This Is Forever
By Jaina

Heylas, minna! What you have here on your monitor is a fic. Wow! It
is unabashedly romantic, but not at all hentai. I don't have much
in the way of description--I'd rather let the story speak for itself--
other than I use the NA names because, well, I like them (except for
the outers...don't even get me started), it has a few vague references
to sexual activity (if you've taken health class and know the general
principles of baby-making, you're fine), and the conversation towards
to end is taken from NA episode "Too Many Girlfriends," in which
Darien and Andrew have a talk about love and relationships. I'm too
lazy to look up the Japanese number.

Many thanks to my lovely lovely betareader LeanneB; she makes the
best fic even niftier. Thanks to Val for comments,
and to Aimee for the brainstorm session. You guys are wonderful.
Crazy, but wonderful.

I adore feedback in any way, shape or form. If you feel like making
me beam, (even criticism works--hey, I'll get better!) feel free to
e-me at . If you'd like to archive or post
elsewhere, just ask for permission first. The smrff archive is fine.

Summary? Gosh, you just want it all, don't you? Fine. Darien and
Serena celebrate a special day. That's all I'm sayin'. Go read. ;-)

Oh, and I don't own Sailor Moon.


Darien watched her sleep as the day's first rays of sunlight slipped
past the curtains to caress their cheeks. The room was still and
silent; no sounds penetrated the hushed atmosphere save that of her
breathing and his own, though that hadn't wakened Darien. He smiled.
After a year of practice, he was far too used to the snuffling noises
Serena made as she slept to be bothered by them. Neither the phone
nor the alarm clock bore responsibility; Darien vaguely remembered
unplugging both last night, in their hurry to begin the pre-emptive
`celebration.' No, nothing had tugged Darien from sleep other than
the inner knowledge that today was...well, today.

He shifted amongst the rumpled sheets so he could rest his face on
his hand. There was no worry of Serena waking up prematurely. Though
time had changed and matured her, she could still sleep through a
tsunami. At the moment, she lay on her side, one hand splayed out on
the pillow beside her face, the other unconsciously reaching for
Darien. Her hair, down from its customary odangos, was considerably
mussed from their activities the night before. It framed her head in
a soft golden halo. Her mouth lay slightly open as she breathed and
Darien ached to kiss it, but such a motion would surely awaken her
and he wanted to watch her sleep for a little longer.

Of course, if he had to choose, Darien's favorite of Serena's current
features was the as-yet slight roundness to her abdomen. He could no
longer help himself; as he had so many times in the past few months,
he reached out a hand and laid it gently on the curve of Serena's
stomach. No internal movement was found or expected, but Darien
savored the emotional connection he knew he was not imagining.
*We'll see you soon enough, little one,* he sent a thought towards the
infinitesimal being within Serena. *And then Rini, my Small Lady,
I'll hold you in my arms and welcome you to the world.* He moved
forward to deposit a gentle kiss on his daughter's current home
and when he looked up was faced with a warm pair of blue eyes.

"Good morning," his wife said softly, her face glowing with happiness.

"Good morning," he said in reply, and kissed her hand. "Though I
didn't expect for you to face it so soon."

"As if I could waste a minute of this day sleeping," she protested.
"Besides," she sniffed, "your ring is cold."

Darien glanced down at the bright metal of his wedding band. "Cold,
eh? Let's see what we can do to warm it up, then!" He lunged
upwards and began to tickle her. Her shrieks of protest lasted for
an instant before he covered Serena's mouth with his own. No
further objections were noted.


Breakfast consisted mainly of Serena's waffles (contrary to Rini's
claim, after a while she had learned to cook...a few things) and
melon, mostly chopped and fed to one another. Darien delighted in
taking each of Serena's fingers one by one and gently sucking the
juice off. Serena in turn made sure that at least every other piece
initially missed Darien's mouth so she could do her own job of
cleaning him up. If the basket of napkins in the center of the table
went completely unnoticed, well, she had to be thorough, after all.

"So what now, my prince?" she asked once they'd finished.

"Surprises. But first," he reached out and pulled her to her feet,
"a walk in the park."

Old habits were hard to break; Serena made sure to grab her bag on
their way out the door, but Darien just smiled knowingly and a tad
smugly. He'd surreptitiously removed her communicator the day before.
In the unlikely (and increasingly infrequently of late) event of a
youma attack, the other Scouts would handle it. Even Haruka and
Michiru had volunteered for back-up duty today. The communicator
itself was in good hands; Raye would most likely wait for the
second incarnation of Beryl herself to descend upon them before
she'd even consider calling in Sailor Moon and Tuxedo Mask.

