March 2002

Disclaimer: I don't own the characters but the story is mine.

To Be Or Not To Be A Princess

Prologue

"Selenity, slow down!"

A young blonde girl of no more than 5 skidded to a halt and nearly fell
on her face. She pouted, "I'm sorry mamma."

The woman who'd spoken to the impish looking girl shook her head. She
was tall, willowy, with a crop of malt coloured hair that fell almost to her
waist. She looked at the little girl fondly, "I just don't want to see you
hurt, dear heart." She extended her hand and the young girl took it, biting her
lip before shrugging and looking about her. Her giggle floated through the
air, musical in its tone, as she spotted a bird and squirrel chasing one
another.

Selenity tugged her hand free and went racing around the corner of the
high wall surrounding the park. Her mother froze as her wail came back and
walked swiftly to the corner, looking before she stepped around.

Selenity was on her backside, a small red bump forming on her forehead.
Across from her was a young boy of about ten, looking at her bewildered.

Selenity saw her mother and sniffled, reaching out to be picked up as a
fat tear rolled down her cheek.

The boy followed her gaze and blushed, "Mrs. Tuskino! Gomen, I'm sorry,
I didn't mean to run into her."

"Hello, Darien," she smiled at him and looked at her daughter, "I get
the feeling she ran into you. Selenity, stop crying and apologize."

Selenity sniffled, her lower lip trembling. Her pants were torn at the
knees, her shoes scuffed, as she made to get to her feet. The boy pushed
himself to his and offered her his hand, "Here, let me help."

She blinked, looking up at him, "Gomen, I'm sorry I ran into you." She
sniffled again, wiping her eyes.

Darien glanced at Mrs. Tuskino and then grasped both of Selenity's hands
and helped her to her feet, crouching to look her in the eyes. "Just be
careful next time, alright? You might run into someone who's not as nice as I
am."

Selenity nodded and sniffled again, "Alright. Arigatou, thank you for
helping me up."

Darien got to his feet and dusted off his pants, scooping up his book
bag. He bowed to Mrs. Tuskino and then gently ruffled Selenity's hair before
walking away.

Selenity's eyes followed him, "Mamma?"

"Yes, bunny?"

"I'm going to marry him some day." She said solemnly.

Mrs Tuskino laughed as she scooped her daughter up in her arms, "Come on
little one, you'll be late for school if we don't keep going."

Selenity allowed her mother to carry her, but her gaze stayed over one
shoulder where the nice boy had disappeared.


* * *

Darien shook his head as he raced towards school. That little girl had
run into him just as he'd been about to start running. It was a good thing he
hadn't been otherwise she could have been seriously hurt. Just his luck it was
the daughter of his favourite teacher. Well, he'd make her a nice gift to make
her smile and that would be that. Still, she had these clear blue eyes and was
adorable, more so, than any other kid her age. He shook his head as he ran
into the schoolyard, glancing at his watch. He had a couple of minutes before
classes started.

"Hey, Darien!"

He looked up and grinned, "Hey Andrew, hey Rita."

Andrew, his best friend, had sandy blonde hair that wouldn't be tamed
and laughing brown eyes. Next to him was their good friend, and a senior,
Rita. She was a lovely young woman with shoulder length red hair and a ready
smile. When she wasn't around she was a favourite topic of the boys, as to
which one would finally get her to go out with them.

"What kept you? I thought you were going to meet us here ten minutes
ago," Rita looked him over from head to toe, her gaze resting on his slightly
scuffed pants.

Darien sighed, "I ran into Mrs. Tuskino and her daughter."

Andrew arched an eyebrow, "How'd you manage that?"

"Her daughter ran into me near the Park."

They laughed, "She has a daughter? Mrs. Tuskino? No way!"

"She does! She's about 5 and her name is Selenity. Weird name if you
ask me."

"No stranger than yours," teased Andrew, "If you didn't go by your
middle name you'd be the subject of many a snide comment I'm sure."

Darien glared at him, "And what is wrong with my first name?"

"Oh, nothing. It's just weird, that's all."

Darien sighed, "Sure, whatever you say."

They looked up as the bell rang and split, heading for their classes.


