A/N: I'm simply amazed by the response to this story! It almost makes me afraid to post this chapter... Oh, I really hope it will live up to everyone's expectations... For those following TOBITF, I'll be posting Generals & 2 Little Girls by end of the week, latest! Promise! I'd like to thank everyone taking the time to review the previous chapter in this fanfic. Thanks also to everyone who "favourite" and "follow" this story. You made my day!
SmTwilight: Thanks! If you like cute, check out my other fanfic! I think it's cuter...so far! (wink) wigglypen: LOL. Evil's my middle name! I almost always leave my chapter with a cliffy of some sort! Hope this meets your approval! :) Guest(1): Here you go. Enjoy! James Birdsong: Glad you think so! LoveInTheBattleField: Here it comes! SailorCheesy: Thank you ever so much. I'm glad you think so! Moonprincess998: Thanks! I'll try my best! Sailormoon0630: Thanks for your review. Hope you approve of this chapter! :) : Thanks! Here's Part 2!
Well, on with 'BTCSM (Part 2)'! I hope you won't be disappointed with it.
Thoughts are in Italics.
(Standard disclaimer: I do not own any of the Sailor Moon characters. All characters belong to Naoko Takeuchi.)
Before The Clock Strikes Midnight (Part 2)
The Arcade (Valentine's Day, Where we left off in Part 1)
Serena's heart dropped to her stomach at Darien's declaration. He's in love with one of her best friends? One of my best friends? She shook her head in silent denial. Looking down at her hands on her lap, she realised they were shaking.
"OMG! Did you hear that Rena?" Mina asked excitedly. "Darien just declared his love for you!" she gushed.
Serena stared at her lookalike blankly. "Huh?" she asked uncomprehendingly.
"Wake up and smell the roses, girlfriend! This is so sweet. Darien just announced for everyone to hear that he loves you! Awww, he looks like my old boyfriend…" Lita sighed dreamily.
Serena stared from Mina to Lita and finally to Amy and Raye. Raye had a knowing look on her face whilst the others had dreamy expressions. They each had a soft smile on their lips. Each was looking at her expectantly. Serena gulped.
"What are you girls talking about? He said he's in love with one of us at this table. He definitely couldn't have meant me. That means it's one of you," she said, looking at her friends disbelievingly, amazed by their thoughts.
Her heart plummeted further. You see, Serena had always been in love with Darien. Since the day she first ran into him. He had called her 'Meatball Head' and she had been so embarrassed and automatically went on the defensive and called him an arrogant 'Jerk'.
Somehow the respective nickname stuck and over the years, they had developed a system between them. Their arguments were like a well rehearsed sword play. They both knew the rules and yet it was exciting as well. These arguments or rather the 'teasing banter' as far as they were both concerned, yet 'an all out war' to the casual observers, was one of the few constants in her life that she could depend on.
Stressed with her work or duties as Sailor Moon, she always had their arguments to fall back on. They always make her feel better, having relieved her stress in the form of yelling, crying, shouting and sparring with him. She never had to hold herself back. She had been content with that, never having the courage to let him know how she truly felt, but their moments together, were moments she cherished.
Serena had never seen him with another girl and it had never crossed her mind that one day she'd have to see him with one of her best friends! The idea filled her with dread.
"Are you blind, Meatball brains?" Raye's irritated voice snapped Serena out of her reverie. "I had a crush on Darien for two whole years, remember?" Raye asked further.
"How could I forget? You forced his company on us for two whole years just so you could get his attention!" Serena replied back sarcastically mimicking Raye's previous tone.
"Exactly!" Raye snapped her fingers in front of Serena's face before continuing. "The only time Darien paid any attention is when YOU opened your mouth! It's the reason I finally gave up on him a year ago!" She declared with a huff.
