A/N: Two more chapters after this and this story will be done. Thanks for following thus far and hope you enjoy this and the subsequent chapters
It was just past midnight when she woke, a sudden jolt of adrenaline causing her to wake as she sat up quickly in bed. She looked around, blurry vision focusing on the radio clock nearest to her.
Darien had been called out around ten after one of his patient's went into cardiac arrest. On nights like this it was anyone's guess when he would be home. Serena tried to shake her head clear of any fear that may be resting there. This wasn't the first night she'd spend alone in this house and it probably wouldn't be her last. Still, something about tonight felt different, wrong. Everything about this room, this house felt sinister, as if a spectre was looming, watching her from the shadows.
"Get a grip, girl, you're twenty-five not ten," she muttered, throwing her legs over the side of the bed, her bare feet hitting the chilly wood with a thump. She rolled her shoulders back and paused, eyes squinting in the darkness as she walked toward the bedroom door, alert ears listening for sense of movement.
She pulled the French door open gently, gripping her shoulders, feeling beneath her fingers the prickly bumps that formed on her flesh front the cold. One step after another she descended down the stairs, her eyes falling on the dark van that stayed perpetually parked in front of her home. She sighed; nothing to worry about, the security team was still out there in their creepy cars with the tinted windows, watching her.
She moved past the dining room into the kitchen, passing through the open archway when she felt it…the hair on the back of neck was rising, a numb jolt of cold fear sweeping through her. She turned around quickly, studying the empty space, scanning the room with her eyes, looking for something, anything that could send her body into such a sense of disarray.
She shook her head when she found nothing. Paranoia was becoming a bedfellow of hers and the vastness of this house only made her feel that much more alone inside it.
It was official, they were getting a dog.
She walked slowly into the kitchen, her fingers flipping the light switch, sighing inwardly once the kitchen was filled with golden illumination. Serena walked toward the cabinet, her hands reaching above her to grasp at the knob when she saw it…her eyes widening as they focused on the stainless steel refrigerator door, the reflection of what lay behind her sending her mind into a frenzy of panic. She turned around sharply, pressing her body against the counter until her eyes fell upon the smeared puddle of blood that started in the northeast corner of the kitchen and ended just past the hallway parallel to her.
Panic seized her muscles and for a moment, she was rooted to the ground in fear. Adrenaline pumped through her and she flinched, her body screaming, begging for her to move. She lunged toward the dining room, her bare feet hitting the floor with loud thumps as she ran, her breath coming in short bursts. She reached for the handle, gripping it to pull it open when suddenly she felt a hand against her arm, a strong grip squeezing into her flesh and she screamed, a muffled yell in the silence, her voice loud and strong until a large hand covered her lips.
She felt her body pulled backwards and against him, the familiar smell of his Versace cologne pervading her nostrils. "I didn't kill all of your body guards just to let you get a way, Serena," he said, kissing the side of her neck and breathing in her aroma. "You smell so good, just like I remember."
"Now she begs for it," he said, dragging her into the sitting room and throwing her onto the couch, her ankle slamming into the coffee table and crunching noisily. He smirked when she screamed, a wide eyed look of terror on her face.
"Please just, let me go…don't do this-"
"Don't do what?" he said, looking at his hands. They were stained with dried, dark blood. "You don't even know what I'm here for."
"I know you're upset," said Serena, grabbing her angle and pulling herself onto the couch. "But-"
"But what?" he asked, a crazed look on his face. "You left me for another man and sent the entire state of Japan after me. Do you know what it's like, to be on the run for your life? To have everything you've worked so hard at taken away from you. My company, my houses, my wealth. IT'S ALL GONE…and it's all because of you!"
He lunged at her, gripping her by the ankle and pulling her toward him, his body coming to cover hers. She moved beneath him, trying hard as she could to escape. The blonde watched in horror as he pulled his arm back, his fist coming to contact with the side of her face with such blunt force her vision went black and she swayed, a trickle of blood falling from her nose.
"I want you to hurt the way that I do!" he cried hitting her again, his fist pummeling into her face as she cried, his hand stained with her blood. He pulled her up to him, her head lolling behind her as unconsciousness claimed her.
