It felt like only a few minutes had passed before I woke up to the stinging of peroxide on my wounds. The sudden pain followed by the sizzling of bubbles made me want to cry out in agony. I bite my lip, pinning it down with my teeth. The inside of my mouth feels like it is going to tear from the pressure of my gnawing.
Tuxedo Mask dumps more peroxide on my cuts, and I can't hold my cries in anymore. "Owww! Darien, that hurts!"
At the sound of my voice, Darien pauses before looking down on me with sympathy. "I'm sorry, but these cuts need cleaned before I wrap them in gauze."
"These wounds are too big for that, and we have another battle to fight!" I protest. I bat his hands and peroxide away from my legs. "Healing is faster."
Darien nods his head in acceptance. Obviously he knows just as well as I do that twenty minutes of resting versus days of waiting for large gashes to heal was the better choice, for now at least.
I raise my hands above my legs, and whisper, "Heal, please."
I close my eyes tight, imagining the cuts closing up, I imagine the bleeding has stopped. The familiar warm feeling in my fingertips appears, and I smile with a sense of relief. My legs tickle where the cuts are beginning to close up. I open my eyes to watch the tickling feeling. Where the gash is sealing, I can see golden glitter before it disappears, leaving nothing but clean skin.
"For someone who doesn't like doctors, you would sure make a good one." Darien jokes. He brushes his fingers against my cheek, causing my cheeks to warm up and turn pink.
I poke Darien's nose and say with a laugh, "Well, it's easier with a magical advantage, I'm sure!"
Darien smiles at me. I can't help but smile back. This man has been here for me quite possibly through the worst part of my life, and the best parts too. Although he didn't think he told me when I was awake, Darien admitted to being in love with me. A sentiment I wasn't sure I could return yet, but someday I want to be able to. After this upcoming battle we would be able to have that chance.
I would get the chance to fall in love.
"Darien?" I ask as he pulls my face closer to his, our noses just barely touching. Darien stares at me with his deep blue eyes, and I gaze back. The hairs on the back of my neck stand up as a tingling creeps up my back.
"Yes, Buns?" Darien responds, pressing his nose against mine, leaning in closer and closer to kiss my lips.
"We should go," I answer. Darien frowns as I pull away, using his shoulders as a crutch while I stand up. I see his confused expression, and feel the sudden urge to explain myself. "The last youma has my dad and Luna, remember?"
Darien's face darkens.
"Right," He retorts. "We'll get the cat so she can help you remember being Sailor Moon."
"And everything else," I remind him. "I'll remember everything about you too! Isn't that great?"
Why was he acting this way? Didn't he want me to remember our past? He was being sarcastic and cold about something wonderful, unless... he really was hiding something from me.
"Darien, I'm going to ask you one last time," I declare, frustrated and annoyed with his strange behavior. "Are you keeping something from me?"
Darien flattens out the jacket of his tuxedo and turns away. I watch as he shakes his head before he turns back towards me. Darien races up to me, grabbing my face into his hands. He reaches down and hungrily forces his lips down on mine.
At first I am surprised by this response, but as he passionately kisses my lips, I let all my anger fade away. I pull my arms over his cape covered shoulders and hold Darien closer to me. I need him. I need his passion that is there only for me.
"Serena," Darien breathes when we break for air. "I'm in love with you."
His lips are on mine again, saving me from having to return his sentiments. Sentiments I don't have yet. Is it possible to love someone you've hardly known at all?
But then again, I do know him. I've known him for months, I just don't remember anything about it. How can I know for sure how I feel about him now, when I don't remember how I felt then? This was just too complicated!
Soon it is so dark that I can barely see a thing. Another day is ending. Another day where there was nothing but pure craziness followed by Darien making me feel all kinds of emotions. Darien senses my change in emotion and stops his kisses, looking around before he reaches for my hand.
