"Come on Serena! I really wanna show you something!"
A tall brunette yelled happily, eagerly dragging a slight blonde by the wrist.
"LITA! LET ME GO!" She struggled in vain upsetting her ice cream cone.
"My ice cream!" She wailed, watching it plop onto the hot sidewalk.
But Lita wouldn't stop. "I'll buy you another one later! You've got to see this!"
They stopped outside a huge building with a new sign just outside that proudly caught the girls' eye.
"I signed us all up!" Lita said cheerfully.
Serena looked at her suddenly rather nervously.
"When you say 'us' do you mean-"
Impatient to start, Lita pulled Serena inside. They went into the Women's locker where they found Mina, Raye, and Amy already dressed in their leotards.
"Mission: Capture Serena completed!" Lita said triumphantly as soon as she saw them.
The girls laughed and tossed two leotards at Lita and Serena.
"You should get dressed, Serena; our lesson starts in five minutes."
Serena grumbled but she cheered up a bit as she slipped hers on, glad that her friends had at least thought to buy it in her favorite color. She wound her long pigtails around her buns until the loops were only just shoulder length and with that, she pushed the door open.
The gym was bigger than any she had seen in her life and it looked like a playground. There were two sets of uneven bars in one corner, several beams in another, vaults dividing the two, ring sets hanging high and lazy from the ceiling, and all sorts of mats littering the floor.
"Wow!" Serena gasped, drinking it all in. A woman with a short brown bob called for their attention.
"My name's Haruka and I'll be your instructor. First, we're going to warm up and stretch."
She ran through the exercises so quickly and unhesitatingly, it made Serena's head ache.
She was lost in thought when she saw a man with familiar dark hair on the bars, expertly pulling himself over and onto the first one. He drew himself up calmly and sprung, catlike onto the second bar, his hands and waist supporting him. Serena gasped as the gymnast swung and pulled himself up again, only this time in a handstand. Serena never took her eyes off his lean athletic form as it twisted off and leaped, landing crouched. The man straightened and turned around and with a shock of recognition, Serena stared.
Was that really Darien?