"Better yet, I want Darien to hurt the way I do, to watch as the most precious thing in his life is taken away from him," said Seiya brushing her golden hair from her face. "I'm going to hurt you Serena and I'm going to kill you, in front of him, and he will hear every cry, every scream that comes out of your mouth. He'll watch as you beg me for death and then I'm going to kill you. And then I'm going to kill him."
She shuddered in his arms for a moment as he watched her before grabbing her by the hair, pulling her hair back and slamming her head into the glass table before them. Blinding pain ripped through her, her mind slipping away into the world of darkness as Seiya gathered her limp, lifeless body in his arms.
Darien pressed open front door and shut it quietly behind him. The last thing he wanted to was wake Serena up with the noise. It was nearly three am and he was exhausted. All he wanted to do now was crawl into bed beside her and sleep for the next few days.
Slowly he removed his jacket, tossing it onto the couch before reaching for his tie and loosening it around his neck. He ran his fingers through his hair as walked toward the banister, the reflection of moonlight hitting glass drawing his attention to the east. His brow furrowed when he noticed the broken glass, pieces of the coffee table he and Serena had picked out scattered across the floor, traces of golden stands of hair and blood matted within the shards.
His mind was alight with panic. Where were the guards? Where were the fucking guards? He ran into the kitchen, the dining room, into the empty study and the living room. He peaked into the backyard, watching as the sparkling pool reflected the crystalline evening sky.
"Serena?" he asked. "Serena!" He ran upstairs, his long legs taking two steps at a time until he reached the landing. He kicked in every door, searching, scanning each room for her as fumbling fingers dialed 911.
"Azabu 911, what is the location of your emergency?"
"1413 Birch Dr, Lakeshore," he said, his voice quivering as he ran toward the bedroom the phone nearly dropping from his hands when he saw her.
She was so bloody, so bruised, her body pushed into a chair, her hands bound behind her. Her head was drooping, the blonde strands of her scalp stained orange. Remotely he could hear the operator talking, asking him questions, but he had moved away from the dropped cellular phone so quickly that her voice was drowned out by the silence. He kneeled before her, trembling fingers moving to her face, her neck, his hand pushing against her chest, his fingers clasping her wrist, kneading and pressing into the skin until he could find a pulse.
He exhaled loudly, when he found it, the slow methodical beat against his index finger. Her breathing was shallow, her heartbeat weak, but she was still alive. He moved toward the phone, his body twisting and standing to find himself face to face with the attacker that did this to her.
"Seiya," he growled out, lunging at the man, their bodies pressed together, fists flying as one tried to land a hit on another. Equally matched they dueled until they both collapsed onto the bed, their bodies hitting the chair Serena sat in, toppling it over, her head hitting the wood with another hard crunch.
Darien looked to her, his eyes filled with concern. It was the one moment of weakness Seiya had been hoping for. He pulled his arm back, edging his fist into the older man's face before throwing him to the ground. Darien yelled out as his back hit the floor; Seiya hovered above him, drew his leg back and buried his foot into Darien's rib cage, a sound popping as hit foot connected, once, twice into his abdomen. Pain made his vision fade into black and he could vaguely taste the copper tang of blood on his lips.
"Darien," Serena whispered, her eyes rolling into the back of her head, a searing pain in her face and head, her eyelids fluttering as she struggled to come back to this conscious plane of existence. The topple over in her chair had lodged her from the seat and from her position from the floor she could vaguely see Seiya rushing towards her.
The crazed billionaire grabbed at her, his body colliding with her feet as she used her heels and thrust her legs upward into his face, his head snapping back from the impact, the bone in his nose snapping.
"You stupid bitch!" he cried, gripping his face, small trickiest of his own blood staining his swollen hands.
She screamed as she struggled to stand up, her previous head injury and bound arms hindering her from running away. "Darien! DARIEN!" she cried, her voice stronger, louder, snapping him from his stupor.
He looked to her, his midnight black hair falling into his right eye that was beginning to swell. Filled with the sheer will to protect her he rose up, tackling the younger man until his body slammed into the mirror, the reflective glass shattering, breaking shards off into his back.