* * *


*Five years later*

Selenity stepped hesitantly into her new class. She hated the first day
at a new school. The kids always teased her, about her name, her hairstyle and
her parents. She sighed, looking about the room and then focused on the
stunned teacher as she heard the familiar muttering start among the students.
"Haruna Sensei?" she asked softly, watching the woman slowly regain her
composure.

"Hai, and you would be?"

Selenity swallowed but forced a smile and bowed, "Tuskino Selenity."

She heard the other children laugh and solidly told herself she didn't
care. Let them laugh, they always regretted it later, and then she got her
revenge.

"Ahhh, Selenity. Please," she motioned to a vacant seat near the front
of the class.

Selenity straightened her shoulders and forced her head up as she walked
unconsciously graceful to her new seat. She heard the whispers die, as they
always did, when she walked. Her hair was in the most unusual style, piled
high on either side of her head in two tight golden buns, ribbons of hair
framing her petite body on either side almost to her ankles. She worse flat
black shoes to go with her school uniform. The fifth uniform, or was it sixth?
this year.

Selenity took her seat and slid her slim book bag onto the top of the
desk, folding her hands on top of it. She waited quietly as the teacher
started the class again. When she was certain nobody was paying any more
attention to her she slid her notebook out of her bag and opened it on her
desk, uncapping her pen and starting to take notes. She heard some snickering
behind her and sighed inwardly. Kids were the same, regardless of where she
went. Thankfully, this was the only class until lunch time and she could find
some kind of escape then.

* * *

Selenity disappeared into a shaded area in the corner of the school yard
and sank to the ground near the chain link fence. She was finally back in
Tokyo after five years of being shipped around the world to different homes, a
new set of parents every 3 months, and a new set of people to leave. She
sighed, leaning against the tree as she buried her face in her knees. She
hated the looks, the stares, the rumors. Swallowing hard she bit her lip and
took a deep breath. Tears never solved anything; they just made things worse.
Raising her head she opened her lunch bag and slowly removed the contents.
There wasn't much, she didn't need much, with all the stress having ruined her
appetite. A sandwich, an apple, a bag of carrot sticks and a small piece of
cake, she couldn't have eaten more if she tried. She ate slowly, staring
through the fence but not seeing the area beyond. She registered greens and
browns and black, bit little else, her thoughts inward.

"Hey, what are you doing back in here?"

Selenity jumped, dropping her sandwich in the dirt as she looked up.
She cringed back, seeing a girl about her age with honey blonde hair looking at
her curiously. She didn't answer as she looked back to her lunch and carefully
picked up the sandwich, wrapping it back up and putting it aside.

"Hello?" the girl's cheery tone came closer as she crouched, "Do you
speak?"

"Leave me alone."

The blonde haired stranger grinned, not daunted in the least, "Good, you
do speak. My name's Aino Mina, I'm going to be a huge volley ball star one
day, what's your name?"

Selenity cringed, "I wish to be left alone."

Mina shrugged, "Oh come on, I'm just trying to be friendly. You're new,
right? Well, it's a little strange to be starting school half way through the
year, where are you from?"

Selenity raised her gaze, meeting Mina's blue eyes, "I said I wish to be
left alone. Go away, please."

Mina shook her head, smiling from ear to ear, "Nope. Not until you give
me your name."

"Why?"

"Why not? I gave you mine, it's only fair."

Selenity sighed, her shoulder drooping, "Fine. Tuskino Selenity."

Mina's jaw dropped, "Wow, you have such a cool name!"

Selenity blinked, "Excuse me?"

"Your name, it's so neat! Nothing plain like mine." She cocked her head
to the side as the bell signalling the end of lunch echoed through the trees,
"Well, time for class, come on, you'll be late. Catch ya later Selenity!"

Selenity shook her head again as the strange girl disappeared and picked
herself off the ground, carefully dusting herself off. Maybe all kids weren't
so bad after all.


* * *


"Selenity!"

Selenity froze, hearing her name called from across the school yard.
She turned, seeing the blonde whirlwind racing towards her. She felt hot blood
creeping up her neck as people turned to stare at her, Mina skidding to a halt.
"What?"

Mina took a step back, "Oh, I'm sorry, I thought you might want to walk
home with me, there's this really wicked-cool arcade on the way!"

Selenity blinked, "Wicked-cool?"

