Today was a bad day. It had been obvious from the moment my eyes had opened tiredly and I knocked the annoyingly persistent alarm clock from the bedside table. It had been more evident in the fact that the water heater had blown during the night and the ensuing shower had been so frosty, I was wiping icicles from my hair all morning. And perhaps the worst of all, I’d been late to a class.
It was unbearable to even think about. I was turning into such a Meatball Head all of the sudden! My cold, dark coffee sat there looking innocent the whole time my mind flitted across the frustrating thoughts. Today was just bad. With all my luck, that Meatball Head would come bounding through the sliding doors with her annoyingly high pitched voice, tripping over herself in the rush to simply be alive. Chaos -complete and utter chaos in a human being. Why anyone would actually WANT to go around life as if she were a butterfly on speed was beyond me. Maybe it was a girl thing.
Luckily, the thought had hardly gone through my head when the familiar heat and tug ripped the breath from me. I froze, taking time to get my bearings back. She needed me. I set the cup of coffee to the side, careful to make sure that no one suspected me of leaving any other time than I wanted to. It had been months since the first attack, and still that first time the strange sensation had come over me was enough to make me ache. How I’d known that deep down I was a masked superhero whose main goal in life was to rescue a hot blond in a miniskirt was beyond me. And how I’d had a strange bond with her to know when she was in trouble was a little more complicated. I noticed that it only activated when the girl was hip-deep in some sort of trouble. I glanced up. Andrew was coming back from the far end of the parlor, smiling to himself at some inside joke I waved at him.
“I’m heading out, Andrew. Don’t forget the study session tonight.” A few steps out the door, I turned into an alley and transformed, feeling her now more than ever. A somewhat lopsided grin came to me as I thought about the adorable little Sailor. I flushed at the sudden dirty thoughts that came to mind before leaping to the next building.
“I have GOT to stop thinking about her like that! Poor kid has no idea what that mini skirt does to me.” I murmured, eyes flashing as I leapt from building to building toward her pull. It was toward the center of Tokyo, somewhere deep in the inner city. Unfortunately, that meant pedestrians and glass. It always did.
I grit my teeth steadily as the battle opens up before me. The Sailors are already there, fire slashing the air like a whip as Mars screamed her attack. It was obvious Mercury had been the first knocked unconscious, since Moon and Jupiter were leaning over her protectively. The latter jumped to her feet, amazing Amazonian height causing the young girl to appear far more menacing than usual. A lightning bolt later and a car exploded directly in front of me. I jumped, throwing roses and praying to whoever was out there that they would hit the monster before it could come barreling through the smoke and fire toward the others.
Crouching protectively over Moon and Mercury, I hid them behind the cape and gave the blond a reassuring smile as the blast ripped across us. She seemed so frightened and small, cradling the blue warrior in her lap. It appeared that the brain of the bunch had been knocked in the side of the head with what looked like a giant paper bird. I sweat-dropped and tried not to laugh.
“This is so pathetic. Come on, Sailor Moon. Let’s beat this thing quickly and head home!” She smiled, already jumping to her feet. Unfortunately for the little girl, her feet had never been particularly steady. She stumbled on a chunk of cement and nearly beaned it on the pavement as I dove for her.
“Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!!!!!!” She screamed, nearly deafening me before realizing that her face hadn’t even hit the ground yet. Glancing back at me, she blushed as I stood her upright before scratching her head confusedly and running off with a cute little wave of her hand. I could only smile.
Now, to the important part- I’d jumped into this battle without even giving a few words of advice or a dashing look from a building or ANYTHING! I was going to have to do some serious thinking. Let’s-see, the monster is an origami, and she’s throwing out little paper razors…I winced at this last fact. Nothing ever hurt like a paper cut did. Hmm… ‘That which hurts can’t always be considered a’…
“Tuxedo Mask, look out!!” Someone yelled from the battle. I glanced up just in time to see a giant paper boulder come flying toward my face. Oh yeah. Today was definitely a bad day!
“This is really going to hurt.” I muttered, unable to move in time. Then, everything was black.