"FUCK!" he screamed, pain shooting through Seiya as the sharp ends penetrated his flesh, digging and wedging deep into his muscles.
After the shattering, she could hear it, the distant wailing of police sirens chasing the remnants of danger away. Seiya heard it too; the notion of impending danger sent a burst of strength through him. He cried out loudly before grabbing Darien by the throat and pushing backwards past the bed, past the closets until he flung the older man through the glass balcony doors, the sounds of shattering and falling glass like gun shots in the quiet of the night. Darien fell backwards his head hitting the balcony rail with a loud thump, his body falling to the ground and lying still.
Serena struggled against her bindings, eyes widening with fear as Seiya neared her. She watched in complete horror as he bent over and collected a shard of glass from the floor running towards her body and kneeling before her.
"Your little boyfriend is dead in the corner and there's no one to help you!" he cried, gripping the large slab of glass and jamming it into her flesh just below her waist. She screamed, the searing pain in her abdomen amplified as Seiya pushed it deeper inside of her, staining her nightgown brown as blood dripped and slid down his arm onto the floor. She screamed again, over and over, begging for him to stop as he removed the piece and jammed into her again, the agony in her belly overwhelming. She shut her eyes her body writhing on the floor when she suddenly felt his weight lifting off her. Jamming her eyes opened she watched as Darien pummeled into him, the force of his tackled throwing Seiya out of the bedroom and into the walkway.
She rolled over, gripping the open would, eyes widening as she saw the glass sticking out of her stomach, her blood tarnishing the translucent mirror. Serena lifted her head, watching as Darien fists collided into Seiya's mouth, his face, his groin, grunts of anger and frustration passing from her lover's lips as he drove Seiya away.
Darien's mind was alight with pure rage for what he had seen Seiya do to her. His hands, feet were moving on their own accord. Punch after punch he landed, until Seiya's body teetered on the edge of the stairs, until stark realization flashed against the young billionaires eyes, until Darien's fist collided with his abdomen, thrusting the man backwards until he collapsed against the stairwell, his body slamming against the banister before rolling down the steps, his legs flying over his head, his bones breaking, his body slamming into the wood at the bottom of the staircase until he was still, until the house was quiet, until the front door burst open and Darien met the careful, watchful eye of Detective Liu, a nine millimeter aiming at his face.
Darien looked down into the face of his attacker, glassy empty eyes staring back at him.
"You really should be getting some rest, " said Amy, peeking into the hospital room and staring pointedly at Darien, his back to her. "I may not be Lead Attending Physician yet, but I know tired patient when I see one."
Darien smiled and looked over to her. The bruises on his face were healing nicely. "It's hard to leave her."
"She's in good hands, though. Even a doctor needs his rest. The transfusion was successful, she'll be fine," said Amy, placing a gentle hand on his shoulder.
He nodded, knowing she was right. It was hard to leave her side after what happened. Watching Seiya torture her from the balcony had nearly killed him. Luckily he hadn't hit any organs; several staples and a blood transfusion later, her attending physician said that she should be up in no time. That was yesterday and she still hadn't fully woken up yet. As soon as he heard her voice and could look into her eyes he would rest, until then, he didn't plan on taking his eyes off her.
"Any word about Seiya?" asked Amy, her voice quivering, her mind racing back to that night. She remembered how scared she was when she got the phone call from Raye. She couldn't imagine what Serena had been through. Held hostage and tortured in her own home; she shivered at the thought.
"He's in police custody."
"Seiya's good at getting out of a bind, what if he escapes? What if he has someone on the inside? What if-"
"He fell down the stairs and broke his neck. C5 to C8 and his spinal cord suffered lesions," Darien said, looking Amy. "He's a quadriplegic."
"What?" Amy asked, shocked.
"They haven't released that to the new s yet. I don't know why. He's being tried for…I can't even remember all the things Detective Liu said; obstruction of justice, aggravated assault, assault with a deadly weapon, kidnapping, first degree murder, solicitation, vehicular manslaughter…the list goes on."
"Maybe they don't want to incite pity."