"Darien, we have to find a place to take a break and eat," I decide, raising a hand over my belly. "If I don't eat soon my stomach will turn into a growling monster!"
Darien chuckles. "Oh trust me, I know."
I stick my tongue out at him before laughing myself. I love that even in the darkest times we can still act lighthearted.
"So, where do you propose we eat?" I ask Darien, shoving him to the side with my waist.
He shoves me back with his waist, and sticks his tongue back out at me. Sometimes he acts so childish and cute! Something that I assume is out of character for Darien, considering how I've seen him act around Andrew.
"Well, I propose that we eat somewhere 'fancy'," Darien shrugs. I hold his hand, and we walk side by side in the pitch dark. Darien stops for a moment to reach into a small pocket in my bag. After rustling through the tiny flap he finds what he is looking for and zips the pack up again. A little beam of light shines from the item in his hand, a wonderful flashlight!
"Where will we find a place that is fancy in the dark, in a city that is practically abandoned?" I ponder, thankful for the little light that was showing us where to walk.
Darien sighs, "You're right. Maybe we should go back to the doll store."
I think of the broken toys, I think of how the dolls had attacked us. I feel a shiver go down my spine, and shake my head no. "There is no way I am going back in there!"
"Let's just find a place to sit then. I'm hungry too!"
So, that's exactly what we do. After walking for a while, we come across a huge building that looks like a cross between a dome and a school. The roof of the building is white and round. The building itself is built from bricks which have been painted over to be white. It has the school feel because of the rectangular shape, the fact that it is rather large, and all the windows. Together we sit at the front doors of the building, which are made of glass as well.
"This place is kind of fancy," I whisper to Darien, elbowing his arm.
"Yeah, well, it seems like the people working here didn't get the memo we are in the middle of a youma apocalypse," Darien says sarcastically. "They may be the only building in the city still using a generator! It's been ten hours!"
"Well, that's a good thing isn't it?" I ask.
"Depends. It's nice they have water, electric, heat, and what not, but what if the enemy comes because it is clear they are alive?"
"Well, either way," Darien says, grabbing boxes of food from my backpack. "Since that's what we're aiming for, might as well stay put."
Darien places a box of chocolate chip cookies in my lap. When I open the box I joke, "As long as I have cookies I'll stay here forever."
"Well in that case..." Darien laughs, dropping another box in my lap. "Hopefully this will keep you here for five minutes."
I glare at him. I do not eat that much! I mean, when I'm in a rush I can sure plow through a plate of curry rice, but that doesn't mean anything. I pull out the plastic container holding the chocolatey goodness. I open the package before I purposely eat a cookie slowly.
Darien chuckles at me before indulging into a tiny container of dried seaweed. He stares up at the moon with a sad expression on his face. I look up at the bright, white, sliver in the night sky and try to figure out what was so horrible about it. I squint, but see nothing different from the other night.
"What's wrong, Darien?" I ask, worried. He turns and looks down at me sadly.
"I just realized something."
"Oh?" I prompt him, curious about what could make him so miserable.
Darien takes his top hat and mask off before he lays his back on the ground. He puts his head into his left hand and pulls me down to lay on his shoulder. He wraps his arm around my waist, before laying his hand on my stomach.
"I feel alone," Darien says quietly next to my ear. "I don't really have anyone I can count on, and I never have."
"But you have Andrew and me," I whine. Surely he knows that Andrew and I both care about him deeply? I mean, can't he see that I care after everything we've been through? Isn't it obvious between the hugs and kisses? After all the flirting?
"What I mean is, I've never had someone to love me."
Darien's eyes water, and for the first time since I've met him, I see real grief in his eyes. He wipes a small tear from his eyelashes.
"What about your parents? All parents love their children!" I counter. His parents must have adored him. He is such a wonderful young man, they'd be stupid not to!
Darien rolls over so he is facing me. He squeezes me against his chest, and brings his face down to mine. "Do you?"