Walking home from school, I tried not to cry. I pulled my bangs in front of my face and looked down, hoping the rest of my hair would cover my eyes. “Another F! What is mom going to say? What is Amy going to say? She stayed up helping me study! I’m such a failure!”
“Hey Sere,” Mina called out, running over to me. “Why so blue?”
No escaping now. I tried blinking a few times to get the tears out and gave her a watery smile. “Just one of those days.”
“It’s not your test is it? Don’t worry! Nothing cheers you up like a milkshake and a little Sailor V kick-butt action video games.” Mina pulled me toward the arcade. I sniffled and smiled. She sure knew the magic words. Besides if that jerk Darien was around I didn’t want to give him any ammo.
Our comms beeped right as we got on the corner. “Girls trouble! East 4th street!” Rei’s worried voice piped from our pockets. Immediately I perked up, looked for the nearest alleyway and transformed.
“Not the kind of action I had in mind, but it’ll do!” Venus murmured as she jumped to the roof.
When we got to scene it was worse than we thought. All the anticipation of another good fight drained out of me. Mercury and Mars were already trying to attack -both with several cuts already bleeding down their legs.
“More little cretins to crush?” The thing shrieked. It stood tall and ugly, as most of them did, with a paper swan origami as a body and fans for hands. It was throwing hundreds of tiny folded papers.
“Duck!” someone yelled.
“Actually, it looks more like a swan to me,” Jupiter’s voice emanated.
“Jupiter! She’s standing in a puddle,” Mercury cried. “Blast her!” Jupiter had stepped from the shadows. The thunderbolt had little effect; the monster just let the wind carry her away from the bolt.
“Mars you blast her while I analyze her weakness!” Mercury cried.
Meanwhile a few hundred papers came flying at us again, I pulled venus behind a nearby car. “Mercury are you kidding? The paper won’t get away from us if we wet it down a bit?”
“Oh! Right!” Mercury looked sheepish and started her attack.
“No you don’t you little hooligan!” Before Venus could attack, the paper monster threw a large origami bird into the sky, which hit Mercury in the side of the head from above, then turned fell harmlessly to the ground.
“Mercury!” I ran to her, Lita quickly at my heels.
“Mars, blue diamond. Blue diamond!” Venus ran to the other side of the street and into an alleyway. Venus was always coming up with stupid names for certain attacks, but they did save time. Blue diamond meant that Mars was to distract the monster while Venus went to move the innocents out of the way of the fight. How sick is it that people actually wanted to watch?
“Mars Fire IGNITE!” Mars yelled, charring the head off the origami swan on her body.
“You little wretch!” It hissed.
I couldn’t concentrate on the fight. I looked down at Mercury and pulled her in my arms. “She’s alive,” I sputter with relief and looked at Jupiter. She nodded and jumped to her feet.
“Jupiter thunder…” The monster ran behind a car and the car exploded, glass went everywhere. I tried to shield Ami with my arm. What were we going to do with Ami? What if she died? What if we couldn’t get her up? I didn’t know how to work the computer and wasn’t it usually the computer that told us how to heal an injured scout? Ami had been with me from the beginning what if… what if… what if? For the second time today my eyes welled with tears. Calm down, Serena. You are just an over dramatic girl. Amy will wake up in good time. We’re gunna need something new to get rid of this thing. Like a very hot man in a white mask.
The monster screamed and I looked up and saw two holes through it’s center, and roses on the other side. It looked really mad and this time I couldn’t block or even move Mercury fast enough. Tuxie? Where are you?
When I looked up, I found those beautiful blue eyes smiling down on me, that –had this been any other situation – would have melted my heart. I looked at Mercury and back up at him. Fine, he was melting my heart. In fact, he made me almost forget the blue girl curled in my arms, but I’ll never tell Mercury that.
“This is so pathetic. Come on, Sailor Moon. Let’s beat this thing quickly and head home!” He said. I smiled. How could he get any hotter? I imaged his smooth perfect lips kissing mine. Oh, yeah! And his arms around me! And… Oh! How embarrassing! I saw the pavement come toward my face as I fell.
“Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!!!!!!..huh?” Tuxie had grabbed my skirt and ripped it a little, but kept me from falling. How embarrassing! I hope he didn’t notice! I scratched my head and hoped he didn’t think I was stupid. Oh well! He saved me right? He *must* like me! Look at that gorgeous smile! If that isn’t worth fighting for, I don’t know what is!
I assessed the situation and before I knew it, Tuxedo had stepped right in the path of the giant paper boulder aimed at me!!
“Tuxedo Mask, look out!!” Someone yelled from the battle.
“This is really going to hurt.” He muttered before he fell to the ground unconscious. NOT TUXIE!
“YOU EVIL CREATURE? HOW COULD YOU HURT SOMETHING SO HOT! You will regret everything you have every done!” I screamed.
“Oh really? What are you going to do about it, little girl?” It laughed. I glared. I don’t think I had ever wanted to hurt a monster so bad in my entire life as a Sailor. This *thing* was obviously made from an origami paper and not a living being. I didn’t see any harm in destroying it completely.
“Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Let us destroy this thing!” I started up my power ignoring their confused looks. They all looked surprised watching me incinerate the monster easily.
“Nooooooooooo!” It yelled as it saw that there was no way out.
“Good riddance!” I said. I was calming down and becoming more tired by the second.
“Wow, that was a little harsh.” Venus said. “And Powerful.”
“It had it coming,” I said.
“What are we going to do with Mercury and Tuxie?” Everyone looked over at the unconscious members of the team.
“I can take Merc home with me. She’ll heal up in no time.” Jupiter picked up the blue girl as she moaned.
“What about Tuxie?”
After a moment of silence, the girls looked at his unconscious figure, his hair askew and his mask tilted. “He can come home with me!” Mars and I yelled in unison.
“Absolutely not! We don’t know his allegiances,” Jupiter said.
“We don’t have any other choice,” Mars said. “If the media discovers his identity, how soon will it be until they discover ours?”
“Besides he saved ME and my parents are going to leave this weekend.” I piped. I am a genius! Tuxie at my house!
“No fair. He saved us all you selfish little…!” Mars began.
“Don’t start Rei, you do have you’re Grandpa to worry about, I say he stays with Serena.”
“But..” Mars looked crestfallen, then just angry as she crossed her arms.
“No buts. Serena, just don’t let him know who you are.” Lita said trying to help the peace. I nodded. “Rei, you better come with me and help Ami.”
“I’ll help take him to your house, Sere.” Mina said, pulling Tuxie’s arms. “We’d better get started.”
“We can put him in the attic, at least until my parents are out of the house.”
“Actually, I think it’s better to keep him in the attic. We still don’t know who he works for and what he wants.” Rei stated sourly. “Just throw him up there and don’t give away anything Sere”
“I won’t!” Some people’s jealously! I smiled.
“Wow, was he heavy!” I sat on rickety chair beside the still-unconscious Tuxie.
“Yeah lucky for our Sailor powers or we’d be in some trouble!” Venus pulled off a high heel and rubbed her raw skin.
“So where do we start?” I asked.
“Let’s de-transform; these shoes are killing me!” Venus already had ribbons flying around her.
Once both de-transformed, they began to tend Tuxie’s wounds. They put an ice pack under his head and felt around his arms and legs. I brought out the bandages and Mina got a mean grin on her face.
“What?” I asked, looking confused. That grin always means something’s up.
“Well, we need to take care of wounds right?”
“Guess that means we’ll need better access. We’ll just have to take off that shirt of his.” Mina’s grin grew larger.
I thought for a moment and then understood. “Oh you’re BAD.” I smiled. “I think you’re right. That shirt looks so constricting.”
“Not healthy at all!” Mina giggled.
We both reached out and undid his bowtie and gently took off his overcoat. He groaned loudly, blinking a few times before falling back into oblivion. That was when we saw a few blots of new blood coming through the shirt.“Glad we decided to look here, or we’d have missed these.” Mina said, as I slowly undid the buttons on his white undershirt. This was heaven!
When we finally got this shirt off, the perfect skin was broken here and there with tiny paper cuts. Probably the ones he got when he first protected me and Ami. Lower down, where the boulder had hit him was a large dark purple bruise. “Oh I bet that hurts,” I said aloud.