Mina grinned, "Ya like it? I came up with it myself. Come on, I've got
to show you these video games."

"Mina."

"Yeah?"

"Don't ever do that again, please."

"Do what?" her tone was puzzled.

Selenity motioned to the school yard where everyone was still
whispering, staring and pointing at her, "Yell my name across a crowded space,
alright?"

Mina blinked, "Why not? Oh come on, people are silly, they're just
jealous they don't have such a cool name. Well, you want to come with me to
play some video games? There's this really cool guy who helps the owner after
school is out. He's in high school, and he's so cute!"

"Boys?"

Mina grinned, "Of course! Come on!"

Selenity shook her head but followed. As they were nearing the arcade
she made up her mind to give this odd girl a chance. If nothing else, it would
make the 3 months she would be in the school more exciting. "Slow down, Mina.
What's your rush anyway?"

"Oh nothing. Here, I'm going to go say hi to Andrew, you catch up,
alright?"

"Sure thing."

"Alright, it's just around the corner, the Crown Arcade. Got it?"

"Yeah, got it."

"Cool! See ya there!"

Selenity watched her companion race away and sighed, ducking her head to
stare at her feet while she walked. It had been a rough first day. The first
class had been worse than ever before. People had thrown papers at her, passed
her notes with insults and made fun of her while she could hear. She hated
moving around, she hated not being able to stay in one place for any length of
time. More than anything she wished for a friend. Maybe, just maybe - she
shrieked as she was suddenly thrown back, having ran into someone.

"Gomen, oh my gosh, I'm sorry..." the voice trailed off and Selenity
looked up.

She blinked. He was a good looking boy, a few years older than herself,
with onyx hair and deep indigo eyes that stared at her with a peculiar
interest. "Gomen," she said softly, "I should have been-"

"Selenity?" he cut her off, his soft question incredulous.

Selenity's eye widened, "How... how do you know my name?"

The boy laughed and picked himself off the ground, dusting his pants off
and then offered her his hand, his eyes twinkling merrily, "I never could
forget our first encounter."

She hesitantly accepted his hand, feeling a flash of déjà vu, "Where
have I done this before?"

His smile faded, "You don't remember?"

She shook her head, "No. Who are you? I've not been in Tokyo for more
than 5 years."

He smiled and collected her bag before offering it to her, "Do you have
a silver chain with a crescent moon pendant on it?"

She gasped, her hand flying to her collar, "How do you know?"

"Because I'm the one who gave it to you."

"Darien!"

He grinned, "Took you long enough, Princess. Where you off to?"

She motioned beyond him as he scooped up his own book bag, "The arcade,
this girl from school wants to show me this game she's hooked on."

"Ahhh. Well, I just came from there, but I don't mind going back. Can
I buy you a shake or something?"

She shook her head, "No, thank you."

He shrugged, "Ok. Come on, I'll introduce you to Andrew."

She looked at him funny as he took her hand and tugged her gently along
with him. People rarely touched her, for someone who moved around a lot it was
odd to have someone want to touch her. Her foster parents never touched her,
they didn't dare. Once the kids at school knew her name, they tended to keep
their distance, but here was a boy from her past, from before everything had
happened, tugging her along as if he did it everyday. "Darien?"

He glanced at her as they neared the arcade doors, "Yes?"

"Why are you holding my hand?"

He winked at her and she felt the oddest quivering in her knees as he
smiled, "Because I don't want you to get away again."

She shook it off, "But, don't you know who my parents are?"

He rolled his eyes, "Of course I do. Your mother was my favourite
teacher, I was pretty broken up when I'd heard she'd been transferred to
America. I'm also aware that your father is royalty. However late I figured
that one out. Don't worry, I won't tell anyone."

Selenity tugged on her hand but he wouldn't let her go, "Please, Darien,
let go."

He stopped, looking at her, "Why?"

"Because... people don't touch me, they're scared to." She whispered.

"Oh," he didn't release her hand as he looked at her and then shrugged,
"Well, I'm not people, and I touched you when we went to the park, when I gave
you that necklace and pushed you on the swing, or does that not count?"

Selenity smiled, "You're a goof."

"And you're paranoid. Come on, I'm not going to hurt you." He led her
into the arcade before she could protest.

