A/N Hey guys! I know some of you are probably looking at this and huffing and puffing because I have two other stories that are begging to be updated. Don't worry, I haven't forgotten about them, but this one has been planned for a while. I want to take this opportunity to thank fairy. queen. of. sparks. for reminding me that I had started this story and for telling me to get off of my butt and do something with it. Thank you for the pep talks!
Okay, so this is technically the prequel to Lunar Princess of the Earth, but it could also be a stand alone story. So if anyone is reading this that hasn't read Lunar Princess or what has been published so far of its sequel The Galactic Trinity, don't worry, you shouldn't be lost. This takes place about three months after the fight with Galaxia and tells how the generals come back into existence and hook up with the scouts again. Serena and Darien will be the main couple, but there will be plenty of scout/general action as well. I'm not planning on this being nearly as long as some of my other stories, but it still a work in progress. GT and Rekindled are my main focuses at the moment, but I will try to update this as often as I can.
All right, I'm only going to say this once. I don't own Sailor Moon and you all know I don't. Thank goodness for the immensely talented Naoko-san for giving us such timeless characters to play with. Okay, I'm done!
When Bad Boys Go Good
Too Many Decisions
Four teenage girls stood in a hallway, huddled around an apartment door as they listened to the raised voices yelling at each other on the other side.
"Damn it, Serena! I can't believe we're even having this conversation. I told you, I've already made up my mind. I'm not going."
"But Darien, this is your future we're talking about. It has always been your dream to go there. Why would you give it up?"
"I promised you that I wouldn't leave you again. The first time that I tried to go to America didn't work out so great. I'm not willing to take that chance again."
"But this is Harvard we're talking about. You can't just throw it away so that you can stay here and baby-sit me. What happened last time won't happen again. Chaos is gone and Galaxia has been freed. We don't have anything to worry about."
"And what if something does go wrong? What if I die again? I won't leave you alone like that."
"I was never alone! I have my family and the scouts. I'll be fine. And if something bad were to happen I'm sure I could find some way to contact the Starlights. They would come back to help me."
The raven-haired girl outside the door moaned as she heard Darien growl low in his throat. "Way to go, Meatball Head! I can't believe she brought up the Starlights. She knows how tense Darien gets whenever anyone mentions anything about Seiya."
Next to her, Lita nodded. "Yep! That definitely wasn't a smart move."
Mina grinned like a cheshire cat. "Oh pooh! I think it's good for Darien to have a love rival. That way he doesn't take Serena for granted. As Pluto always says, the future isn't set in sand."
"I think you mean stone, Mina," Amy corrected, her cheeks deeply flushed. "I don't think we should be listening in on them like this. It's not polite to eavesdrop on private conversations."
"What's private about it?" Raye retorted. "I'm sure people five miles away can hear them with the way they're yelling. Besides, I want to know what happens."
It had been about three months since the final battle with Galaxia and all had been quiet since then. Life had settled down and returned to normal. The school year was drawing to a close and they were looking forward to a fun filled summer.
Since Darien's plans to attend Harvard had been interrupted thanks to Galaxia, he had settled back at home and had reenrolled in his old college. With end of the year exams looming before all of them, they had gotten to where they all met up at his apartment every afternoon to study. Even Serena had been hitting the books, shocking them all.
This afternoon had been no different from any other day. After school they had headed for the Crown Arcade for a snack. They all had a milkshake, well Serena had two, and they visited with Andrew for a while before leaving for Darien's apartment for another, as Serena put it, torture session.
Things had gone smoothly for about an hour. All was quiet unless someone had a question, and then Amy or Darien would step in to help. Serena had been working diligently on her Geometry homework when her pencil lead broke. She dug through her bag for another, but was unable to find one. Then she spotted several in a cup on Darien's desk and jumped up to get one.
She was nowhere near as klutzy as she used to be, but she still had her moments. She had just reached the desk when she tripped over thin air and sent a stack of papers fluttering to the floor.
"Oh man! That's just my luck!" she grouched as she bent down to retrieve the papers.
Darien had jumped up quickly. "That's okay, Sere. I've got it."
But he was too late. He saw the change in her expression the moment she picked up the paper and saw the letterhead at the top. He sucked in a breath and waited for her reaction.
"Darien," she said softly. "This is an acceptance letter to Harvard, and it's dated last week."
He forced his voice to remain steady. "Yes it is. My professor here decided to check and see if there was still an opening for me to go, and since somebody dropped out of the program they have a spot available in the fall."
Serena forced a smile onto her face. "That's great news! Why didn't you tell me before?"
He looked at her like she must be joking. "Because I'm not going."
So that was how it had started. The other girls had excused themselves from the room when things started heating up between the couple, and that was what had led them to listening outside the door and out of the line of fire.
"Serena, be reasonable!"
"I am being reasonable! You have the opportunity of a lifetime just sitting there in your hands and you're just standing there calmly saying that you're not going to take it? Have you lost your mind?"
"Just forget it for right now. I can't talk to you when you get worked up like this."
"Fine! Be a jerk! Give me a call if you come to your senses."
"Where are you going?"
"I'm going home!"
The girls jumped away from the door as they heard footsteps stomping toward it. A few seconds later it was flung wide and Serena appeared, arms full of books and papers that she hadn't taken the time to put in her bag. Her face was bright red and her eyes were shiny as she breezed by everyone without a word. She ducked into the elevator and disappeared as the doors slid shut behind her.
Not knowing what else to do, they crept quietly back into the apartment. The sliding doors to the balcony were open and they could see Darien out there leaning against the railing. Feeling that their presence was not welcome, they quickly gathered their things and left.
"Whew!" Lita exhaled when they were safely in the elevator. "That was uncomfortable, wasn't it?"
"I'll say," Amy agreed. "Couldn't they have waited until we had finished studying before they decided to start arguing? I was only able to make it through three chapters of my biology notes."
Raye tossed her hair over her shoulder. "Leave it to Meatball Head Serena to blow things all out of proportion. Darien's a big boy and can make his own decisions. She didn't have to keep harping on him like that."
"Well," Amy interjected. "As much as I despise the timing of their little…disagreement, I can see exactly where Serena's coming from. Don't get me wrong, Tokyo U has a wonderful medical program, but a chance to study at Harvard…it's every medical student's dream. I'm proud of her for being mature and thinking of Darien's education first."
"It shocked the hell out of me," Lita confessed. "After what she went through last fall and winter I figured she'd never let Darien outside of a two mile radius. I never in a million years pictured her telling him to pack up and go thousands of miles away. Not after what happened before."
All four girls were silent as the elevator opened and they stepped out and then exited the building, each one of them thinking back about the last time Darien had left. They had thought that he was safely tucked away on Harvard's campus enjoying all the benefits of studying at a prestigious university.