“I’m jealous that you got to keep him. He’ll be here for at least two weeks with these wounds, even if he has Sailor healing power!” Mina smiled.
“If he does.” I say.
“I’m gunna need more bandages and some cream to put on him. I’ll go grab some.” Mina said. As if I hadn’t bandaged a thousand of her Sailor wounds before! I put my hands lightly on his chest. Touching everywhere. His skin was smooth and tan and perfect, just like I’d dreamed. I looked at his face, eyes closed and mask asunder, I thought about taking that mask off. What would be under it? Anyone I knew? I laughed. Impossible. I didn’t know anyone this handsome or I would most certainly remember. I traced his jaw line and thought I heard a light moan. “I wish I knew you.” I said. I thought there was a slight smile on his lips. I wonder who he’s dreaming of. When I went back to his chest and touched the bruise, he groaned loudly. I pushed a little harder and he whimpered. “Sorry. At least they’re not broken.”
“I’m back. Did he wake up?” Mina asked.
“Nope. His ribs aren’t broken, just bruised,” I pulled his shoulders up until his head lolled on my shoulder and Mina could wrap the bandage around the bruise. “Hey, what are we going to do… when he wakes up.” I stared at his face, so close to mine. Don’t think about his lips. Don’t think about his lips. He wouldn’t take advantage of you, don’t do it to him! “He probably has a girlfriend,” I murmur.
“I don’t think he has a girlfriend. He really likes Sailor Moon on the battle field, you know,” Mina nudged mischievously at my side. “But he should have woken up by now.” I tried to gently lay him back down, accidentally banging into his bruise.
“GRRPH,” Tuxie grumbled.
“Careful, he’s never gunna get better if you keep making it worse!” Mina said.
“I didn’t mean to,” I put his head on a pillow as Mina pulled the blanket over him.
“I brought this water up. I’ll put it here in case he decides to wake up,” Mina said.
“Yeah, I’ll bring up some extra food after dinner’s done,” I say.
“I just hope he doesn’t make noise and wake up your parents,” Mina giggled and walked down the steps.
“Good night, my handsome prince,” I hear myself say. Wow, where did that come from?
This had to be heaven. I had somehow died and gone straight up. There was no other explanation as to why the princess had come down from the castle to try her best to seduce me. She looked up at me with those overly-innocent eyes, hands splayed across my back.
“Well, need to take care of wounds right?” She whispered, lips barely hovering over mine. I groaned deep down, knowing exactly what that tone of voice meant. “Guess that means we need better access. We’ll just have to take off that shirt of his.” Her whisper was hardly heard as she began to undo the bowtie and throw it over one shoulder. With slow, subtle movements, she began to unbutton my shirt and throw the jacket to the side. I tried to grab her, anything to make her…um…stop. Or she could just continue! I was so confused at the moment, I didn’t even want to think. Since when did the Princess have such a powerful libido? And since when was I NOT allowed to move on my own??
“I’m gunna need more bandages and some cream to put on him.” She started again, tugging the shirt from my pants. I started sweating, wishing I could say something to her. I know, I know. I’m shocked too, but how else do you explain the roaming hands and whispering in my ear…touching my face and stomach. Ah yes, pure heaven. The only thing that had gone wrong at all was that for some reason I was not allowed to move. And damn the luck, she was CLOSE! Her breath wafted over my face and chest, her fingers traced my jaw, and here I was unable to even move. Ya, go figure!
Pain explodes in my side and I grunt, still unable to really move. She smiles up at me mischievously and touches the spot again, this time as if this were some sort of S & M flick. I groaned again, breathing heaving
“Careful, he’s never gunna get better if you keep making it worse!” She whispered quietly and threw her arms around my neck. That perfect body against me was making me break out in the shivers as she whispers in my ear. “I just hope he doesn’t make noise and wake up the parents,”
She takes me into her arms, leans my head against her neck and whispers again, something I can’t quite make out, though I’m sure it has to be something horrifically sensual. Despite the close proximity, I can still hardly see her face. The curiosity was driving me insane, especially after her VERY personal approaches. Yes, this is definitely heaven.