"Sel-" Mina cut herself off as she was about to yell from across the
arcade and then just grinned, "Come on, girl, get your butt over here, you
have..." she seemed to register the high school boy holding her new friend's
hand, "Bring your friend too."

Selenity blushed, shaking her head, "She's got to show me the game."

Darien grinned, "Go on, Selene, I'll introduce you to Andrew later."

She smiled as he let go of her hand and walked towards the blonde boy
wiping down tables. She dashed towards Mina and slid onto a video game stool
next to the adventure game Mina was playing. "So, what is this game?"

"Crystal Quest, check it out, it's wicked-cool!"

Selenity watched for a few moments and then shrugged, "Sorry, Mina, but
games aren't really my style."

"Is Darien more your style?"

Selenity blinked, looking back at her, "Excuse me?"

Mina grinned, "He's the hottest boy in the high school, I can't believe
he spoke to you! Man, you've going to have everybody jealous of you when that
gets around school!"

Selenity jumped to her feet, "Oh, you couldn't, you wouldn't!"

"Not me, but sooner or later someone else will see him holding your hand
and it'll go all around school. Or are you two just buddy-buddy?"

Selenity sighed as she sank back into her seat, "I knew him a long time
ago, back before I started getting shipped all around the world."

Mina cocked her head to the side, "Shipped all over the world? Is your
dad in the military or something?"

Selenity blinked, "No, he's the last of a real old royal blood line."

Mina laughed, "Yeah right. You're not part of those Tuskino..." she
trailed off, "You are, I can tell by the look on your face. Oh that's so
wicked-cool, my new best friend is a princess. Don't worry, I won't tell
anyone."

"I think you were the last to know, Mina. Anyway, I have to be getting
back, otherwise they'll send the guards to look for me and that's not fun." She
rose to her feet and brushed her skirt off, "I'll see you at school tomorrow,
okay?"

"Sure thing, bright and early before class, right?"

Selenity nodded and smiled shyly, "Right."

Darien accosted her near the door, "Do you have to go right away, I'd
like to introduce you to Andrew."

"Why?"

"Why? Because he's my best friend and I think you'd like him."

Selenity sighed, "Alright, but not too long, I don't want the security
team to come and get me."

He smiled and led her over to the sandy haired boy, "Drew, this is
Selenity. Selene, this is Andrew."

Selenity dipped into a perfect curtsey without thinking and drew every
eye in the place as Andrew's jaw dropped, "A pleasure to meet you, Andrew."

He stuttered, tripping over his words as he nodded to her, "Sa... same
to you Selenity."

Darien squeezed Selenity's hand reassuringly as she blushed delicately.
She hadn't meant to do that, it simply came natural after so many years of
tutoring. "Sorry," she extended her hand and felt her eyebrows hit her hair
line as Andrew kissed the back of it smiling.

"Fair's fair. A pleasure to meet you my dear. You have the most...
unique name."

Darien chuckled, "Smooth. Alright, I'll walk you home Selene, just to
make sure you're not late, okay?"

She nodded, smiling again at Andrew before allowing Darien to lead her
away. She'd be back to that arcade, alright, Andrew seemed like a nice boy and
he and Darien certainly knew how to treat her right. She brought her thoughts
back to the present as Darien paused outside the arcade, "Selenity?"

"Hmmm?"

He chuckled, waving a hand in front of her eyes, "Earth to Selenity."

"Sorry, Darien, what was it?"

"Which way? I remember where you used to live, but where are you now?"

She winced, pointing back towards the more posh area of town, "That way.
Father insists I am supplied with everything I require. He doesn't seem to
know that I'd rather have one family than a new one every other month."

Darien tucked her hand into the crook of his arm and patted her fingers,
"Cheer up, it could be worse. You could have no parents and be an orphan like
me."

She looked up at him, "You're an orphan?"

He nodded, his face solemn, "Yeah. Andrew's folks took me in when mine
died, but technically they're not really my family." He looked down at her, "So
in a way I do know how you feel."

She shook her head, gazing away down the street, "When I leave in three
months, tell yourself that you know how I feel. Maybe one day, you'll convince
yourself."

He spun her towards him, "Three months?"

She blinked, "Yes. Three months. I've never been anywhere longer than
that."

"So in three months you're going away again, damn."