Serena had walked around for months with a forced smile on her face. The girls had thought it was just because she missed him. It never occurred to them that she hiding the fact that she hadn't heard from her boyfriend since he set foot on that plane. After all, he had put that pink, heart shaped ring on Serena's ring finger just minutes before departing, so the thought of him not contacting her was ludicrous.
Their steps automatically led them to their favorite hang out, the Crown arcade. Still deep in thought, they entered and robotically approached the counter.
"Hey girls!" Andrew greeted them when they took a seat. "I wasn't expecting to see you back so soon. What can I get for you?"
"Milkshake," they all replied automatically.
"Sure thing!" the sandy blonde replied cheerfully as he turned to get the drinks. "So where are the lovebirds at? Too wrapped up in each other to leave Darien's apartment?"
"Not exactly," Mina mumbled, then her eyes lit up in excitement. "Hey Andrew! You and Rita have had a long distance relationship going on for quite a while now. How do you two deal with it?"
Andrew's hazel eyes blinked in surprise at the question. "Well, it's not easy. You just kind of have to take what you can get. There's lots of letter writing and e-mailing with the occasional phone call thrown into the mix. Why so curious all of a sudden?" Then comprehension dawned on his face. "Oh! Serena found out about Harvard, didn't she?"
"You knew?" Lita growled, leaning across the counter and grabbing him by his shirt. "How could you find out about something like this and not share it with the rest of us?"
""Whoa!" Andrew exclaimed, holding his hands up in surrender. "I just found out about it last night. Darien came dragging in here like a lost puppy around closing time. He seemed really down so I badgered him until he spilled the beans. He finally told me that Harvard had accepted him again and he was confused about what to do. We talked for a while until he felt better and then he went home."
"Well he's not confused anymore!" Raye snapped. "He seems to be pretty adamant about his decision. Serena and he had a pretty intense disagreement about it and she stormed out of his apartment in tears."
Andrew looked confused as he set the shakes in front of them. "But I thought Sere would be ecstatic with his decision. Darien told me that he was going to stay here because he couldn't bear the thought of leaving her again after what she went through last time. So why would she be upset? Did he change his mind?"
Amy shook her head. "No. It's just the opposite. Serena's upset because he's not going. She doesn't want to see him give up such a wonderful opportunity just to stay here with her."
"Wow! That's pretty deep for Serena," Andrew said in awe. "But I guess I shouldn't be that surprised. She always puts everyone else's well being above her own. But I'm sure they'll work everything out between them in time."
"I'm just glad it's them and not me," Raye commented. "Relationships do nothing but turn everything upside down. It's times like this that I'm glad I'm a single girl."
Amy nodded in agreement. And surprisingly so did Lita and Mina, all of them counting their lucky stars that they didn't have to deal with the headaches of dealing with boyfriends at the moment.
'Hi, you've reached Serena. Sorry I can't make it to the phone right now, but you know what to do at the beep…Beep!'
"Hey Sere, it's me. Look, it's been two days since I've seen or heard from you. We're going to have to talk about this sometime. Anyway, give me a call when you get this message. I love you."
Darien hung up his phone and returned it to his pocket with a sigh. He couldn't believe that Serena was being so stubborn about this whole Harvard thing. He had figured that she would have had the exact opposite reaction when he told her that he was staying here instead of going to America, but she had shocked him with her response.
Okay, so he really wanted to have the opportunity to study at an Ivy League school, but Serena was the single most important person in his life, at least until the time came for a certain pink haired little girl to make her entrance into the world, and he never wanted to do anything to hurt her.
But he had hurt her, not intentionally of course. But every time he thought about the look on her face when he had appeared after Chaos's defeat and the way she had trembled in his arms before collapsing into a sobbing, emotional wreck, he felt guilty. He felt guilty for leaving her behind the way he had when he had promised her to always stand by her side. Good ole Harvard was just going to have to do without him.
He forced himself to return to his books and the endless amount of studying that awaited him, but after an hour he had made very little progress. It was hard to admit it after being a loner for so many years, but he had gotten used to the sound of chattering female voices floating around when he studied. Now the complete silence seemed almost deafening to him.
He jumped when his phone rang, shattering the quiet that he detested at the moment. He was so relieved to know that Serena was finally returning his phone call that he answered it without checking the caller ID. "Serena!"
A definite male voice chuckled. "Afraid not, lover boy. I was wondering if you had talked to her yet, but I guess I have my answer from the way you just greeted me."
Darien ran agitated fingers through his hair. "Sorry about that, Drew. I left a message for Serena earlier and thought it was her returning my call."
"Well that was pretty obvious," Andrew snorted. "Anyway, you can consider this a courtesy call, although I do it at serious risk to my life. This just goes to show you what a wonderful friend I am."
Darien pinched the bridge of his nose and sighed. "Have you been drinking? Because you're not making any sense."
Andrew gasped in indignation. "I most certainly have not been drinking! What kind of idiot do you take me for? My mother would skin me alive if I showed up for work smelling like booze. As for not making any sense, I would if you would let me finish talking!"
"Okay, okay, I'm sorry!" Darien apologized quickly. "So what is so important that making this phone call would pose a risk to your life?"
Andrew's voice dropped to a conspiratorial whisper. "Well, I just thought that since things have been so strained between you and Serena the last couple of days and she won't return your phone calls that you would appreciate the opportunity to talk to her in person."
That got Darien's attention and he sat up straight. "She's there?"
His friend sounded smug. "Yes she is, and she looks to be in just as bad of shape as you are. She came in about two hours ago and parked her butt in front of the Sailor V game and hasn't moved since, except to order another milkshake. She's already on her fourth so I figure a sugar crash is imminent at some point."
Darien was already on his feet, searching for his keys and shoes. "So why did it take you two hours to call me? You should have called me the moment she walked in."
A whimper actually came over the line. "She threatened me with a long, slow, painful death if I called you. I don't know if you're aware of this, but your girlfriend can be scary when she's angry. Besides, I'm just a normal guy. What chance would I have against Sailor Moon if she decided to come after me?"
Darien had to admit that the guy had a point. For the most part Serena was usually bubbly and cheerful, the type of person that wouldn't hurt a flea, but he had seen her face down monsters and other horrors that most people could never even begin to imagine. Yeah, she could be pretty intense when riled.
"So why take the chance and call me now?" he asked as he attempted to tie his shoe while juggling the phone and standing on one foot.
The next words made his blood freeze. "Because if you don't get your ass in gear some other guy just may come along and sweep your princess away right underneath your nose."