The other girls nodded in agreement, each trying to convince her of the truth; that the only ones in their group of friends unaware of Darien's and Serena's feelings for each other were Serena and Darien! Serena continued looking at each of them disbelievingly. She wasn't up for an argument. She was too confused and hurt for any of what they said to get through to her. She finally stood up and excused herself citing she needed to be home for lunch since she's the only one without a Valentine's Day date, not for the lack of offers though. She got plenty of invitation. It was just that every year for the past three years, Valentine's Day was spent with Darien in their ritual arguments. So much for that this time though! She thought miserably.
Unbeknownst to the five girls, Andrew who had gotten over his best friend's outburst was now receiving bets as to who Darien was referring to. "Come on you guys! Is he referring to brainy, shy Amy, the voluptuous, passionate Lita, the world renowned, exquisite Mina, the gorgeous, fiery Raye?" He beckoned the patron of the arcade. Or Darien's very own kind, innocent, klutzy Meatball Head? Hehe… an uncharacteristic evil expression on his face. In his eagerness, he failed to realise that Serena had overheard what he had said, nor did he realise the change in Serena's expression to one of horror. Even Andrew doesn't think that I could be the one she thought desperately, unaware of what was really going on in Andrew's mind. She pushed the door to the arcade and walked out dejectedly.
The Mall (Valentine's Day, Afternoon)
Lost in thoughts, Serena wandered aimlessly to the mall. It made sense, she thought, thinking of her best friends.
Amy was so smart. She actually understood what he was talking about when he went into one of his studious mode or started talking about one of the foreign movies with subtitles. They shared an interest in books and knowledge and she was always so sweet and kind.
Mina and he both had their own fan club and an almost unlimited fund. They were both refined. Elusive and cynical when it came to strangers but loyal to a fault when it came to the people they care about, which only added up to a handful selected few worthy enough to gain their trust.
Lita and he shared a love for cooking and gardening. But more than that, they both were orphaned at a very young age and had had to fend for themselves, making them very independent and self sufficient. It also allowed them a deeper understanding of one another, a greater appreciation for the friends they considered family.
Raye was, well as far as Serena was concerned, Raye was the most like Darien. They were the only two people who would call her 'Meatball Head', 'Meatball Brains', 'Odango', 'Klutz', 'Cry baby' to her face and spent their time picking on her and teasing her. Yet when it came down to it, Serena was sure that they'd stand by her no matter what.
Raye was her friend and so was Darien, despite their arguments. She trusted them and she loved them. But sometimes their teasing put a dent to her self esteem. Try as she might, a part of her could never dismiss their words, a part of her would always believe that they meant what they said. Still, Serena was sure that they'd be there for her if ever she needs them. That was why sometimes it actually hurts more.
I am neither of those things. I have nothing in common with him nor am I anything like him.
Well, she was not all wrong. Serena was Darien's antithesis. Light where he was dark. Petite where he was tall. Cheerful where he was solemn. Open where he was private. What she didn't realize was that they actually complemented each other. So again, she sighed unhappily at the thought of Darien being with one of her best friends.
Looking around she realised that the mall was filled with couples holding hands, cuddling and even making out. Despair filled her. Deciding to really do go back home, she started to walk out of the mall staring down her entire way as to avoid looking at all the couples.
Bad move on her part though. Fate obviously had other plans. She collided into a wall instead!
Grunting at the familiar feeling he went through every morning, colliding with a meatball headed whirlwind, Darien's heart filled with dread.
Get a grip on yourself Darien! She doesn't know you were talking about her! He desperately told himself.
Putting an indifferent look on his face, which he had become rather an expert of over the years, he worked to pull off a sneer. "What are you doing here Meatball Head? And alone at that. Couldn't get a date, could you?"
"You're one to talk. I don't see you with anyone either." The response came automatically.
"Well, that's because…"
"You're in love with one of my best friends. I know. Everybody at the Arcade knows. We all heard you, you know," she interrupted him. It took all of her will power to look as though she couldn't care less.
