could respond, she had raced out of his apartment.
The four Sailor soldiers sat in a circle on the temple floor. They didn't have emergency meetings often, but Luna said that the situation definitely called for it. Luna sat beside Serena with a deep frown on her feline face. Amy, Raye, and Lita sat on each side of the square table.
"Are you okay, Serena?" Amy said worriedly.
Serena nodded hesitantly, still dazed.
"Are you absolutely sure they're Rainbow Crystals?" Raye said, "I mean, they could just be regular jewelery."
"Right, because I'm sure a guy like Darien keeps tons of jewelery around his apartment," Lita said, eliciting a glare from Raye.
"They're very likely to be the real Rainbow Crystals," Luna said, "Light green and yellow are the colours that we don't have, the two colours that the Negaverse probably has..."
"I hate to say it, but it does make sense," Amy said, "Darien lives alone, he's very secretive, and nobody knows a thing about his past."
Raye gasped, "You don't think Andrew's in on it too? That he's from the Negaverse as well?"
Lita shuddered, "This is too much. I can't even get over the fact that Darien is the enemy, much less Andrew."
"You should have taken the crystals," Raye scolded Serena.
Luna's eyes were doubtful, "No, it's better that she didn't take them. If he finds out that you know something about the crystals, he could figure out that you're Sailormoon. Worse, he could have killed you."
Something flashed across Serena's eyes, but she didn't say anything.
"All right," Luna said, "Let's figure out what we have to do now."
"For one thing," Amy pointed out, "We should try to get back into Darien's apartment and retrieve the crystals."
"But now that we know he's from the Negaverse, we may be able to get more information out of him. You know, to learn more about the enemy," Lita said, "The problem is... how can we force him to talk?"
"Darien's not the type to be forced into doing anything," Raye muttered, "I'm not so sure it'll work."
Luna nodded thoughtfully, "Well... There is one other way to learn more about Darien's ties to the Negaverse - to get close to him."
The others paused to process the information.
"Serena... are you okay?" Amy spoke up, "You haven't said anything."
"I'm..." she said slowly and thoughtfully, "just trying to figure out how he could have gotten the crystals."
The other girls sighed.
"Have you been listening to anything we've been saying, Meatball Brains?" Raye demanded, "As much as I hate to admit it, Darien's from the Negaverse!"
Serena frowned, "No, I'm pretty sure he isn't. I'm ninety-nine percent sure those were the crystals, but..."
"Fine," Luna said,"Let's say Darien is really innocent. We've still got to find out how he got the crystals and why. Either way, Serena, you'll have to do a little detective work."
Serena finally pulled out of her trance when faced with such a horrendous suggestion, "What, me? Why?"
"None of the other girls actually knows Darien," Luna said, "Except Raye. But if Raye ends up succeeding, I'm afraid she'll steal the crystals WE have and hand them over to him."
"Hey!" Raye exclaimed, offended, "You know I'd never help a Negaverse creep."
"Either way," Luna said, "I still think Serena would be the best candidate for this job. Darien would never suspect that you're Sailormoon. Of all you girls, you're the one who least likely to be suspected to be a Sailor soldier."
Amy and Lita nodded their agreements.
"Way too hit me when I'm down, guys," Serena groaned, "This is insane!"
"Serena!" Luna scolded, "You are a Sailor soldier. You have a duty to protect this planet and its people! If you turn down this job, you're neglecting your duties as a Sailor soldier and putting the whole world to danger!"
"I don't see how becoming friends with that creep will save the planet," Serena groaned, then finally sighed in defeat, "What do you guys want me to do?"
"Well, it's pretty obvious, isn't it?" Lita said, "You're a girl, he's a guy. If you want to get close to him you'll have to..."
"What?" Serena shrieked.
"You'll have to be with him all the time, monitoring his very move, learning who he has connections with..." Luna continued.
"The most important thing, Meatball Brains," Raye said, "Is to get him to trust you."
"Eventually," Amy said, her face growing slightly red, "He'll hopefully, well... invite you back to his apartment. Then you can take the crystals back, and we'll bust him."
"But the first step," Luna finished, "is to get him to fall in love with you."
Amy, Lita, even Raye, nodded.
"Please tell me you're kidding."
Darien sighed as he brought the cup of hot tea to his lips. No coffee today. Thankfully, he was feeling better than he did the day before. After Serena's unexpected visit, he had been able to fall back asleep. Because of the incident with the Rainbow crystals, he had moved the box to a drawer under his bed. How could he have been so careless? If some ditzy highschooler can find them, surely, Negaverse spies could easily dig them out.
Deep in thought, he took another sip of tea and let the soothing liquid pour down his throat. He always felt most comfortable when he was alone.
"Hey, Darien," someone said sweetly.
He blinked. The voice was a certain Meatball Head's, but the tone certainly wasn't. He turned slowly to see that the voice did indeed belong to Serena. He shrugged it off. She must have accidentally passed a test or something and was in a good mood.
"Er... here," he said, thrusting the Sailormoon doll he had on his lap at her, "Take back your stupid doll."
"You're so sweet, Darien," she drawled, laying her hands on the counter and resting her head on it. Her eyes followed his playfully.
He blinked. 'Sweet?'
"I knew you'd bring it back to me," she said coyly, lifting her right hand and playing with her hair nervously, "You're such a tease, Darien!"
"Wha...?" he stuttered.
"But you can keep my doll," Serena said, blushing, "It's my present to you, 'kay?"
What on earth was going on?