“Sorry, Tuxedo Mask.” She whispers, very close to my mouth now. Ok, maybe this was some sort of freakishly painful hell instead. It had to be, with that look on her face and me unable to act at all. She pushes a little harder as her mouth comes close to mine. I squeeze my eyes tight, never wanting that exquisite pain to end. “Goodnight, my handsome prince.” She whispers it once, and then disappears.
I groaned, trying to turn over, but unable to as my side explodes in pain. Both eyes blink open slowly, unsure exactly why my ceiling had taken on the look of rafters. And why had my window suddenly transported from my left to my right? It hardly seemed to matter as the aftermath of that dream made my logical mind fly completely out said window.
I had never seen her so close…and the feel of her… I groaned again, never wanted that sudden rush of desire to leave. She was so achingly perfect, just to have her draped across me like that was shear bliss. Shear bliss…
I glanced sideways, hand automatically going to my mask. Meatball Head? Since when did she… Something must have happened during the battle. Something terrible must had happened to the girls or they wouldn’t have left me in the hands of pure unadulterated chaos. The above-mentioned girl was asleep against the side of the mattress, an almost peaceful (ya, peaceful!) expression across her face.
I nearly yelped in shock, making sure the mask hadn’t been removed. If he knew the girl at all, she’d peaked! But then, why was she curled up next to the mattress? And why was there a plate of spaghetti sitting next to her. It was still steaming, so she couldn’t have been there long.
I reached, careful of my aching side to get it, but the blond had OBVIOUSLY set it just farther than I could manage. I grunted, straining as far as I could, but it was no use. All the moving around was waking the sleeping blond beside me. She blinked, yawning, before noticing that I was laying there, gasping for breath. A flush colored her cheeks as I rested my arm back against my side.
“Who are you?” I muttered dumbly, trying to act like I didn’t fight with her everyday of my life. She gulped, the blush darkening to crimson as she tried in vain to pull her eyes from my heaving chest. Inside, I grinned. Should have known the Meatball Head had a thing for Tuxie.
“I’m….uh…Serena.” She whispered, eyes still glued to my core and mouth drooping slightly. Finally letting that cocky grin show, I chuckled.
“Like what you see, blondie?” he smirked.
Mom decided to *let* me make dinner. I hate it when she does that. I decided on something simple: spaghetti. I wish Mina could have stayed.
“Absolutely not. It’s a school night and we’re leaving tomorrow. We have to prepare and you need to study,” mom had said.
I boiled water in a pot while I looked over mother’s raw noodle collection. She had boxes of the stuff! Where does she get all this? What is lenne? Who comes up with these names!?
I dumped a random box in the pot when a panic rushed to my stomach. What if someone saw Venus and Sailor Moon lug an unconscious Tuxedo Mask HERE!! Our identities would be ruined, the Negaverse could just kill any of our families at will! I immediately picked up the phone and dialed Ami’s house. Uh! Moon girl you are so stupid and selfish! She’s at Lita’s probably still unconscious!
“Hello?” Ami’s mother answered. Should I hang up? Did they even tell her mom where she was?
“Hi!… Is ….Ami …..there?” I asked hesitantly.
“No, she’s not. She’s not feeling well and decided to stay over at Lita’s for a few days.” Her mother responded. “She really didn’t sound good on the phone, maybe she should come home.” I could hear a buzzing noise in the background. “I’m sorry I have to go to the hospital. Maybe you should check on her for me?”
“Oh, I will Ma’am. Don’t worry about a thing. I’m sure Ami’s fine. She probably just had a little too much to eat. You know how Lita can cook!” I smiled reassuringly though she couldn’t see it.
“Thank you, dear. You’re probably right. Let me know if she needs anything,”
I hung up the phone quickly. Phew! That was close. I dialed Lita’s number as I stirred the noodles and opened a can of sauce.
“Hello?” came a demanding female voice.
“Rei? How is Ami?” I asked anxiously.
“We got her to wake up for a while, drink something, call her mom, you know. She’s sleeping now.”