"Remember this spot?"

"How could a I forget?" Serena raised an eyebrow at the familiar park
bench. "I was having such a good time when out of nowhere a pink
demon fell out of the sky and tried to break my neck."

"Oh, I don't know about that," Darien joked. "She looked pretty sweet
to me. A lot like someone I know."

"Oh, please!" She took a swing at him, but Darien sidestepped and
pulled her into his arms instead. "Now, what exactly were we doing
when she arrived?" Darien asked teasingly. "I seem to have trouble

Serena grinned. "Let me refresh your memory," she stated, and
proceeded to do just that.

After they came up for air, he squeezed her hand. "Still miss her?"
he asked rhetorically.

"Not for long," she replied. "Now come on. I've got some surprises
for you, too, your highness!"

He went.


"I've heard of this place," Darien remarked at Serena led him through
the wrought-iron gates. "Eros Botanical Gardens, eh? I was hoping to
visit sometime soon."

"I know," Serena replied. "I also know that since it only opened a
month ago, you couldn't have come here yet without my knowing."

"Well, I thought it might make a nice exp-hey!"

"Just come on, baka." Serena unceremoniously grabbed his hand and
pulled him along with her, walking rapidly as she did when she was
excited. Darien shrugged and resigned himself to a fast-paced tour
of the gardens. They occupied a plot in Tokyo that was completely
closed off from the bustle of the city. It was much like the regular
park they'd already visited, except in this case expert botanists and
floral experts had worked to make it a beautiful place to visit, more
like a natural museum of flowers than a community park. The gardens
were divided into individual plots and a few small buildings for the
more exotic tropical plants. Darien moved towards a small walkway
lined with hybrid lilies of many pastel colors, but Serena insistently
tugged him away. Mystified, Darien followed. Eros Gardens were brand
new, yet his wife obviously knew her way around and was headed towards
a specific destination. When had she sneaked here without him? More
importantly, why had she kept it a secret?

After a few more minutes of walking-trotting and several fruitless
attempts on Darien's part to find out where they were headed, Serena
slowed down. She blushed a little and Darien stared; she actually
looked shy! Just when he thought she couldn't surprise him any more...

"Darien, I know you love me," she began hesitantly

He stopped her and pulled her into his arms. "Now who's a baka? Of
course I love you, Serena." He kissed her lightly. "No one else
would put up with my smelly shoes like you do."

"Let me finish!" Serena pinched him and continued. "As I was saying,
I know you love me. I know that together, our new family,
means more than anything in the world. But I also know that you miss
what you didn't have."

Oh, so that was what this was about. "Serena, it's okay, it doesn't
bother me."

"Liar." She smiled to take the sting out of her words. "It may not
haunt you anymore, but I know you miss your parents. I know you wish
they could have met do I. I know both of us wish they could
be here to greet Rini when she makes her grand entrance." She placed
an affectionate hand on her middle. "Maybe it's impending motherhood,
maybe it's just me growing older, but for a while now I've been
thinking about them...thinking about you...thinking about what you
lost when your parents died. You were so alone, Darien, and you
didn't even have them to remember." She stroked his cheek lovingly.
"You're not alone anymore, but it's not right that they should have no
one to think of them. So I...did some research. Amy and Luna helped.
I...we went back to the orphanage, searched for the records...we found
them, Darien. We found your parents. And we did this." She turned
simply towards the small garden she had led them to. Darien followed
her gaze, and froze.

The Helen and Edward Chiba Memorial Garden.

Slowly, unblinkingly, Darien stepped through the small wooden archway
into the plot. The cloying scent of roses enveloped him. The garden
was a small, square-shaped area with a short path and a white stone
bench opposite from the entrance. Roses in full bloom filled up any
extra space; large white rose bushes served as borders and clung to
the archway; smaller pink rose plants lined the path way; and in the
small circular space in front of the bench, blood-red roses surrounded
a carved marble stone. As he approached, Darien could make out the
faces of a man and a woman carved into the stone. His parents,
smiling up at him. It was, not a tombstone. It was a
tribute meant to honor their lives.

"Do you like it?" Serena stepped up beside him. "I wanted so badly
to tell you before now, so you could finally learn about them, but
Amy thought it would be more special this way. Was she right?"