She blinked in confusion, "What? Why's that bad?"

"I thought you were here to stay, I was going to invite you over to our
annual Christmas party. Not to mention my Birthday is in 7 months."

She bowed her head, "Mine will be right at the end of the school year,
right after I change homes once again. It always is."

He frowned and let her hand drop as they continued to walk. Finally she
stopped in front of a large house. A huge wall, with an iron gate, blocked
most of the yard from view. Rising above it was a four-storey house. Made of
brick, it looked like a fortress rising behind castle walls. She pointed to
one side of it, "That there is my room. See the three windows? The furthest
one is my bedroom." She swallowed hard, "I don't think anybody realizes what it
feels like to look at the world and know you can't go join it."

He grasped her hand and gently kissed the back of it, as Andrew had done
before him. Selenity felt her heart flutter in her chest when he didn't
release her hand, but gently ran his thumb across her knuckles, "For the time
you are here, let's have some fun, alright? When do you leave for school in
the morning?"

"7:30?"

He smiled, "I'll see you then. Good bye, Princess."

She smiled back and watched him as he disappeared down the street.
Turning, she keyed the code to the gate and stepped inside her prison.

* * *

"Princess Selenity!" she flinched at the title as the butler opened the
door and took her bag and coat.

She smiled wanly at him, "Thank you, Charles."

He strode away to put her things in their proper places. She kicked her
shoes off and quickly straightened them out before Charles could come back and
attend to it. She slipped her feet into her slippers and walked into the huge
house, her gaze on the stairs and escape. She longed to go outside for a while
longer, but knew, from experience, she would be tracked down quickly and
brought back where she was 'safe'. She walked quietly up the stairs, quickly
disappearing into the wing of the huge house that was considered hers. She
locked the door behind her and slid down against it. She hated this. This
smothered existence; the rules, the regulations and the restrictions were
killing her spirit. She could feel it. If only she knew how to change it.

* * *

Selenity was waiting outside those gates the next morning when Darien
appeared. She ran towards him, a smile on her face. He didn't expect her to
be royalty. He didn't expect her to stand up straight and know twelve
different languages flawlessly. He expected her to be her. At least, she
hoped he did. "Good morning," she called, skidding to a halt near him.

He smiled back at her, "You're a morning person, are you?"

She made a motion at the house behind her, "When it comes to escaping a
gilded cage, for sure."

He nodded, "They rag you out for being late last night?"

She sighed, nodding, "I got scolded for being late, for slurring my
words together like a commoner. I'm not supposed to use contractions, you
know. Whoops, I did it again." She shook her head, "I feel like I'm, I am...
whatever, like there are two different me's... One who's the perfect princess
that daddy loves to visit, and one that is struggling to get out. Almost like
a... a bird stuck inside its shell trying to break free, know what I mean?"

He shook his head, "Can't say I do."

She sighed and then shrugged it off, "I know I'm going to have a bad day
at school, can you walk me home again?" she asked softly, looking up at him.

Darien smiled, "Of course. Why would you have a bad day at school
though?"

"Well, people always make fun of me. They tease me, put me down, try
and make themselves seem better. Nobody, well nobody until you and Mina
anyway, wanted to meet me, and not the princess. Mina somehow missed that
fact."

Darien chuckled, "Count Chad's sister to miss it. She spends most of
her days in video games and playing Volley Ball. I take it you don't have much
of a chance for a social life?"

She shook her head, "No. When I'm not in school I've got to be at home.
Dad's afraid someone will try and kidnap me or something."

He chuckled, "Not with me they won't. I'll protect you, fair maiden."
He teased her, gently clucking her under the chin, "And I mean that, regardless
of the implied tease, I'd never let anything happen to you."

She smiled brilliantly and hugged him, "Thank you, Darien."

He hugged her back before stepping away, "Come on, I'll walk you the
rest of the way to school. Tomorrow, I'll help you skip out of class so you
can come to a movie with me."

"What?!"

He laughed, "I'm kidding. Come on, Selene, we're both going to be late
if we don't book it."

She grinned, "Race you there."

He nodded and they burst into a run, their laughter echoing down the
empty street.