“Good. No real damage?”
“A real big headache, but I think her Sailor Powers are taking care of it. She should but up and about in a few days,” Rei said. It was weird, that a paper monster could do this much damage. For a Sailor to be out-of-commission for a few days took a lot.
“Well at least she’s okay.” The microwave buzzed and I took out the Prego sauce.
“How’s lover boy?” Rei teased.
“A few cuts and some bruised ribs. He’s still out. He’s actually not going to be able to leave for a few weeks.” I said ignoring the tones in her voice.
“A few weeks? Are you just making that up? Or does he not have healing powers.”
“Oh he has healing powers, but that is the only reason he’ll be up in two weeks. Otherwise he’s be out for more than a month. You know how it goes.” I drained the noodles and put them on the table with the sauce. I held back an extra plate of noodles and sauce to give to sexy upstairs. I hid it in the laundry room cabinet for later.
“Well, try not to molest him and I’ll come by in a few days and see if any other healing magic will help.”
“Okay. You better bring some of Lita’s cookies,” I added tasting the salad dressing.
“IF you’re a good girl,” Rei teased and hung up.
“Dinner’s ready!” I yelled so Dad and Sammy would turn off the TV.
“Looks wonderful, dear,” Mom said as we sat down for grace.
I sneaked out of the laundry room after telling Mom I had a lot of homework. I heard the water running as Sammy and Dad did the dishes. Mom was reading a book. Something she always did right before she went to bed. Good! Now I just have to hope he doesn’t make a ruckus.
I climbed the stairs slowly trying to minimize the squeaks. As I opened the door, I knew he had barely moved. The blanket had fallen a little to reveal his perfect chest –sigh- again. His clean and bandaged chest was moving in an even fashion for someone with his wounds.
I walked over to him and turned on a dusty lamp.
“AHHH CHOOO!” I put my hand over my face. I looked down and was relieved to see he hadn’t woken. That was close. What was I gunna tell him when he woke up? Hi, I’m Serena. I’m Sailor Moon’s friend. She said you can’t leave and you have to kiss me! I giggled a bit, looking down again. He sleeps like a rock!
He is just so perfect! The dull light made his chest glow. “He shaves,” I nodded with approval. Hairy chests are gross.
His perfect skin made his wounds look all the worse. The bandage we had put on only an hour ago was already soaked in sweat! He must really be suffering! I looked around and saw an old blue mattress behind a Victorian mirror. I bet he’d be more comfortable on that. I tugged on it, trying to not break the mirror, when at least 3 boxes of Christmas ornaments and baby pictures fell on the floor with a loud THUB DU!
Great! Tuxie is gunna really fall for you, you klutz! I shoved the boxes in the corner. I’ll clean those up later. I tugged again on the mattress, watching above this time and hoping no more boxes were looming. I got all but the very last inch out when I remember the mirror. OH no! It was like slow motion watching the mirror get closer and closer to the floor. I put myself in it’s path. Oh please, no! I shut my eyes. CACHUNK!
It took me a few minutes to realize I had saved the mirror. I looked around and saw in my frantic effort to save the mirror I had let the mattress fall on some boxes that were holding up a shelf. NO! I put the mirror down and steadied the wobbling boxes.
“That’s right! Stupid boxes. Don’t you think about falling,” I’ll tell those boxes!
I finally lugged the mattress over to Tuxie, who despite the ruckus was still unconscious. I laid the double mattress out next to him. I looked back at the mirror on the floor and the boxes and their contents al over the floor. This wasn’t worth it! I looked at my watch and noticed it was already 9!
I pulled the pillow and blanket off him and hoped this wouldn’t turn into an awkward situation. “Hello handsome!” I couldn’t help but rub his uninjured chest. How could this guy not have a girlfriend! If he were mine, I would keep him forever! I went to the side and tried unsuccessfully to roll him onto the mattress. I pulled him one leg at a time onto the stupid thing, and then went to his arms. All the while, he was making funny noises; I was probably killing his ribs. When he was finally on the mattress, I was so tired.