"D-do I what?" I stutter. I'm not that stupid, I know what he is asking. I just can't give him the answer he wants.
"Buns," Darien pleads. "Do you love me?"
I stare at him. If I don't answer the way he wants, I could lose my chance with him. If I answer the way he wants and I end up not feeling that way later, then I lose him anyways.
I feel frantic and lost all at the same time. I know what I should say to make him happy, but I just can't do it. I'm not ready yet. "I don't know."
"How is that?" Darien scoffs at me. He releases me from his hold. "You either do or don't!"
I cringe as what was turning out to be a beautiful evening became a foul one instead. I watch Darien as he walks away from me, clearly hurt and upset. I knew this would happen! I would have been better off not answering at all!
I stand up and chase after him, reaching for his hand. "Darien, wait!"
"Why? So you can keep leading me on?" Darien growls in frustration. He stops suddenly, raising his arm in front of me to stop me as well.
"Darien, you can't expect someone to fall in love after a couple of days! I barely know you," I shout, angry and flustered. I try to slap his arm away so I can see his face while we talk.
"Be quiet!" Darien hisses at me. He stands in front of me, looking across the grassy lawn next to the building.
"Darien, what are you doing?" I wail loudly in his ear, "You can't tell me what to do!"
"Serena, please, just shh!" Darien whispers. I reach my head over his shoulder to peak at what he's looking at. "I think I hear something."
"Darien," I whisper, clinging to his cape. "What is it?"
I see a pair of eyes staring at us from behind a group of trees. We can hear the rustle of grass, and the snap of a tree branch. Suddenly, a woman with bulging, oddly shaped shoulders and light blue skin speeds towards Darien and I.
"Serena, run!" Darien yells, pushing me away from him. I fall to the ground, scraping my thigh on the cement.
My eyes widen as the blue woman with her purple and black outfit lifts her right arm up, revealing an eyeball on her hand. Within seconds, a white laser shoots from the eye and blasts Darien. When the laser disappears, so has he.
I gasp, pulling myself up, searching frantically for a place to run. My eyes dart back to the youma, who is giggling uncontrollably. She throws a small picture at me. I reach for the paper, catching it, before running towards the glass doors. I push one of the doors open and find myself in a large hallway leading down to a circular ice skating rink. The walls around the rink are covered in mirrors.
Surprisingly, the building sounds empty. There is no one around. I look down at the photo in my hands. Darien, in his cape and tuxedo, has his eyes closed as he prepares to take the laser hit. He protected me even though we were arguing.
This was a trap for us all along.
I squeeze the picture in my hand, feeling it wrinkle, and I choke on air. Why couldn't I just say it?
I hear the glass doors shatter behind me, followed by the youma's shriek, "I will get you, Sailor Brat!"
My senses alerted, I glance all sides of the room for a place to run. There is nowhere to hide! Regardless, I begin running from the doors, trying to get away from the photo taking monster. The monster who had taken Darien, Dad, and Luna from me, leaving me as the only one left to fight her.
I pant, running down the stairs, trying to get away. I hear a blast behind me, and when I look back, the part of the floor where I had once been standing has scorch marks on it.
"Oh, come back, Sailor Moon!" She taunts at me, "Don't you want to know what happened to your other Sailor friends?"
I pause, and turn to face her. I lift my tiara, glaring at the woman floating above me in midair. "Where are they?"
"Where your little boyfriend is," The blue haired creature declares. She tosses two more photos on the floor in front of me. One is of Sailor Mars preparing her flame attack. The other picture has Sailor Mercury typing on the little blue device. Anger bubbles in my stomach. "You can keep these, I have the negatives!"
"Just shut up!"
I prepare to throw my tiara when the youma shoots another laser towards me. I jump away, dodging it, and throw my discus at her. "Moon Tiara Magic!"