Darien turned to her and tried to make his voice work again.
Standing before him was this beautiful woman, this angel who wasn't
perfect but always looked at the good parts of life; this child become
a woman who cared so deeply, loved so fiercely, and never truly
realized why so many loved her in return; here was *Serena*, and she
had done this for him. She had worked so hard, returned to the
buried past and demanded that it reveal itself all for love of him.
How could he possibly let her know what he was feeling at this moment-
how grateful, how proud, how in love he was?

"Darien? Are you..."

There were no words to express what he was feeling, so Darien took her
in his arms and made it perfectly clear.


They spent the rest of the day together, laughing and treasuring each
other's company and just being in love. They ate lunch in their
favorite restaurant, window-shopped for baby supplies at the mall and
found a fair that seemed to have no other reason for being other than
the fact that it was summer.

He fed her cotton candy.

She dragged him into a photo booth and they made faces at the camera.

He won a small stuffed rabbit at a ring-toss game and she immediately
claimed it as their daughter's first toy.

They took a ride on the ferris wheel and he used a strategically-
placed rose to muck up the engine enough to ensure that they were
trapped at the top for a good long while.

As dusk descended upon them, Serena, pink-cheeked and happy, assumed
that it was time to head home. Darien, as she saw from the route he
was taking as he drove them, had other plans.

"Where are we--?"

"Ssh." He smiled mysteriously and placed a finger over her lips.
"One more surprise."

He took them through an area quite familiar to Serena, so she wasn't
exactly shocked when he pulled up in front of the Arcade. Still,
they'd spent enough time there as children, what were they here for
now? "Darien?"

"Come with me." A sleight of hand, and he offered her a rose. Inside,
Serena expected to see crowds of people playing beeping video games
and chattering happily with their friends. Instead, most of the
game consoles had been pushed aside to leave an empty space in the
middle of the dim room, partially taken up by a small linen-covered
table in which stood two flickering candles.

"" Serena's jaw dropped and her eyes filled up with

"Andrew let us have it for the evening," Darien chuckled. "I wanted
to rent it, but he insisted it was our gift. He and Lizzie helped set
it up."

He snapped his fingers and Andrew's sister appeared out of nowhere,
dressed in a crisp waitress' uniform, pencil and pad held at the ready.
"Mr. and Mrs. Chiba, may I take your order?"


They thoroughly enjoyed a sumptuous dinner prepared by Lita, who
discreetly remained hidden in the kitchen, then made use of the
converted dance floor to the tunes of some of their slower mutual
favorites. Hardly wanting to let go of one another, they then drove
home, lit a few candles, and made love slowly as the light from the
small flames flickered against their bodies.

Afterward, Serena dropped into sleep rather quickly, but Darien just
held her against him and listened to her breathe. On this day, when
all that they'd been to each other was at the forefront of his mind,
one conversation from the past kept echoing inside.

`Haven't you ever been totally gone on someone?'

Back then, he had barely understood the concept. People cared about
themselves; that was just the way things worked. If you find one of
the few people worth knowing, you had to take what you could get from
the relationship and get out before they took too much. That was as
deep as things got with other people. Even Andrew, a loyal friend,
was ultimately kept at a certain distance, and he was as close to
Darien as anyone ever got. Darien was alone, he'd always been alone,
and he always would be alone. He could rely on himself; in fact, he
could rely *only* on himself. He was used to it. It was fine.

`You meet this person who's just totally special and everything

...or grates. He tried not to laugh at the memories; Serena needed
her sleep. Had he really been so blind back then? It would be easy
to say that it was Serena who had changed enough for him. He could
point out her laziness, her klutz attacks, and sometimes fluffy brain,
and look at the difference in her now. Except...she wasn't different,
in any of the ways that mattered. Serena was still the friendliest
person he knew, bar none, and if people who met her mistook her bubbly
warmth for airheadedness, then they just didn't know her in the ways
that Darien had come to. Even back then, years of growing and fighting
and laughter and tears and maturing ahead of her, Serena had been right
for him. A meatball-headed, chatter-box girl had been what the suave,
aloof, emotionally shipwrecked college student needed. They hadn't
clicked liked puzzle pieces; they'd changed and molded together like

`...and you know this is forever.'

Hmm. Forever.

He could do that.

Serena shifted and mumbled something in her sleep, and Darien
tightened his arms around her. This was what his friend had been
talking about so many years ago. This was everything right in his
life. As he felt his own eyelids growing heavier, he placed his mouth
next to Serena's ear and whispered something he hoped would filter
into her dreams.

"Happy Anniversary, Serena. I love you."


Feedback makes the world go round! And I confess, this is my first
(Sailor Moon) fanfic. Be kind to a new author?