"Pity or not he's going to jail. We'll just have to see whether it will be with or without a metal plate in his spine."
"Well he certainly deserved it."
Darien scoffed. "He killed my baby and Lily, broke into my house and killed my guards and tortured my girlfriend. He deserves worse."
"He's paralyzed, Darien. He's got a lifetime of being imprisoned in his own body not to mention confinement in a holding cell. His assets have been dissolved…he's lost everything. I don't think it can get much worse." Darien nodded. "Promise me you'll get some rest."
He looked to her and smiled. "I promise."
"Okay, good night," said Amy, closing the door behind her as walked away from the couple.
Darien stared into Serena's face, admiring how beautiful she looked even injured, when her eyes began to gently flutter open. She squinted at first, her blue orbs adjusting to the light, her vision steadying to focus on the man she loved.
Quickly he scooted him, his hand falling to rest against her scalp, the other cupping her hand.
"I'm right here, baby," he said, stroking her forehead.
"Where is here?"
"Oh," she said, pausing and looking up to him. "You know what?"
"I'm sick of this place."
Darien chuckled. "You're sick of this place? I work here."
Serena giggled. "Ow…she glanced down at her abdomen and frown. "How long should I expect to be in pain, doctor?"
"Doctor," he smirked lewdly. "We've never played this game before. Leave it to you to play the doctor patient game when you're out of commission." Serena laughed and rolled her eyes. "You have fourteen staples holding your guts in. I'd say for a couple of weeks at best."
"Great…I guess my sexy hero boyfriend will have to pamper and take care of me."
"Hero boyfriend? Just doing my job miss."
Serena's smile faded. "Thank you, for saving me. I'm sure Seiya would have killed me if it hadn't been for you."
Darien leaned and gently kissed her forehead. "I would do anything for you. Seiya will never hurt you again."
"How can you be sure?"
"He's confined to a wheelchair, Serena. I talked to Raye, the DA is pursuing multiple life sentences," he said, stroking her cheek. "He can't hurt you anymore."
Serena smiled looking towards him. "This has been the craziest, saddest, most eventful year of my life," she said. "But I found you and I'm going to keep you, no matter what."
Darien laughed. "We made it through crazy plotting exes, serial killing exes, murder trials, unfortunate accidents, identity theft, russian drug dealers…I can't even believe we're still alive."
Serena laughed harder. "Ouch, damn it. It's not funny," she said, eyeing him as he laughed.
Darien was right, they had survived more than the average couple in the last several months than most people had in their lifetime. Deep in her heart she knew the struggle was over and now their lives together could truly begin.
"Stay in bed!"
Serena groaned. "I've been in bed for a week now, Darien, I am fine!" she said, throwing her legs over the side of her bed and padding after him.
"Serena, I'm a doctor, you have to listen to me," he responded, an exasperated look on his face.
"Don't you I'm a doctor me, Darien Chiba," she said, her hands on her hips. "All I want to do is make breakfast for myself and my gorgeous Doctor boyfriend. Is that so much to ask?"
"Yes, especially when you're gorgeous doctor boyfriend had you discharged early because I promised your doctor and Amy, who did not approve mind you, that I would make sure you got enough bed rest. Besides, I made my gorgeous girlfriend breakfast for a change."
"You, made me, breakfast?" she asked, her eyebrow raising.
"Miracles do happen, from time to time," he said sarcastically.
"And may I ask what you made."
"Your favorites; chocolate chip pancakes, scrambled eggs and turkey sausage, and you ruined the surprise!"
"Oh, I'm sorry darling," she said, wrapping her arms around his neck and pulling him into a fiery kiss. "I promise I'll make it up to you later."
"I'm looking forward to it, now get back in bed."
"Sir, yes sir, Dr. Chiba," she said, mock saluting him before turning on her heel and marching back into the bedroom.
Darien smiled at her antics before skipping down the stairs into their massive kitchen to finish plating her breakfast. Carefully he placed the fluffy pancakes, cheesy eggs and sizzling sausage on to a white plate before placing it on the tray. He grabbed the glass full of fresh squeezed orange juice and placed it by the steaming plate of food. He was pretty proud of himself, he never ever cooked on a regular basis, so this meal was a pretty big deal.
