A/N: I'll be posting Chapter 6: Reunions & Misunderstandings for TOBITF in several hours. So double treat to those following both fics! (At least I hope you'll think so!). Thanks to those who "favourite" and "follow" either of my work. Special thanks to everyone taking the time to review the previous chapter:

LoveInTheBattleField: Coming your way! Moonprincess998: Your review lifted me up and made me smile! You really are the best! :) SmTwilight: LOL. I know what you mean! I was gonna really turn it into mayhem with even the scouts wondering if they were the one, but that would require more than a three-shot and would not happen before the clock strikes midnight! So I digressed and held myself back! :) James Birdsong: Oh! Thank you so much! :) Senshi at Heart: Thanks! Let's see how you like the ending! (wink) bonesbemmettlover: I'm glad you thought so. Thank you! :) D: ;) SerentiyMoonGodness: Thanks! Glad you thought so! Crystal Saturn: OMG. Your reviews had me smiling the whole day! I'm such a fan of your work and I'm so thrilled you like BTCSM! Thank you! :) Emmamoons: LOL. You're about to find out! Sparrowflyaway: I know! How else will I be able to write the story? (wink)

Alright then, without further ado, I give you 'BTCSM (Part 3)' the final instalment.

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 3)

The Park (Valentine's Day, Evening)

Lowering herself onto a bench, Serena sat. Her emotions were so ragged, she had to brace herself, hands gripping the edge of the bench.

Deep breaths and she slowly unclenched her hands. Settling more comfortably on the bench, she closed her eyes. This was a mistake. She could still feel his arms around her, his lips on hers, how right it had felt. Immediately, she opened her eyes again. Get a grip on yourself! He's in love with one of your best friends! She told herself repeatedly.

Who is it? Amy? Mina? Raye? Lita? Serena knew that her friends may claim not to want him but that claim was made when they thought they didn't have a chance with him. It was made when there was no effort or any indication of interest on his part. Would the claim still hold true if Darien were to confess his love? Would Raye for example be able to say 'No' to Darien? Would she even want to? Would Amy, Mina and Lita? Every single one of them at one point or another, have been taken by him, either by his good looks, his brains, his charm or his elusiveness. Every single one of them has something in common with him. Every single one of them would be better suited for him she thought in despair.

Another thought crossed her mind. All this while she had thought that he'd hang around her, that their arguments were a daily ritual as precious to him as it was to her. This was something she had held on to for three years.

The sound of slowing footsteps broke into Serena's thoughts. She turned to see Darien standing just to her left with his hands shoved into his pockets in an awkward gesture. She stood up to face him. He didn't move towards her, nor did he smile. He only stood, and for the first time in her recollection, he looked uncomfortable, the facade of indifference slipping from his face.

With his hands still in his pockets, he shrugged. "I'm sorry." The apology was stiff and overly polite. "I wasn't looking for you or following you," he said.

Serena fought back the hurt as she slowly walked to him. Looking into his deep blue eyes though, the hurt quickly turned to anger. Rolling easily with her temper, she tossed back her blonde pigtails.

"I'm being ridiculous. Apparently I've been ridiculous for some time now." Her quiet tone did not take away from the obvious anger the words represent.

The tears crowding her voice confused as much as unnerved him. "I have no idea what you're talking about. Look Serena, can't we just sit down and talk this through?" he asked, frustrated with the way things turned out.

He had gone to the park to clear his mind. He wasn't expecting to see her there. When he saw her sitting on the bench, he had been staggered. She'd looked so enchanting, and so sad. Heartbreaking. He would have done anything to lift that quite sorrow.

Serena tilted her head towards the bench. "Go ahead. Have a sit. But there is no need to talk anything through. You're in love with one of my best friends. I get it. Whoever it is, you can do no better than one of them because they are all really great. It's just my bad luck that I'm in love with you."

"If you'd just..." Her last words sank in, dazzling him, dazing him, delighting him. "Oh God. Serena." He started to rush forward but she threw up both her hands.

"Don't you touch me!" she said so fiercely that Darien stopped in his track, baffled. "What do you expect me to do?"

"I don't expect anything from you. I shouldn't have, right from the start. Then, you wouldn't have been able to hurt me like this. As it is, it's my problem. You just make sure you treat my friend right and that she never finds out about this or the crazy idea of a joke with the kiss earlier. I will not hurt my friends. And I won't have you hurting them either!" Serena said furiously before continuing coldly, "now if you'll excuse me, I need to get home."

Darien grabbed her arm before she could step away. "You can't say things like this. You can't just tell me that you're in love with me and just walk away."

"I can do anything I please. I don't answer to you." Eyes cold, she jerked her arm free. "I have nothing more to say to you and there is nothing you can say that I want to hear right now."

This time it was Serena that left Darien.

Darien's Apartment (Valentine's Day, Night Time)

Darien paced his room, scowled at the floor and wished he had something handy to kick. He wasn't exactly sure how he did it, but he had messed things up badly. Somehow, he had managed to hurt Serena, infuriated her and alienated her in one swoop. He had never seen so many emotions crossed a person's face in the space of a few short minutes; from unhappiness to fury and from fury to frost, all the while never letting him get a word in edgewise.