Darien raised his eyebrow. She really doesn't know it's her! Part disbelieve, part relieve. Outwardly though, he couldn't help what came out of his mouth. Years of arguing had made sarcasm instinctive where this particular girl was concerned."Oh good! Here I was worried that you might fancy me being in love with you!" he said sarcastically.
"Huh! As if! I'm not one of your fan girls, nor would I ever be!" Serena declared vehemently. It's true. I actually love you foryou, arrogance and all, while they want you for what you represent, the good looks, the money, they don't even know who you are inside!
Inwardly, Darien flinched. "Well, that's because you're just not woman enough to appreciate someone like me!" he lashed out harshly.
"Just because I don't swoon at your feet like they do, does not make me less of a woman." Serena fired back defiantly.
Feeling himself losing his temper once again in so many hours, Darien wrapped his fingers around Serena's forearms and tugged her closer. Their bodies bumped. He watched the temper in her eyes deepened to confusion in fascination, losing himself in her cerulean blue eyes.
"What do you think you are doing?"
"Testing a theory!" he said looking down at her mouth. Her pink lips were full, slightly parted, very tempting. That big insulting mouth of hers looks incredibly appealing.
"Don't you dare," she meant it as an order, but it came out meek and weak.
His eyes came back to hers. Deep sea blue held light sky blue. "Afraid?" he asked, taunting her.
Serena's back stiffened. "Of course not! I'd sooner be kissed by a rabid skunk!"
She started to pull back but found herself tight against him. Eyes and mouth lined up, breaths mingling. He hadn't intended to kiss her. At least not until her last insult, that is.
"You never know when to quit, do you Meatball Head?"
"My name is Se..."
She hadn't expected his mouth to be so warm, so soft, so hungry. She had thought the kiss would be sophisticated, controlled and cold, like the image he presented to the world. She was dangerously wrong. Kissing him was like stepping out into the warm bright sun on a cold dreary day. Even as she gasped for air, he deepened the kiss, plunging into the recesses of her mouth, taunting her, tormenting her, teasing her. She tried to shake her head but succeeded only in changing the angle. The hands that previously reached for his shoulder in protest, now hopelessly clung to his neck.
He had meant to teach her a lesson. He couldn't even remember what the lesson was. But he learned. He learned how his angel could be soft and strong, frustrating and delightful, all at once. The groan he heard was his own.
He lifted his head, shaking it to clear the fog that had settled over his brain. He could see her eyes staring at him, dark and dazed.
Stunned by his action, he released her so quickly she stumbled back even as her hands slid away from him.
Serena said nothing, could say nothing. Feelings, too many of them, clogged in her throat. She made a helpless gesture with her hands as he made to touch her arm, warding him off, making him feel like a lower form of life. So he stood. Staring at her as she stood there, looking lost and helpless and utterly and heartbreakingly beautiful.
How dare he kiss me like that when he's in love with one of my best friends! Taking a deep breath, Serena said tightly, "I'd like you to leave me alone."
Darien was torn; desperate to have her in his arms again, wanting to confess his love for her, terrified that she will reject him, crushed that she's turning him away, completely and utterly in love with her. In the end, "Alright," he said and used all his will power to turn and walk away from her. When he looked back, she was still standing as he had left her, staring into her own shadow.
Posted on fanfiction: 06 February 2013
A/N: How was it? Did it live up to your expectations? Like it? Hate it? As usual, constructive reviews are appreciated. 8 days to Valentine's Day! I need to work on my other fanfic so I'll post the conclusion to this story even closer to V day! (More evil laugh!) Look out for it and thanks again for reading! :)
Edited: 06 February 2013 2013 (Same day, several hours later). I added to the last scene so that it's not too abrupt and you'd see why Darien opted to walk away. I noticed there are a lot of views, but only one review so far for this chapter. Is it really that bad? Does it really fall short of everyone's expectation? Do let me know what you think! :) Reviews do motivate me to write faster! (wink)