But despite the full platter, her breakfast surprise wasn't complete.
Carefully Darien dug into his pocket and extracted the small velvet box that he had been hiding from Serena in his underwear drawer and placed on the tray opposite her glass of juice. He had envisioned sweeping Serena away to an island and proposing on some beach in the tropic, but her injuries were going to keep her grounded for a while and he couldn't wait any longer. They had been through so much already; he couldn't wait any longer for her to be his wife.
Cautiously he grabbed the tray before heading up the wooden stairs and down the hall towards their bedroom. Darien laughed when Serena nearly squealed with delight as he entered the bedroom with her tray of food.
"Breakfast in bed," she said, leaning back into the pillow. "Really, Darien, a girl could get used to this."
He smiled. "This girl may have to."
Slowly he bent over and placed the tray over her lap and sat down on the bed beside her. She surveyed the contents of the plate and nearly killed over. These were all her favorite breakfast foods! And they all looked so good. She grabbed her fork, hovering over each item with it, mentally deciding what she should eat first. Darien nearly had a laughing fit over how deliriously happy and confused she looked over which food to eat first. She moved to stab into the sausage when her brain switched from starvation mode to gee I wonder what's in that box mode.
"Darien what's that?" she asked, putting her fork down on her tray and looking up to him quizzically.
"You'll just have to open it and find out."
Immediately she grabbed for the box, the velvet overlay supple and padded against her fingers. Slowly she lifted the lid, the curiosity against her face slowly melting into an expression of shocked disbelief. There, within this box, laid the most beautiful trinket she had laid eyes on. The princess cut diamond sparkled beneath luminescent bedroom lighting, the platinum band round and delicate. She looked up to Darien, her mouth agape, her throat dry.
"Is this…Is it…Is this what I think it is."
"I love you. I've loved you since we were kids and could never imagine spending the rest of my life with anyone else. Serena, make me the happiest man in the world and say that you'll marry me?"
She paused for a moment, her jaw hurting as it sagged open on her face. "Absolutely I will."
Immediately Darien leaned in and took the ring from the box, then the box from her hand and placed it on the table beside them. He gently grabbed her left hand and slid the diamond onto her ring finger. She looked to the ring them to him and kissed him, long and languid, slow and soft, until they both needed to come up for air.
"Oh. My. God…WE'RE GETTING MARRIED!" she cried, her smile brightening by the second. "I have to tell the girls! I have to tell my mom." She paused. "But I have to eat first, everything on this plate smells so good!"
And this time Darien couldn't help it. He laughed, clutching his belly he fell back onto the bed.
Some things never changed.
"What did you call all of us over here for, Serena? You're not secretly dating some megalomaniac serial killer again are you?" asked Lita, plopping into the leather easy chair behind. She frowned when all the girls turned to give her a look. "What? Bad taste? Too soon?"
"Too soon," said Raye, rolling her smiles as Lita smiled sheepishly. "But seriously what's the big deal and where's that boyfriend of yours?"
"He went out to the grocery store. He said with me being home and bored all day we're going through food faster than usual," said Serena, her left hand tucked carefully away behind her back.
"So are you going to tell us why we're here or not?" asked Mina.
"Okay, impatient," said Serena.
"Wait…wait…let's guess," said Lita. "Me first…You're pregnant."
"No!" yelled Serena, "no guessing."
"She's irritable," whispered Raye to Lita. "She might be pregnant."
"I am not, Raye!"
Amy chuckled. "Serena, tell us," she said eagerly.
"Well, I'm not pregnant, but I have news just as big."
"One of us is pregnant?" asked Lita.
"Oh my god, Lita, what do you have, babies on the brain or something?" asked Mina. "Serena's trying to tell us that she's…"
Serena paused before thrusting her left hand forward and wriggling her fingers."Engaged!"
The quiet room suddenly filled with the sound of ecstatic screaming girls as each young woman jumped to her feet, screaming , crying, dancing and celebrating in their own way. Raye and Amy were admiring Serena's ring while Mina did some sort of happy dance in the corner and Lita continuously punched the air.