* * *

Darien was waiting for her a few minutes before the end bell as she came
tearing out of the school. He did a double take, seeing her skirt torn, her
shirt matted with blood and her fat lip. One eye looked to be swollen shut.
"Selenity!" he caught her as she was about to run by him, "Selene, please,
don't fight me, it's Darien."

She looked up and his breath caught. Her face was bruised, one eye
swelling from a recent hit, blood oozing from a fat, split lip, her forehead
sporting a gash about an inch long just below her hair line. He clasped her
hands where they were resting on his chest and sighed, seeing her bruised and
split knuckles. "What happened?"

She bit her lip, "I should think it was obvious," ducking her head she
stepped back from him.

He looked about the schoolyard. The bell hadn't rung yet so it was
empty. "Come on, we'll get you fixed up." He grasped her hands and gently
tugged her along with him.

She yanked her hands out of his and crossed her arms over her chest in a
self-protecting gesture, "Why are you doing this?"

He blinked at her, "Excuse me?"

She waved one hand about, "This, why are you being so nice to me?"

"Because I like you?" His smile faded as he met her gaze, "You're
serious aren't you? Why, because I remember your mother being nice to me. The
least I can do is be your friend while you're here. Besides, you're easy to
talk to, you don't expect me to be..." he paused, "to be controlled."

She raised an eyebrow, relaxing a bit, "Really?"

He nodded, "Really. What brought on the fight?"

Selenity sighed, shaking her head, "Some of the girls in a higher grade
saw you drop me at the gates this morning. They were jealous and started
saying all sorts of mean things about why you would be walking me, little miss
princess," she grimaced, "to school. I told them to stop and when they didn't,
I got so mad I... I..." she glanced at her hand and hung her head, "Daddy will
be furious."

Darien led her away from the school as she talked, leading her towards
the central park. Finally she paused and looked around, a small smile lighting
her azure eyes, "I haven't been here in so long."

Darien led her towards the fountain in the center and proceeded to tear
a piece of his shirt off and use it as a bandage. Selenity objected but he
insisted and she finally gave in when he started dabbing cold water across her
lips and face. She relaxed as he slid one arm around her shoulders and let him
tend to her, "I can do this myself you know," she mumbled around the cloth
dabbing at her bloodied lip.

He chuckled, "What are friends for." He dipped the makeshift cloth
again and gently dapped at her forehead, "What will happen now?"

Selenity opened her eyes and met his, her eyes filling with tears, "I'll
get moved to a new home and never see you again."

"What?!"

She flinched away from his incredulous gaze, "Daddy will never let me
come back."

Darien slammed his hand down on the edge of the fountain, "But this is
your home, you were born here."

"No, I wasn't. At least, not according to what my birth certificate
says."

"You weren't?"

She shook her head.

"Darnit. Well, you'll still be my friend right, we can be pen pals."

She raised an eyebrow, "I'd like that very much."

"Good. It's settled then." He reached into his backpack and pulled out
a piece of lined paper tearing it in two. He quickly wrote his address down on
it along with his name. "Here, since you're the one moving around a lot, you
write me first when you get where you're going, alright?"

"Selenity! There you are! Oh my gosh, I thought that girl was going to
kill you are you alright?"

Selenity nodded, "I'm fine Mina."

Mina skidded to a halt near the two of them where they sat by the
fountain, one hand holding her school bag the other holding Selenity's bag.
She held it out to her friend, "Are you sure you're ok? Hi Darien."

Selenity smiled, "I'm sure. Thank you for bringing my bag."

"Oh no problem, I was worried about you, are you sure there's no lasting
damage?"

Selenity nodded, "None physical. I'll be going away soon thought."

"Where are ya going? On a trip of some kind?"

"No. Changing school again,"

"But, you just got here!"

Selenity pulled her into a hug and then wrapped one arm around Darien,
"I know, but wherever I go, you two are always going to be my friends alright.
I promise you, one day, I'll come back."


Later that night Selenity's father was called and told of the school
situation. Sure enough, she was packed and flying out on the midnight plane
for a new destination. This time, however, she had two treasures with her.
The addresses of her new friends and she swore that no matter what was to
follow, she would never loose those.


Author's Note: Alright, I know it's a little different than what I've written
in the past but it's an idea I had to try. Let me know what you thought!

Jademax@hotmail.com

Thanks for reading!
Jade_Max