Darien's fingers tightened around the phone so hard that he thought he heard the plastic crack. "What the hell are you talking about?"
Andrew's voice actually trembled a little at the cold, hard sound of his friend's voice. "Well, there's this guy. He's wearing a Juuban High uniform, so I guess he goes to school with Serena. He came in a little while ago and sat down next to her and started talking. But he's got that look in his eye, you know. He's definitely interested in her as more than just a classmate."
"I'll be right there!" Darien growled, hanging up the phone and storming out of the apartment. A few minutes later his blue motorcycle was roaring out of the parking garage and heading for the Crown arcade.
Serena stared at the screen in front of her, but she really wasn't paying attention the animated figure of Sailor V or the youma she was fighting. However, she had played the game so many times over the years that her fingers moved over the controls automatically and the score kept rising.
"Wow! You're really good at this game," a voice said next to her.
She pasted a less than cordial smile on her face. "Thanks, Ryan! I've been playing this game every since it came out a couple of years ago. It's one of my favorites."
The brunette boy beside her gestured to the high score board. "Is that you in first place with the highest score?"
Serena nodded without looking up. She didn't have to look at it to picture the initials SUT that had been residing in the top position for the last year and a half. Many others had tried to beat her high score since then, but none had been able to touch her.
She played in silence for a few more minutes until she heard Ryan clear his throat nervously. "So, how do you think you did on that Algebra test today?"
She ground her teeth together in irritation. She had known Ryan since elementary school, and he was a really nice guy, but he obviously didn't pick up on things too easily. She hadn't been exactly rude to him since he sat down, but she hadn't been welcoming either. She avoided looking at him and only spoke when he asked her a question. Couldn't the guy see that she wanted to be left alone?
She made a mistake on the game and Sailor V lost a life. She took advantage of the temporary pause in the game to answer shortly. "I did okay, I guess." Then she spun around on her stool to face the counter. "Another milkshake, Drew!"
The sandy blonde behind the counter shook his head. "But Sere, you've already had four. Don't you think you ought to give it a rest?"
Her blue eyes narrowed dangerously. "I asked for another milkshake, Andrew."
Andrew eyed her dubiously. "You're going to be sick."
"I don't care!" she snapped back. "Now are you going to get me my shake, or am I going to have to take my business someplace else?"
"One triple chocolate milkshake, coming right up," Andrew sighed, reaching for a glass.
Serena gave a tight smile of triumph as she watched him, but her face paled a moment later when she heard the sound of a roaring engine and the screech of tires right outside the arcade. She leveled a murderous look on the man behind the counter when she saw the look of relief on his face.
"You called him!" she growled menacingly.
Andrew held his hands up. "Look, Serena, he's my friend too and I think the two of you need to seriously sit down and talk about this."
"I can't believe you!" she screeched. "All I wanted to do was come in and get some uninterrupted therapy time with my favorite video game and drown my sorrows in milkshakes until I had to roll myself home. And I can't even do that!"
Ryan began edging away from the rampaging blonde. "Uh, I think I'll just be going."
Serena spun to face him, her eyes lit up maniacally. "Oh no, Ryan! You don't have to leave on my account. You seemed so anxious to jabber my ear off a few minutes ago. So let's talk! You wanted to know how I thought I did on that Algebra test today. Well I'll be honest with you. I'm pretty sure I flunked the stupid thing, okay! And do you want to know why? It's because my boyfriend's being the world's biggest idiot and throwing his lifelong dream away because everybody seems to be under the impression that I'm nothing but this silly little girl that has to have someone around to hold her hand every stinking second of the day! I am not an idiot, and I wish people would stop treating me like one!"
Her voice had risen to a hysterical scream by that point. She stopped to drag in some much needed air, her breath rasping raggedly in her chest. It wasn't until she saw Ryan's eyes widen as he looked over her shoulder that she became aware of the presence of a new energy in the room. She closed her eyes for a moment and took a deep breath in an attempt to compose herself before turning around slowly.
Darien stood just inside the arcade's doors, staring at her with a mixture of shock and longing on his face. There was some other emotion burning in his eyes, but she tore her gaze from his before she had a chance to decipher what it could be.
"Never mind the shake, Drew," she said tiredly as she grabbed her school bag. "I think I'm just going to go home instead."
She felt her eyes prickle with tears and knew that it wouldn't be long before she had a major meltdown. She wanted to be far away from here and the prying eyes before that happened. She lifted her chin regally and strode toward the door, trying to ignore the dark haired man standing there.
Darien grabbed her arm as she passed. "We need to talk, Serena."
She shook her head, sending her long golden hair flying around her. "Not right now, Darien, please. I'm still a little upset and I just want to go home."
She sounded so miserable that he almost let her go, but then irritation set in. "You're not getting away that easily, Serena! You want people to start taking you seriously then you need to start acting like an adult. Running away from this and avoiding me isn't going to make the problem go away. We're going to have to face this before it drives a wedge between us. Is that what you want?"
Her eyes flew to his. "Of course not! I'm just trying to figure out…why are you doing this, Darien?"
He started to answer, but then he became aware of two very eager onlookers that were hanging on every word they were saying. Both Andrew and that little snot nosed punk from Serena's school were inching ever so slightly closer, trying to hear what they were saying.
He let out a growl. "Come with me. Let's go find somewhere a little more private for this conversation."
He took her hand and led her outside, feeling relieved when she followed him without protest. When they reached his motorcycle he took her bag from her and slipped it into the custom made carry all he had on the back of the bike and pulled out the second helmet he kept in there just for Serena and handed it to her.
She eyed him warily. "Where are we going?"
He pulled his own helmet on. "I thought we'd go back to my place. That way we'll be comfortable and not have any interruptions while we talk." He threw a leg over the bike and patted the seat behind him. "Come on, Meatball Head."
She still felt like crying, but she couldn't stop a small smile at the old nickname. "You haven't called me that in a while."
He grinned at her. "Only when the occasion calls for it. Now are you coming or not?"
"Yeah, yeah, keep your underwear on," she muttered under her breath as she put on the helmet and climbed onto the bike. She felt a sense of belonging as she wrapped both of her arms tightly around his waist.
Maybe she was being ridiculous about his decision to stay here. It wasn't like she really wanted him to leave. She loved having him around and knowing that she would get to see him every day, even if it was for only a few minutes before he had to rush off to study. And he wasn't giving up on his dream to become a doctor, he was still studying medicine, he was just studying it here instead of some fancy, schmansy American college. There was nothing wrong with that…right?
But then she thought back to that night after the battle with Galaxia. Granted she had been numb with shock and fatigue when everyone had gathered at Darien's apartment to discuss what had happened. After all, she had just watched all of her friends die, found out that her boyfriend that she had thought had abandoned her was actually dead, fought the hardest battle that she had ever had to fight, and then dealt with the shock of having everyone come back from the dead, but she hadn't exactly been comatose.
