Gradual: Relfections From the Other Side

4-14-00

Takes place no where in particular, no when in particular.

Just assume it's the "future".

I don't own these characters, but if someone should steal my story I WILL HUNT YOU DOWN AND GIVE YOU A VERY PAINFUL HAIRCUT THAT WILL MAKE ALL FUTURE HAIRCUTS UNNECESSARY. Being that I can sometimes be shamefully proud of my writing (and other peoples' too), I tend to take plagiarism against anyone VERY seriously.

NOTE: This is a companion piece to my story "Reflections". This is Darien's POV.

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"I do not mind what language an opera is sung in so long as it's a language I don't understand."

-- Sir Edward Appleton

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Gradual: Reflections from the Other Side

By Rashaka

I found out recently that many people— i.e. Andrew, Rita, the girls, and a few others-- thought that my relationship with Serena was Love At First Sight.

It wasn't.

As unromantic as that sounds, it's true. And from what I understand, it wasn't for Serena either. The only person who could really understand this is Setsuna, and that's only because she's so damn old she probably understands everything.

I'm afraid my initial perception of Serena wasn't the most flattering. I wasn't awestruck by her ethereal beauty; I wasn't drawn in by her magnetic, heartwarming personality—her abrupt yelling and instant distaste of me in particular pretty much negated that possibility. BELIEVE me, I didn't actually get to personally witness that Heartwarming Personality until a much later date. My eyes didn't pop out of their sockets and I didn't decide then and there that Serena belonged with me and only me. I wasn't left with the overwhelming sense of wonderment, and I wasn't instantly compelled to stalk her and study her every move in all-encompassing adoration.

My first impression of Serena Tsukino actually went something like this: Blond. Meatballs. Cute. Bouncy (she was nearly jumping up and down in annoyance at the time). Blue eyes. Bad temper. And then, looking at the test paper: Not too bright. ...Very bad temper.

I know I'm going to pay for that later--but we're talking about first impressions, okay? I feel I should now add that my wife is actually quite a bit more intelligent that she lets most people assume, though why she allows that preconception to continue is beyond me.

As I watched her storm off from our first encounter I felt a small pang of the familiar, and wondered if this was the infamous "deja-vu" people always claimed to have. I picked at the feeling and decided that it wasn't (although in hindsight it probably was) and walked off, totally dismissing the whole incident as genuinely odd, but not of earth-shattering importance.

Due to my inherent pessimism I was only half-surprised when the next day I entered the arcade where Andrew worked to discover that it had officially become her new favorite hang out. I figured--Great, life really is here to punish me. Now I'm going to be stuck listening to her yell at me for no reason other than the fact that I'm me every afternoon that I remain Andrew's best friend.

Okay, so it wasn't that bad. I mean, she was pretty cute.

Especially when she was annoyed.

This was how our infamous wars began. Serena insisted on showing up at my buddy's arcade everyday, and thus it became my duty to annoy her everyday. And man, did I get good at it. It wasn't long before I discovered Serena's greatest vice: her food. That made for some wonderfully sarcastic, if a tad mean remarks. And then I learned about her inability to walk strait. I can't tell you how much I hassled her about that.

And there was my personal favorite: her hair. She loved her hair, and so I vowed to tease her about it as much as possible. It didn't help Serena much that she was incredibly easy to tease. Getting a rise out of her was so damn fun. She took everything personally, and reacted with the most spectacular wail I've ever heard. Either that or she'd start lecturing me on how cold and mean and what a heartless jerk I was. As much as I'd like to defend myself here, I must admit I was pretty bad. I think I mostly came off as rude, cold, selfish, arrogant and unreachable. No wonder she yelled at me all the time. Even Andrew scolded me.

Why all the teasing, you might ask? Why try to make her life miserable? Well I wasn't really trying to make her miserable... just annoy her a lot. Serena would have said it was because I hated her, but that's just silly. She never wronged me in any way, and you can't hate a person for being a klutz.

To tell you the truth I don't have a real excuse. It was most often just the first thing that came out of my mouth. Initially I think I was just trying my damnedest to be an ass. Then it became routine. I guess one reason WAS because she was so easy to tease. And the fact that she was cute when she was angry. Maybe I just subconsciously liked the fact that when I was tormenting Serena I could act like a bratty elementary-schooler and not feel stupid doing it. According to Andrew, my actions were equivalent to "the little kid sitting behind her pulling her pigtails and sticking dead frogs down her back as a show of affection". I told him once-- one of the many times he scolded me about my treatment of her-- that I just felt this compulsive need to tease Serena.

Like I said, I have no real excuse.

I can't tell you when I loved Serena vs. when I didn't. Lightning didn't strike my brain and I didn't wake up with a life changing epiphany that caused a total reverse of heart on my side. My love for Serena just sort of developed, growing and layering in on itself until I knew through every part of me that I loved her. This shouldn't surprise anyone; while many people think I can be cold I'm actually a very passionate person. Nearly everything I do is affected directly by my emotions. When I fall I fall hard. I obey my heart over my head far more often and more recklessly than any of the scouts; with the possible exception of Serena. This is both a strong point and a weak point for me.

As I said, it wasn't Love At First Sight. It was gradual. Those things that at first annoyed the hell out of me-- her eating habits, her klutziness-- eventually become amusing and even cute, and then endearing. I wouldn't change one aspect of what she was or what she is for anything now. I was never blind to her looks, and as much as I badgered her they never failed to impress me. I'm saying this because I think Serena needs to understand that she NEVER should feel self-conscious about THAT.

I don't feel that my love for Serena is any less or special because it wasn't immediate-- after all, if there's nothing to back it up then that love is kind of empty, isn't it? The best loves have a story and a history, and saying that the feeling was instantaneous just cheapens it in my mind.

As my love grew it deepened, sinking further and further into me, until now everything I do reflects my love for her.

And I have never been happier.

~~~ Ja ne!