"I can't believe it! I mean I can believe it, you know, 'cause he loves you. But I can't believe it, oh my god! You have to let me plan it, I'm the best wedding planner in Tokyo and of course I won't charge you a dime, because you're my best friend. Do you like orchids, I like orchids. Or Lilies. OH, SERENA YOU LOVE LILIES. We could have Lilies and Carnations, I have so many ideas already…"
"Is she ever going to stop talking?" Lita whispered to Raye and Amy as they watched Mina spew ideas to Serena who already looked over whelmed.
Amy was just about to intercede on Serena's behalf when the front door swung open and Darien entered carrying several bags of groceries. As soon as he put them down Mina ran and pounced on him.
"Oh my god, congratulations, Serena just told me. I can't believe it, well I can believe it, but I can't believe it…we barely found out you guys were dating and now you're getting married and Serena said I could plan it, and I won't charge you and it'll be fabulous. We were thinking about doing it outside, you know, with some fresh flowers or whatever…" Darien looked to Serena for help, his mouth agape. He was completely overwhelmed by Mina's sudden outburst and more so by the fact that it seemed as if she hadn't taken a breath since she started talking.
"Yeah congrats, Dare," said Raye, gently pushing Mina, who was still talking, out of the way and hugging him as Lita and Amy followed suit.
"Thanks. I got Thai food. I figured we could all have dinner together," said Darien, placing take out boxes onto the table. "Andrew is on his way."
"Andrew's on his way?" asked Mina, going wide eyed.
"Yes, he is Mina. Why don't you tell him your wedding ideas," said Serena, sending a look to Darien, who bit his lip to keep from laughing.
"Oh…oh….no, I couldn't do that," said Mina.
"Because that would actually involve her talking to him, which we know she's not good at," mumbled Lita.
"For godsakes, Mina you are twenty six years old," cried Raye, walking into the kitchen and coming back with a bag of paper plates.
"I know how old I am Raye," pouted Mina. "And look who's talking, you can't even talk to that new lawyer at your job without turning red-faced. What's his name? Job?"
"Jed!" yelled Raye.
"Jed?" asked the Amy, Lita and Serena.
"Where the hell is he from?" asked Lita.
"It's short for Jadeite!"
"Because that's better," mumbled Lita to Amy who struggled to keep from laughing.
"It's not funny. His mom was a jeweler, she named all her sons after precious stones. He's got a brother named Nephrite. Everyone just calls him Ned. You might like him Lita," said Raye, crossing her arms over her chest.
"Wait, wait, wait…their names are Ned and Jed?" asked Serena, her lips twitching. "Darien we are not naming our children anything like that!"
"Why not? Rhyming names are cool. Like Mary and Barry," he said grinning.
"No freaking way," she responded.
"So is Ned cute?" asked Lita.
"Why don't you come to lunch with me and find out," said Raye to Lita as the doorbell chimed. "Mina, I think the doors for you."
Mina scowled as Raye nudged her towards the front door, which she reluctantly opened. Andrew smiled down at the blonde before waving to the rest of the crew. "Hey, Mina," he said, walking in past her. "You look nice today."
"Thank…I…Umm…SERENA AND DARIEN ARE GETTING MARRIED," she yelled at him.
"MINA!" cried the girls.
"I'm sorry it just slipped out," she said, looking apologetically at Serena and Darien who seemed to find it funny.
"Congrats man," said Andrew hugging Darien and then Serena after congratulating her.
"We'll need dates!" said Lita. "I need to meet this Ned!"
"Amy can bring Greg!" said Serena.
"Shut it…" mumbled Amy.
"And Mina and Andrew can go together," said Raye mischievously.
"I think that's a great idea," said Andrew, a little louder than he should have.
"Really?" asked Mina, looking to him, her face painted with shock.
"Yeah, really," he said shyly.
"Oh…me too, then."
"Good, it's settled. Love connection aside, can we eat now? I'm starving," said Serena, opening the food containers.
"Watch out Dare, she's like this and she's not even pregnant yet!" said Raye.
"Hey, I heard that!"
Darien smiled and looked up at her, imagining her pregnant with his child. "I can't wait."