Even now she could picture the look of pure astonishment on Darien's face when he discovered that he had actually been MIA for the better part of six months. He had never elaborated on whether or not he had any consciousness of anything after his star seed had been taken; he only described it as being in a sort of limbo with no concept of time.
But even now Serena could remember the dejected look in his eyes when he spoke of how his chances at Harvard had been ruined. He had tried to brush it off as being no big deal, but she had known that it had been a huge disappointment. So her insisting that she wanted him to go was really for his own good. She didn't want him to look back years from now and be resentful that he hadn't taken advantage of this opportunity, or worse, blame her for him missing out on this.
They roared off down the street, both of them lost in their own thoughts. The rushing wind and the loud sound of the engine made conversation pretty much impossible, so they remained quiet during the short drive to Darien's apartment. Once he had parked the bike in its parking space, he took her hand and led her to the elevator without a word.
The ride up seemed to go on forever and stretched Serena's nerves so tight that she thought they were going to snap. Usually elevator rides with Darien were filled with lively chatter or a few stolen kisses, but as she glanced up at his stern features from under her lashes she knew that neither one of those things were happening today.
She almost sighed out loud when they finally reached the top floor and the elevator dinged as the doors slid open. She hurried into the hall ahead of him, grateful to escape the closed, cramped space that had forced them to stand so close together. She waited patiently as he unlocked the door and then followed him inside.
"Do you want something to drink?" Darien asked her as he set his keys on a small table in the entry hall.
She shook her head. "No, thank you. My eyeballs already feel like they're floating from all of the milkshakes I've had."
"Oh, okay," he gestured to the living room. "Why don't we sit down and make ourselves comfortable."
He settled himself in his favorite chair, expecting Serena to take her usual place either on the arm or in his lap, but she surprised him when she simply walked over to the couch and took a seat on the end. She was barely perched on the edge of the cushion and kept her hands folded neatly in her lap.
"So what exactly did you want to talk about?" she asked softly without looking up at him.
Her actions troubled him. This wasn't his bright, happy Meatball Head. The girl sitting before him now looked depressed and dejected as she stared down at her clasped hands that he could now see trembled just the slightest bit.
"Serena, look at me, please," he pleaded softly.
Slowly her head came up and she looked at him with eyes that shown brightly with unshed tears. He felt his heart crack a little as one crystal drop leaked from the corner of her eye and slid down her smooth, pale cheek.
He held his arms open. "Come here, princess."
Serena knew that she was giving into his charm entirely too easily, but she felt so cold and lonely and craved the warmth and security of his touch. She stood and crossed the few feet to him and let him draw her gently down onto his lap and into his arms. She couldn't stop a sniffle as she wound her arms around his neck and buried her face in the juncture of his shoulder.
"What am I going to do with you?" Darien sighed and rested his chin on top of her head between her twin golden buns.
She let out a shaky giggle. "I don't know. What do you want to do with me?"
He chuckled at her pitiful attempt to sound playful. "I don't think this is the time for that. We have other things we need to talk about. Now, why are you so determined that I go to Harvard?"
Her head rose up and she looked at him incredulously. "Are you kidding me? Darien, you've been working to earn an opportunity like this since before I met you. You have always worked and studied so hard to get to where you are now. How could you not go when the invitation has practically been dropped in your lap?"
He eyed her curiously. "Is your concern for my education the only reason why you're being so adamant about this, or is there something more? Maybe you got so used to me being gone that you want me to go away again."
Serena looked horrified. "Of course I don't want you to go away!" Then she saw a twinkle in his eyes. "Now you're teasing me and it's not funny. I'm trying to be mature about this and think about what's best for you. You're always looking out for me and my interests, so I'm just returning the favor."
"What's best for me, hmm?" Darien mused. "And how could my being away from you be in my best interest? I'm happy right here where I am. I have you and our friends and I'm still getting a good education. What more could I ask for?"
She met his gaze squarely. "I want you to look me straight in the eyes and tell me that you don't want to go to America. If you can make it sound convincing and I think you are telling the truth I'll never bring the subject up again."
He opened his mouth to tell her exactly that. But when his eyes locked with her honest, caring sky blue orbs, the words died in his throat. No matter how much he wanted to tell her how much he wanted to stay with her, he couldn't lie to her.
A smug look appeared on her face. "You can't do it, can you? I know that part of you wants to stay here, but another part of you wants to go so bad that you can taste it. You were so eager to jump on a plane last fall, so why the hesitation now?"
He looked at her as if she had lost her mind. "Let's see here. Last time I left things didn't go so smoothly, did they? There was the little matter of Galaxia taking advantage of me being alone and stealing my star seed before she launched an all out attack that kept you and the others jumping through hoops for months. I can't help but think that perhaps if I had stayed here things might have gone differently. At least I would have been here to help and support you instead of you having to turn to others."
Understanding lit Serena's eyes. "This isn't about Seiya, is it? I told you, I never thought of him as anything other than a friend."
Darien growled. "Him, her, whatever you want to call it. That whole gender bending crap creeped me out. The point is that I thought that you would be well protected with all of the scouts around, but you weren't. So what if I leave and another powerful enemy shows up and I'm too far away to do anything? It would kill me if something happened to you and I wasn't around to help keep you safe."
Her face began to flush with anger. "Excuse me! You think I need to be kept safe? If I'm not mistaken it was you and everybody else that got themselves killed and I was the one that had save everyone…again! And let me point out that it wasn't the first time that I've had to do that. Let's see…Beryl killed everyone and I beat her and brought everybody back…Oh! And Nehelenia had everyone, including you, trapped in a world of nightmares and I broke the spell and freed you all. And don't even get me started on Wiseman, or Pharaoh 90, or any of the other baddies that I've had to face over the years. I may not be the most mature person in the world, but I think I've done a fairly decent job of keeping myself and everyone else alive. So where do you get off saying that I'm the one that needs protecting? Because from where I stand it seems more like I'm the protector!"
He mulled it over and couldn't deny the ring of truth in her words. So many times she had put her life on the line to protect her loved ones and this planet, but that didn't lessen his desire to keep her safe.
"Okay, you have a point," he conceded. "But that doesn't make your safety any less important to me. It's not that I don't trust the scouts, but everyone's busy with their lives. The inners are always around, but Amara and Michelle travel a lot with their jobs and take Hotaru with them. And nobody ever knows when Trista will pop up. I would just feel better if there was a stronger line of defense between you and anything that might come after you."
