Oct 2000

Disclaimer: I don't own these characters, I'm just borrowing them. The story,
however, is mine.


It Matters To Me.

Epilogue

'I can't believe I'm doing this,' he thought darkly, checking his hair
in the mirror before striding towards the door. He knocked on it and waited.
A woman opened the door. She was small and beautiful, and he could see where
his Serena got her beauty from, if indeed this was her mother. She didn't
look much older than twenty! He smiled at her, "Hello, I'm Darien Chiba. Is
you father home?"

She laughed, covering her mouth with one hand, "Oh, aren't you the
charmer. I'm Serena's mother, Irene. Come in, come in, Ken and I were
expecting you, though I must say we were rather shocked when you asked to
meet us without Serena present."

Darien smiled, stepping into the house and removing his shoes. He
followed Irene into the main living room of the house where a man stood near
the window overlooking the back garden. He was slightly shorter than Darien
and had a shock if brown hair. "Ken, darling, Darien is here."

The man turned, revealing firm features off set by wire rimmed glasses.
Darien held still as he watched the man rake him from head to toe, taking his
measure. He noticed the glass in Ken's hand and was on guard slightly.
Finally Ken walked over and extended his hand, "I'm Ken, Serena's father."

Darien shook his hand, "Pleased to meet you, sir."

"Do you drink Darien, can I get you anything?"

Darien shook his head, "I don't drink anything stronger than coffee, I'm
afraid. But thank you for the offer."

"Irene, can you fetch Darien some coffee. Take a seat," he motioned to
the chair as he took a seat on the couch. Irene disappeared for a few
moments before returning with a cup of coffee and handed it to Darien.

"Thank you."

"You're welcome. Dear, have you asked Darien why he wanted to see us
yet?"

"Not yet."

"Well then." Irene took a seat next to her husband and looked at Darien
expectantly, "What was it you wanted to speak to us about Darien?"

Darien took a sip of his coffee before putting it down on the coffee
table. He snagged a coaster without thinking, placing the cup on it, and
then sat back, looking from one to the other, "I wanted to meet with you so I
could explain my intentions towards your daughter. I'm afraid you may have
gotten the wrong impression of me and I wanted to clear it up."

Ken and Irene exchanged glances. This wasn't what they had expected,
"And just what are your intentions towards my daughter?" demanded Ken.

Darien met his gaze squarely, "I intend to marry her one day, sir. If
she'll have me."

Ken's jaw dropped and Irene's hand flew up to cover her mouth in shock.
"Our daughter? You're talking about our little baby Serena who's just turned
sixteen? Isn't it a little early to tell that you want to marry her?" Irene
asked softly.

Darien shook his head, leaning forward in the chair, "She is the most
amazing young woman to ever have come into my life, and I mean that with all
of my heart. I love her, and that's the reason I'm here today. I want to
put your fears to rest about me. I have no intention of taking advantage of
her, I would never hurt her. She brings laughter and love into my life, I
never want to see her hurt and I will do everything possible to keep her
safe. Ken, Irene, I don't want to have to worry about your opinions of me.
I am quite a few years older than her and I know society frowns on someone
who's 21 seeing someone who's 16 but my heart doesn't care what society says.
I am hoping you can understand when I tell you that I love her more than
life."

Irene grasped her husband's hand, smiling softly at him. "We can,
Darien, but for all your words, we don't know how she feels."

Darien rubbed his fingers across his forehead, "She's due back from
school soon, isn't she?"

Irene nodded. Ken remained silent. His dark eyes were looking at
Darien, trying to gauge his sincerity. "In the next few minutes sometime.
Would you like to wait and see her?"

Darien nodded, "Getting this all in the open is best, I don't want to
have to put her in the uncomfortable position of deciding between you and I."

"We shall see." Ken finally commented. He sipped on his drink. Irene
excused herself, going into the kitchen to make the usual after school snacks
while Darien and Ken remained in the living room.

Darien finally stood, unable to take the tension and began to wander
around the room, looking at the myriad of pictures that lined the shelves and
pausing to read the spines of the books on the shelves.

The front door opened and slammed shut, "MOM! I'm home! Who's car is
out front?" called the whirl wind as she ran into the house. A swirl of
honey colored hair and a blue and white school uniform descended into the
living room, freezing on the threshold, blue eyes widening in surprise.
"Darien!" she squealed, and launched herself across the room into his arms,
hugging him tightly.

Darien braced himself, ready for the flying tackle and caught her,
hugging her back, "Hi, Serena." He said, his eyes going to her father as she
continued to cling to him. He nudged her a bit and the looked up at him
questioningly.

She followed her gaze and gasped, pulling out of his arms. She noticed
her father sitting in the room for the first time. "Dad!" she said, her face
draining of all color.

"Hi honey. You have a good day at school?"

Serene nodded warily, looking from her father to Darien and back,
"What's going on here?" she asked finally.

Darien wrapped his arms around her from behind, "I came over to meet
your parents today, I hope you don't mind."

Her eyes widened in shock, "You what?! My dad was talking about buying
a shot gun-" she broke off, looking guiltily at her father.

Ken laughed, "It's alright, honey, Darien asked to meet us today, the
shot gun stayed in its case."

She looked relieved.

Irene walked back into the room, a plate of snacks in hand and Serena
bounded towards the table as her mother set it down. She quickly fell to
eating most of the contents of the plate.

"You sure you want her? She eats a lot," comment Ken casually, standing
up and walking over to stand by Darien.

"I wouldn't have her any other way." Darien murmured, barely able to
tear his gaze away from Serena, an amused smile playing across his lips, "She
does everything with enthusiasm, takes a lot of energy."

"I would say. Darien, I hope to see you around more often." He extended
his hand and Darien clasped it.

"Thank you, sir," he said, the unspoken permission of Serena's father
making his throat tighten.

"Come Irene, you and I have a date tonight." Ken told his wife, leading
her out of the living room.

Serena watched her parents go and swiped her sleeve across her mouth,
and then looked at Darien as he knelt next to her, "What was all that about?"

Darien smiled, raising one hand to brush a piece of cake from the corner
of her mouth, "Our future, my love." He pulled her into his arms and kissed
the top of her head, "Our future."

The End