The youma shoots her laser at me again, and I fall backwards onto the ice when trying to avoid it. My tiara misses her when she dodges my attack as well. I watch as the tiara ricochets off of the wall, until it hits the ceiling, then flies off to somewhere I couldn't see. I touch my forehead to see if it has returned, and it hasn't.
"Oh no," I whisper to myself. My crybaby trait is quickly returning. I try to get up and run on the ice, away from the upcoming attacks. I slip and fall, sliding all over the place. Every shot the youma shoots misses, and it's only because of sheer luck. I can barely stand up, let alone purposely avoid an attack!
"You are more annoying than those other scouts!" The youma bellows at me. She starts to randomly shoot at the ice where ever I could possibly land during my slip and slide dance. Soon, there are lasers deflecting off the ice, ricocheting onto mirrors, and across the room until they crash into walls. It was amazing I wasn't a lousy snapshot yet.
I turn around, planting my butt to the freezing ice, forcing myself back. My back is touching a mirror, and the youma is standing on the ice in front of me laughing. I close my eyes, I knew what was coming next. In defiance, I push myself to the side to dodge another attack. The laser hits the youma, and she screams. I peek my eyes open to see the damage.
Her skin has melted into a wax form. She is still there, she is still able to attack, she just looks liked she was lit like a candle. The photographer is angry with me as she looks down at her hands. She prepares another attack before she is interrupted by two more of her own laser beams.
As I slide further down the ice, I come into contact with something that makes a clatter sound against the mirror. I look down to find my tiara. I aim my tiara and shout my magic attack before throwing it in the air. After I shout, "Moon Tiara Magic" though, one of her stray laser beams finally manages to land a hit.
The attack didn't hurt necessarily. All of a sudden I felt trapped. The kind of trapped feeling where a friend thinks it's funny to lock you in a small, dark closet to see how you react. By friend, I of course mean that bully who pretends to be your friend so they could pick on you. Almost the entire tiny room I'm locked in is dark, but there is a wall that I am standing in front of that shows exactly what the eye on the youma's hand can see. The wall is like a one-sided mirror. I can see through the eye, and nothing else can see me.
I slam my body against the 'mirror' again and again until my side is sore. "No!" I sob as I fall to my knees, slamming my fists against the wall. I wasn't able to do it. I wasn't able to save everyone, and now this horrible woman could get Mom and Sammy too!
I shouldn't have had to do any of this. Teenage girls shouldn't have to fight monsters. This is the result. I look through the mirror, and slump further to the floor at the sight.
"I defeated all the sailor scouts!" The youma cackles in her scratchy voice. "Nephlite will reward me grandly for this!"
Who was Nephlite?
I wipe my tears away. The youma's hand is to her side, still open, and I can see through the mirror something the youma wasn't anticipating. My golden tiara, creating a glittering trail behind it, is still managing to make its way towards the woman trapping me. Within seconds the youma is sliced in half as she wails, "I had defeated you!"
Next thing I know, I am sitting on the ice, just as I had before. Sailor Mars and Sailor Mercury appear on the other side of the rink.
"Ignite!" Sailor Mars yells randomly, pointing her fingers at thin air. She looks confused when no flame appears, and there is no enemy to attack. Sailor Mercury stops typing at her computer, and when she looks up to see me, she beams at me.
"Sailor Moon!" Sailor Mercury cheers at me, sliding towards me on the ice with her boots. "You did it!"
"Meatball head fought a youma without any help?" Sailor Mars says, poking fun at me. She follows behind Mercury. Mars crashes into Mercury and they both land on the ice in front of me.
They both start to laugh, and soon I join them. That small twinge of guilt pings at that back of my head. As Mars and Mercury pull me into a hug, I look back towards the broken glass doors. Tuxedo Mask is staring at me, a grim expression on his face. His eyes are filled with hurt, probably because of my inability to return his feelings.
I stare back, tears creeping into my eyelids as regret fills my stomach. My heart aches as he leaps away from the building without a wave goodbye.