Serena rolled her eyes. "So what are you saying, that I need a crew of bodyguards? No offense, sweetie, but the enemies we usually face aren't exactly normal people. A regular, human bodyguard wouldn't be too much help. I would end up having to save them, so it's kind of pointless."
"I know that," Darien grumbled. "That's not what I meant."
Serena put a hand on either side of his face and made him look at her. "Would you do one thing for me if I asked you to?"
He looked a little wary. "It depends on what it is."
She smacked him lightly on the arm. "You don't have to be so cynical. I just want you to promise me that you won't give up on the idea of going to Harvard right away. After all, we have a little time before you have to make a final decision, right?"
He nodded. "Yeah, I have a few weeks. I'll keep an open mind about it for now, but I'm not promising that I'll change my mind. Besides, I already know what my future has in store for me, and I don't think I'll have the time to be both a doctor and a king. That could get kind of hectic."
"Uh, uh, uh," Serena admonished, wagging a finger at him. "I thought we both agreed that even though we know some about our future that we wouldn't let it interfere in the decisions we make about our lives now. So what if we're going to rule Crystal Tokyo some day? We still have to live for the moment."
Darien gave her a heated look. "Live for the moment, huh? I think I can handle that." He leaned down and pressed a quick kiss to her lips. "Now what homework do you have today? I know you haven't gotten a bit of it done since you went to the arcade right after school and started downing milkshakes."
Serena's lower lip trembled. "Are you seriously thinking about my homework at a time like this? We are in the middle of making up here!"
He tapped the tip of her nose with a finger. "I'm just taking advantage of the sugar rush you're on before you crash and burn. Come on, sweetheart, you'll feel better if you go ahead and get it all out of the way now and not have to do it later. And tomorrow's Friday, so I'll take you out to dinner if you're a good girl and get your work done."
Her face brightened. "Do you promise? You won't bail on me to study this time, will you?"
He chuckled. "I promise. That's why I'm going to hit my books while you get to work on yours. But feel free to bug me if you have any questions, okay."
"Fine," she grumbled, sliding off his lap and picking up her book bag. "Let's get this over with."
Raye looked at the clock and sighed. "I guess Serena's not coming today after all. I can't say I'm really all that surprised; she sounded way down in the dumps when I talked to her earlier. But still, she said she was coming over to study with us. A phone call letting us know that she'd changed her mind would have been nice."
"Aw, don't be too hard on the girl," Lita drawled. "You haven't seen her today. I have three classes with her, and let me tell you, she looked like the whole world was about to come to an end. The poor thing probably went home and crashed."
Raye snorted. "Typical Serena behavior. I don't see why she lets Darien get her so worked up like that. He's just a guy, after all."
"Yeah, but he's her guy," Lita replied. Then her look turned sly. "Besides, once upon a time I remember a certain dark haired scout of fire going absolutely gaga over a certain blonde hottie."
Raye's head snapped up. "What? Who? You're not talking about Andrew, are you? I never went gaga over him. Yeah, I thought he was cute a couple of years ago, but that's it. You and Mina were the two that made fools out of yourselves over him, and you both knew that he already had a girlfriend."
Lita waggled her eyebrows. "I'm not talking about Andrew, although I will admit the man is way beyond fine. I was talking more about the distant past and your steamy affair with a certain general."
Smoke curled up from Raye's clenched hands. "Don't even bring that bastard up! I can't believe that you would even go there. At least I was able to conduct myself with some decorum and wasn't off every second trying to find a dark corner to shag in like you and Nephrite were."
Lita's face hardened. "You're right. I shouldn't have gone there. When I think about the time I wasted on that man, and then he had the nerve to betray me. Ooo, it still burns my ass."
"Girls, girls," Amy chided from behind her calculus book. "Let's not get upset over something that happened a thousand years and a lifetime ago. Someday you might even find it in your heart to forgive them. After all, they had been brainwashed by Beryl and weren't themselves. They didn't know what they were doing."
"Are you saying that you've forgiven Zoicite for everything that he did?" Raye asked incredulously.
Amy's eyes, as cold as two blue chips of ice, popped over the edge of the book. "No, I haven't! But hate is an unhealthy emotion to harbor in one's heart, and I hope that one day I will be able to come to terms with that certain event in my past life and have some closure."
The sound of running footsteps on the wooden porch had their heads swiveling to the door of Raye's bedroom. It slid open a moment later and a blur of gold and white shot through it as Mina ran in with a seasick looking Artemis clinging weakly to her shoulder as he weaved drunkenly.
"Great Spirit! Would you watch where you're going, Klutz Queen!" Raye screeched as she dove for a stack of manga to keep them from toppling to the floor. "I swear you're worse than Serena."
"Tell me about it!" Artemis wheezed as he tried to get his head to stop spinning. "I think she left a trail of corpses behind us from where she ran over them in her haste to get here."
"Oh pooh, Artemis! You're exaggerating!" Mina said airily as she set the traumatized feline on his feet and he stumbled over to settle himself on a cushion next to Amy. "I had to get here as quickly as I could and share my news."
Lita snickered. "And what would that be? Did you discover that the shoe store is having a half price sale so you can go buy ten more pairs to join the thousand you already own and never wear?"
Mina looked miffed. "Go stuff yourself, Thunderbutt! What I have to say is a kajillion times more important than mere shopping."
"Wow! It must be serious if it's more important to you than shopping," Amy giggled.
Raye sat back down and took a sip of her tea. "Just please tell me that this doesn't have anything to do with that guy that works at the ice cream place in the mall that you've been stalking. That last little stunt you pulled almost got us kicked out of the mall."
Mina waved a dismissing hand at her. "No, no! I gave up on him. I think he's gay anyway. Such a waste! I was only interested in him because he reminded me of Yaten with that platinum hair."
Raye crossed her arm across her chest and huffed. "Really! I didn't see the resemblance. Yaten is a beanpole and that guy is built like a linebacker. They don't even have the same color eyes. I think you were after him because he reminded you of someone else."
Mina wasn't one to show her temper easily, but her normally happy face went stone cold at Raye's words. "And just what the hell is that supposed to mean?"
Ever the peacemaker, Amy jumped in. "She didn't mean anything by it. So what did you want to tell us?"
Mina shot one last glare at Raye before smoothing her expression into a picture of calm. "Well, I was passing by the arcade on my way here and I saw Darien's motorcycle parked outside. I saw him and Serena come out together and get on it and drive away together. The aura between them was still a little strained, but was much more stable than what it was the other day. So I think they may be on the mend."
"That's good news," Lita agreed. "Now maybe Serena will perk back up instead of moping around like she has been the last couple of days."