How could she think I'm in love with one of her friends and not her? He shook his head, disgruntled and frustrated. What else is she supposed to think, with the way I've been treating her? I so much as told her myself that I'm in love with one of her best friends. And thinking that I'm in love with one of her best friends...

"How else was she supposed to act, you jerk?!" he muttered to himself, plopping down into a chair.

So much for all his careful plans. All his teasing to keep her at a distance, his tidy way to keep himself from getting hurt while still keeping her in his life, had blown up in his face. She had been in love with him all along.

She loved me. He dragged a hand through his hair. Serena was in love with him and he hadn't had to wave a magic wand or wished on a magic lamp. All he had to do was be himself.

She had been in love with him all along but he had been too blind to see it. Now she had run away from him and wouldn't listen to him. He had called her dozens of times and left her dozens of messages, none of which had received any response from her.

As far as he could tell, he had two choices. He could wait until they bumped into each other again which with their track record, was bound to happen. Hopefully she would cool down by then and he could beg for her forgiveness and tell her that he loves her too. Or, he could go to her right now. Climb up her window, demand that she listens to him and tell her that he loves her too. He liked the second idea better.

Serena's Bedroom (Valentine's Day, 40 minutes to Midnight)

Serena sat on her bed, cursing herself for losing her pride and her temper so completely. All she had succeeded in doing was embarrassing herself and Darien and giving herself a vicious headache from crying too much.

She had ruin a friendship that had been vitally important to her. But how he had hurt her! There would be no apologising, of course. No matter how miserable she felt. She will not apologise for speaking the truth and she will never be sorry for loving him. But how will she be able to face him again? And her friend? How will she be able to face the two of them together? Who is it? Amy? Mina? Raye? Lita? Not for the first time, she wondered. She wished she could resent them, but it was just not in her nature to do so. She truly loved her friends. And truly thought that if anyone would be good enough for Darien, it would be one of them and someone who'd be good enough for her friends would be someone like him.

Restless, Serena walked out to her balcony... and received the shock of her life when the subject of her contemplations jumped right in front of her from the tree branch next to her balcony.

Darien stood awkwardly. His face shadowed with worry, fatigue and something else she was afraid to even consider. For a moment, deep sea blue stared into light sky blue.

"What are you doing here?" Serena asked to cover the awkwardness that replaced the shock of seeing him on her balcony.

Darien took her hand, curled strong fingers around her.

"Don't," he murmured when her eyes filled.

Serena swallowed her tears back. Not knowing what to do, she stared at her feet.

Darien raised her chin and stared into her eyes for a moment. "You are going to listen now. You had your say. I need to have mine," he said solemnly.

Serena took a deep breath, "Alright. I supposed after my outburst before, you're entitled," she said, sighing heavily and turning to walk back into her bedroom, motioned for him to follow.

Inside, she sat on her bed whilst Darien sat on her study chair facing her. He took both her hands in his.

"Serena. I was talking about you! I have loved you from the first moment I saw you. I couldn't believe you'd ever feel the same way no matter how desperately I wanted you to. Because of that, I made things more complicated and difficult than they might've been. All the teasing was just a defence mechanism," he said earnestly.

When she tried to say something, he put a finger to her lips, keeping both her hands in his other hand. "No. Don't say anything just yet. Just listen." He stroked her jaw gently to take the sting of his gentle rebuke before moving his hand to their joined hands and pressing them to his lips. "You've changed me. Challenged me. Opened me. I thought teasing you was the only way I get to have you in my life. So I kept on teasing you. I would've done anything to keep you in my life. I haven't had a lonely day, since the day I met you. You complete me, make me whole."

He brought her close to kiss her lips as moon beam shines into the room. He swore he could feel starlight on her skin, taste moondust on her lips.

"I love you Serena," again, he touched his lips to hers, ever so gently. "I love everything about you. The girl who ran into me every morning. The beauty who argued with me every day. The klutz who fell and let me catch her in my arms. The cry baby who lets her friends tease her just to brighten their day. The angel who sees the good in everyone, even yours truly. It's all the things you are that I don't want to live without," he solemnly said.

The heartfelt words, the tenderness in his eyes, the soft smile playing wistfully on his lips and the gentle caresses to her face, clear the doubts and took the pain away. She lifted a hand to his face, wonder and amazement on her face. "I love you too. I'll never feel about anyone the way I feel about you. I'll never want to."

Smiling, Darien caught Serena's wrist, turning it so that he could brush a kiss over her opened palm. "So, you'll be my Valentine?" He audaciously asked with a grin on his face.

Serena laughed. Just before the clock strikes midnight, she threw her arms around him "I thought you'd never ask."

~THE END~


Posted on fanfiction: 09 February 2013

A/N: Well, did the conclusion live up to expectations? Did it fall short? Please do let me know what you think. I can accept critics, as long as it's given civilly and not in harsh angry words. So do review.

It's sad that this story has come to an end. As previously mentioned, this is my second attempt at writing a fanfic. My first fanfic is not yet completed. Do check it out. I hope you give it a chance as I would really love to hear your thoughts on it. For a preview of S&D interactions just go straight to chapter 8 or any of the last few chapters.

Lastly, thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed it. :) Hope to see you on the pages of The Only Blonde in the Family!

16 November 2013: Thank you swirlblaze for pointing out that the last word should be 'ask' instead of 'asked'! ;)