"I told you guys not to worry about," Raye scoffed. "I knew they would work things out. Serena and Darien can never stay mad at one another no matter how hard they try. I bet they're holed up in his apartment right now being all gooey and mushy with each other. It makes me sick to my stomach to even think about it."
Mina grinned slyly. "Somebody sounds bitter to me. Admit it, Raye, you're just as jealous as the rest of us and wish that you could find a guy that you could click with like those two."
Raye hung her head. "Okay! So maybe I do wish I could find someone. But sometimes I feel like I'm cursed when it comes to men. Either they turn out to be absolute morons or they get scared away when they find out I'm psychic."
Lita nodded. "I know the feeling. No guy wants to be with a girl that's stronger than him. Not to mention I have trouble finding a guy that's not shorter than me. I would love to go out on a date just once and be able to wear heels."
"Humph!" Mina huffed. "Being the goddess of love isn't all sunshine and rainbows either! Sometimes I hate the fact that can tell about two minutes after I meet someone that we have absolutely no bond together. It takes all of the excitement right out of trying to build a relationship. I figure why bother spending time with someone if it isn't going to go anywhere."
Amy closed her book and set it down with a firm thud. "We shouldn't be worrying about whether or not we have boyfriends anyway. We are in the middle of our high school educations and that should be our main focus."
"But Amy!" the others squealed in protest.
Darien closed his textbook with a sigh and took off his reading glasses before rubbing his eyes tiredly. He stretched his arms over his head to loosen his stiff back as he looked over at the couch and smiled.
Serena had finished her homework about an hour before and had crashed. Evidently her sugar buzz had finally worn off. Darien had covered her with a blanket and had brought a pillow from his bed to slip under her head. And now she lay curled up on her side with her arms wrapped tightly around the black silk covered pillow.
Looking at the clock, Darien knew he was going to have to get his sleeping beauty home soon. Her mother always worried if Serena wasn't home by dinnertime, but he took a few minutes to just sit next to her and study her as she slept.
She looked peaceful. Her cheeks were flushed from sleep and her lips were slightly parted as her gentle breaths puffed in and out. Her long blonde hair twisted around her and a few strands lay across her face.
He swept the loose hairs away with the backs of his fingers and smiled. When she was like this it was sometimes hard to picture what a firecracker she was when she was awake, always full of spirit.
He leaned down and kissed her petal soft lips. But Serena, being true to form, always slept like she was dead. Darien had always joked that she could probably sleep through a hurricane.
It wasn't until he began nibbling on her lower lip that he felt any response from her that indicated that she was waking. He pulled back just a fraction and watched as her sleep clouded blue eyes blinked open slowly and she yawned.
"Wha issit?" she mumbled.
He couldn't help but laugh. "It's time to wake up, sleepyhead, so I can take you home."
"Uh uh," she groaned, eyes closing again. "I'm comfy."
Darien knew that this was going to call for drastic measures. He yanked the pillow away from her and whipped the blanket off of her.
Her eyes flew open. "Hey! What are you doing? I was trying to get some sleep."
"And I want to get you home before your father shows up at my door with a gun and accuses me of doing inappropriate things with his daughter," he argued back.
Serena rolled her eyes. "Daddy's all bark and no bite. Besides, mom would never let him do that."
"Well I would rather not take that chance," he told her. "I happen to like being alive again and I don't want to tempt fate by angering your father. You know he doesn't approve of the age difference between us."
She threw her hands up in the air. "I don't see why he makes such a big deal out of it. It's only three years. And I'm going to be seventeen in two months; I'm not a child anymore. I hope you're not that possessive when Rini comes along."
Darien wisely kept his mouth shut. He knew exactly where Ken Tsukino was coming from. He had already seen his future daughter go through a pretty heavy crush when she had developed a relationship with the Elysian priest, Helios, and he'd had to really bite his tongue to keep from saying anything.
Together they collected Serena's things and then Darien bundled her down to his car so that he could drive her home. Barely twenty minutes later he returned to his apartment alone. Ilene had invited him to stay and have dinner with them, but he had used studying as an excuse when Ken had sent him a death glare after seeing his daughter's wrinkled and rumpled state. There was no telling what that man was picturing in his head, and he didn't want to find out.
Darien knew that most of their friends were under the impression that he and Serena had been intimate together for a long time now, but they couldn't have been further from the truth. He had been seventeen and Serena only fourteen when they had first gotten together, and their relationship had been innocent for the most part. Sure there were kisses and some fairly heavy make out sessions between them, she had even stayed over at his apartment on several occasions and slept in the same bed with him, but nothing had ever happened between them.
He knew that there was the possibility of that changing soon. Serena had grown and matured while Galaxia had held his star seed, and his once shy girlfriend had blossomed into a sensual young woman that tempted his senses every chance she got.
She had grown more forceful when it came to demonstrating her feelings toward him. He had been so shocked the first time that she had pushed him down and straddled his hips that it had taken him a full two minutes to comprehend what was going on. When it had finally clicked in his head that his sixteen-year-old girlfriend was quickly working both of them up into such a frenzy that things were about to take a dangerous turn, he had quickly, but gently, pulled away from her.
Serena had pouted at first, and then had become indignant. She even went so far at one point to ask him if he didn't love her enough to take their relationship to the next level. Darien had assured her that he loved her with all his heart, but he had taken a few psychology courses and believed that she was just reacting from the emotional stress from the fight with Galaxia and he didn't want to take advantage of her if she was in a fragile emotional state.
Serena had laughed at him and told him that he just didn't understand the way a woman's mind worked. She had dropped the subject at the time, but she had started flaunting her newfound maturity in ways that sent his blood pressure right through the roof. A simple look or touch from her sometimes made him want to drag her to his bedroom and do things to her that he had never even thought about doing with another woman.
He shook his head and pushed the thoughts from his mind. He still had a little work left that he needed to get done, and there was no way that he was going to do that if he kept dwelling on Serena and what he would like to do with her. He settled in at the coffee table with his books, a cup of coffee, and a sandwich and dug in.
A few hours later he sat back in triumph. He had finished every assignment that he had on his agenda. So unless any of his professors loaded him down with work tomorrow, he had effectively cleared his entire weekend to spend it with Serena.
He glanced at the clock and saw that it was just after ten. He wondered if she was still awake so he could tell her the good news. Luckily the bond between him and Serena had strengthened to the point that they didn't always have to rely on phones to communicate.
He reached out with his psyche, searching for her bright silver aura. It popped up on his mental radar instantly, just like a shining beacon. He gave it a light brush, just enough to tell him if she was asleep or not.
'Darien, is that you?' her voice sounded groggily in his head.
He grinned. 'Of course it's me, silly. Who else would it be? I didn't wake you did I?'
He could almost hear her mentally yawn. 'I was close to dozing off, but you didn't wake me up. Is everything okay?'
'Everything's great,' he reassured her. 'I got a lot of work done, so if things go well tomorrow I should have a lot of free time this weekend.'
She sounded sleepy and excited at the same time. 'Really? That's wonderful! Sounds like we'll need to make some plans. It's not often we get to spend a whole weekend together.'
He chuckled. 'That's true. Now you get some sleep so you'll be rested up for it. I'll be by in the morning and give you a ride to school. I love you.'
'I love you too,' her voice faded away drowsily.
Darien stood and stretched. He figured a shower and a good night's sleep would do wonders for him as well. He turned off all the lights in the kitchen and living room before heading down the hall to the master bedroom. He hummed a little tune under his breath as he thought about the upcoming weekend. Maybe he would take Serena to the amusement park. They hadn't been there in a long time and it was always fun.
He froze suddenly when he reached the bedroom door and gripped the doorframe as sudden images began filling his head.
Prince Endymion stepped off the transportation platform on the moon, Kunzite and Nephrite at his side. Queen Serenity, flanked by Sailor Venus and Sailor Jupiter stepped forward.
"Prince Endymion, how wonderful to see you again," the queen greeted him as she held a hand out to him.
He took the hand and bowed over it in respect. "Your Majesty. It's an honor to be here. My parents send their apologies for not being able to attend your conference themselves, but there are a few situations back on Earth that require their attention."
Concern lit up Queen Serenity's lavender eyes. "It's nothing too serious, I hope."
"Not at all," he quickly reassured her. "It's just that there have been a couple of raids on some villages by the rebels and my parents wanted to offer their support and help them rebuild."
Serenity smiled. "Althea and Edward are so kind. It's no wonder that they are so beloved by their people. Now I'm sure you would like to get settled in before the banquet tonight. Venus, Jupiter, would you please show the good generals to the rooms that have been assigned to them?"
Both women smiled and answered together. "It would be our pleasure." They led the generals toward the castle.
Endymion offered his arm to the queen, and she looped hers through it as they began walking up the path. Endymion's eyes kept darting around as though searching for someone or something.
Queen Serenity giggled softly. "She's supposed to be with Mercury and Mars overseeing the preparations for tonight. But if I know my daughter I'm sure she'll find some way to slip out of her duties for at least a little while."
She led him through the grand hall and up the wide marble staircase to the upper floor. She paused outside the door to a guest chamber. "This is your room. All of your things should have already been delivered. If there is anything that you require, please don't hesitate to ask."
"Thank you, your majesty," he answered with a bow. He suddenly was hit with a need to go into that room as soon as possible.
"I will see you later then," the queen replied with a secretive smile as she turned and walked away.
Endymion dashed inside the room and closed and locked the door behind him. He leaned against the wood as he surveyed the seemingly empty room. "Sere?" he called out in a whisper.
There was no answer, but he knew she was there somewhere. Her presence saturated the room and practically swamped his senses. "Serenity, where are you?"
There was a soft giggle as the long curtains by the tall windows moved and the moon princess stepped out from behind them. She stood there for a moment staring at him with her large, luminescent blue eyes before squealing, "Endy!" and flinging herself across the room and into his arms.
He caught her securely against his chest and held her tightly as her arms wound around his neck. "You're not happy to see me, are you?"
She pouted up at him. "Don't pick on me, Endy! I thought you would never get here. It feels like it's been so long since I last saw you. I can't stand it when we're apart!" She pulled his head down and claimed his lips in a forceful, scorching kiss.
Luckily he was still standing with his back to the door or he would have stumbled back. He quickly regained his composure and returned the kiss with just as much enthusiasm. He wound his hand into her long hair and pulled her head back so he could deepen the kiss. They both moaned as the intimacy increased.
Then the moment was shattered by a knock at the door and a voice hissing, "Serenity! I know you're in there. You are supposed to be helping me! Now come out of there before I come in after you and drag you out kicking and screaming."
"Rei…" Serenity groaned as buried her face in Endymion's chest. "Why couldn't you have brought Jadeite with you. He would have kept her off my back."
He kissed the top of her head. "Sorry love, but Jed had other duties to attend to."
Serenity stepped reluctantly away from him and smoothed her hair and dress back into place. "I guess I better go before she decides to charbroil me. You're here for the whole weekend, right?"
He nodded. "Yes, I plan to stay the whole weekend. So I'm sure we'll manage to sneak in some alone time at some point."
She pressed one last kiss to his lips. "Come to my room tonight. I've been without my dark prince for entirely too long."
"Tonight, I'm all yours," he promised.
Darien came crashing back to reality with his head spinning. Bits and pieces of his past life had been returned to him when the Silver Crystal had been recovered, and he had experienced a few flashbacks from time to time over the years, but this was by far one of the clearest visions he'd ever had besides some of the events on the last day of the moon kingdom.
None of the ones that had been reincarnated had all of their memories of the past, but they knew the basic story. Serenity and Endymion had been in love and wanted to marry, but the witch, Beryl, wanted to take over the galaxy and rule it. She had also set her sights on Endymion and wanted him for herself. So she teamed up with Metallia and led an uprising, turning the people of Earth against the moon. She also coveted the Silver Crystal and wanted its power. So she had kidnapped Endymion's generals, who were in love with Serenity's scouts, and brainwashed them into fighting for her. Then they had attacked the moon and destroyed everything.
When everyone had been killed, Queen Serenity had used the Silver Crystal to send everyone to the future to be reincarnated on Earth and sealed the evil away. But when Beryl broke free from the seal and started up her old tricks again, the scouts had been reawakened, joined by Sailor Moon and Tuxedo Mask.
The evil generals had resurfaced as well, acting as Beryl's puppets. But what Darien had learned during the time that he had spent in the Dark Kingdom when Beryl had brainwashed him as well was that the souls of his generals had not been lost as he had feared. As the sailor scouts had defeated Kunzite, Nephrite, Jadeite, and Zoicite, their true essences had been sealed inside of four stones, stones that Beryl had given to him while he served her.
He had held on to the stones and kept them in a wooden box in the top drawer of his nightstand. He had received a major shock the first time he had touched those stones after he had been given the Golden Crystal from Helios. All four of his generals had appeared as apparitions to him and he had been able to converse with them and had done so several times since then. He knew that tensions ran high between the scouts and generals, so he had kept it a secret from everyone, even Serena.
But this latest flash of memory had gotten him thinking. Just how close had he and Serenity been in the past? The vision he'd just had made it seem like their relationship was much more complex than he had thought. He had questions, and those guys just might have the answers.
He hurried to the bedside table and opened the top drawer to pull out the box. He sat on the side of the bed and set the box beside him. He carefully lifted the lid to reveal the four stones nestled inside. One was golden orange, one deep forest green, one fiery red, and one that was icy blue.
He studied them for a long moment before scooping them up in his hand. The moment he did a fissure went through the air and four ghostly figures appeared. They all went down on one knee with their right hands over their hearts in salute.
"My prince, it's been a long time," Kunzite greeted him.
Darien gestured to all of them. "Stop that bowing. I told all of you before, I'm not a prince anymore."
Nephrite grinned as he got up. "Old habits die hard, I guess. So what can we do for you, Endymion?"
"The first thing you can do is stop calling me Endymion," Darien growled. "I'm known as Darien in this time."
"Now see, you've gone and upset him," Jadeite complained. "If you were solid I'd knock you upside the head."
"And if you were solid I'd strangle you to death, you little shit!" Nephrite fired back.
"Gentlemen, please," Zoicite pleaded. "This is hardly the time."
"Exactly! Pipe down!" Kunzite commanded. "What can we do for you, Darien?"
Darien took a deep breath. "I was just wondering how much you guys remember from the Silver Millennium."
"Hmmm…I don't know about the others, but my memories are pretty sporadic," Kunzite mused. "I remember you, of course, and Serenity, Minako, and the other scouts, along with some events that happened. But there are a lot of blanks."
"Same here," the other three confirmed.
"Why do you ask of the past? Is something wrong?" Nephrite asked.
Darien shook his head. "Not exactly. I've just got some decisions to make that could drastically affect mine and Serena's lives, and then I just had this flash of memory and I got curious."
"Perhaps you should start from the beginning," Zoicite prompted gently.
So Darien told them everything, about his acceptance to Harvard, Serena's insistence that he go, about the recent changes in their relationship, and the memory that he'd had. He had to admit that it was refreshing to talk to his old friends like this and get some of these things off his chest. Andrew was a great friend, but he hadn't been around during the Silver Millennium and Darien always tried to keep from talking about relationship issues in front of him because he knew that Andrew was dealing with his own demons because of Rita being so far away.
"That's a lot of things to consider," Zoicite commented quietly when Darien reached the end of his tale.
Jadeite's translucent form fell to the ground where he rolled as he howled with laughter. "That definitely sounds like you had an accurate memory to me. From what I can remember you and Serenity had a hard time keeping your hands and other body parts away from each other. I have to say I'm surprised that she's not in your bed right now."
Darien gulped. "So Serenity and Endymion were…"
"Yes. They were lovers," Kunzite confirmed. "It wasn't completely unheard of for engaged couples to sleep together before the actual wedding. But it was a little risky considering the fact that your engagement wasn't set in stone because of the tensions between the earth and moon."
Darien felt his face heat up at the word "lovers". He didn't know why it embarrassed him so much; after all, he was going on twenty years old and knew exactly how things worked between men and women. He'd just never actually experienced it.
Nephrite's figure joined Jadeite's on the floor. "Look how red his face is. If I didn't know any better I'd say our reincarnated prince is a vir…"
"If you finish that statement I swear I'll smash this stone quicker than you can blink!" Darien roared as he shot up from his seat on the bed. "What Serena and I have or have not done isn't the issue here! What I'm more concerned about is her safety if by some chance I do decide to go to Harvard. I wish you guys were really here. Then there would be four more people to help her if there was any trouble."
"Well thanks to Beryl's spell we're trapped like this," Kunzite commiserated sadly. "Believe me, I would like nothing better than to rejoin the land of the living. But I'm afraid that's impossible."
"Maybe not," Zoicite spoke up. "There is one possibility."
"Are you thinking what I think you're thinking?" Nephrite asked.
Zoicite shrugged. "Nothing's guaranteed, I'm just saying that there's a chance it could work. It would take some research and planning. Helios's help would be valuable and Sailor Pluto as well if she can be contacted. But it could work."
Nephrite snorted. "And one wrong move could damn our souls to an eternity of nothingness."
"What the hell are you two idiots jabbering about?" Kunzite demanded. "You know I can't stand it when you start talking in riddles."
Zoicite rolled his eyes. "Let me see if I can make it simple for you to understand. Darien is the holder of the Golden Crystal and that crystal harnesses the power of Earth. Now nature is the basis for Earth's power and nature exists to create life."
Jadeite jumped up from the floor, an excited gleam in his ghostly eyes. "Are you saying that the Golden Crystal has the power to bring us back to life?"
"In a manner of speaking," Zoicite answered calmly. "Since our souls are held in limbo it would be possible for them to be returned to our bodies. But since our bodies are dead, life would have to be breathed back into them first."
"Whoa! Hold the phone there guys!" Darien exclaimed. "Are you talking about me bringing you guys back from the dead? I don't have that kind of power!"
Nephrite cocked his head to the side as he examined the reincarnated prince. "He does have a point, Zoi. After all, he's just a mere reincarnation and not our esteemed prince. I bet he doesn't even have a fraction of the talent and power that Endymion had."
Zoicite nodded. "Yes, that's probably true. What a shame. I'd had hopes that Endymion's soul would only grow stronger through reincarnation, but it seems that it has grown weaker instead."
That didn't sit too well with Darien either. "Now wait just a damn minute here!" he exploded. "I don't know who the hell you guys think you are, but I'll be damned if you come into my home and pass judgment on me. I don't know exactly what I did in my past life for you to put Endymion so high up on a pedestal, but I'll have you know that I'm just as much of a man as he ever was. So you better climb down off of your high horses and tell me what this grand idea of yours is before I start metaphorically busting some heads."
Jadeite and Nephrite were on the floor again, busting a gut at his outburst.
Kunzite passed an appraising look over him. "So Endymion is still alive in you after all. That's good to know."
Darien sat back down on the bed, chuckling himself when he realized that he had fallen right into Nephrite and Zoicite's trap and allowed himself to show his true feelings. He never let his guard down in front of anyone except for Serena and Andrew. But as he looked around at the smiling apparitions, he suddenly realized that they probably knew him as well as he knew himself.
"So what do we have to do?" he asked them.
"Grab a pen and paper and get ready to take notes. We've got work to do," Zoicite told him. "This isn't going to be easy."
Darien grinned. "Nothing in life ever is. Fire away!"
A/N So another story has started! Looks like Darien and the generals are cooking something up between them, and I have a feeling that the scouts aren't going to be too terribly happy with the outcome. Lots of fireworks are sure to come in the future between all of our couples. I'd like to know what you guys think, so if you get a chance hit the review button and drop me a line. Now I'm off to work on my other stories for a bit. Lots of love!