I straightened his mask out of habit. I could just pick this up. The mask is so light! I do have a right to know –I am his rescuer. I thought about for a little longer and backed my hand away. Tuxie was my fantasy. If I took off this mask and found it to be someone I knew, someone I never expected, the magic would be ruined. Imagine taking off that mask and it being Melvin! I laughed at the thought. Yeah right!“I’m not going to get any homework done tonight. I’ll just wake up early and do it in the morning.” I yawned and looked at the peaceful man. I bet he won’t wake up for hours. As long as I’m here I could just you know lay down here. I put my head on his left shoulder. Wow that was so nice! I wish I could sleep like this every night!
I yawned again and wondered if I should leave him a note before I left for school tomorrow. Yeah right!
Dear Tuxie Tuxedo Mask,
You were injured in a battle. I’m taking care of you and if you could
just continue to remain helpless that would be really nice. Don’t wake
my parents or my dad will shoot you. Back soon.
Your secret bandager
“Maybe Later,” I snorted and closed my eyes, settling my cheek against his shoulder and wrapping one arm around him.
I stretched and yawned wondering why the bed was moving. Something moved and I quickly looked and saw the magnificent creature beside had awakened! Oh no! I was on his shoulder! I was sleeping beside him! I was.. I was… I blushed. What am I going to tell him? What….?
I stifled a smile quickly. He looks so cute after waking up! His hair was ruffled and his chest was slightly sweat soaked. It was at that moment that I realized that he was only wearing a pair of pants and an easily removable mask. I could grab it away before he’d know what had happened! Oh my gosh! Look at that chest, his body, I must be dreaming!
“Who are you?” he interrupted my thoughts.
I gulped. How embarrassing! Look at the face, face! Stupid eyes! I guess I can’t ever complain to guys who talk to your chest. He asked you a question dummy!
“I’m….uh…Serena.” I managed. Look at that. I bet he works out a lot! Every muscle on his glimmering chest was rippling. His beautiful, fully muscled arms were tense because he was holding himself up. His perfect abs and pectorals all strained trying to suck in oxygen. If I had known him better, I would have offered him mine. I have plenty of oxygen. Too much actually, let me help you!
I snapped to attention when he laughed, a stupid cocky grin that reminded me of that jerk Darien slapped all over his face. Trust a man to ruin the moment with pride and ego!
“Like what you see, blondie?”
“Uh…HUH!” I murmured. “I mean, NO! Eat your spaghetti!” I added quickly. OH man, I am just digging myself deeper!
He just laughed. “I can’t reach it,”
“Oh!” I leaned over that oh-so-perfect body supporting myself with a hand between his legs. “Here you go.” I handed him a plate of semi-hot spagetti, trying to ignore the brush of his hand against mine. “ I bet you’re hungry!”
“You have any utensils?” he asked, looking around.
“Umm…” I mentally kicked myself. “No, can’t you eat it with your hands?”
“You’re kidding?” He put up one big hand with an inch- thick white bandage around it, that had wrapped the thumb. Why did Mina do that?
He looked at me with those expectant blue eyes. “What do you want me to do? Feed you?” I asked haughtily.
He thought for a moment, (What I wouldn’t give for ESP!) and nodded.
I stared for a minute wide-eyed as he handed me the plate and laid back down. I can’t believe I’m doing to this! Rei would KILL me! “Remember, you asked,” I grabbed a few noodles in the red sauce and let them drip on his chest on route to his mouth. Might as well get some pleasure outta this! I followed the spaghetti all the way into his mouth as each drop plopped on his chest in just the right spot and the watery red immediately began to run toward his face, as if to join the spaghetti.
The drop ran down his sternum, and hit his neck rolling up a little and settling in a shallow spot on his neck. If you drool girl, you’re a shame to your sex. Are you jealous of a drop of spaghetti?
His mouth opened revealing his perfect teeth –must go to the dentist often. I dropped the spaghetti in his mouth and he shut it. A few noodles still hanging out. For a few seconds I wondered if I should shove those in his mouth, but thought better of it, grabbing another round of spaghetti. He opened, though he hadn’t finished the first batch.
“Eww!” I dropped the spaghetti in his mouth again. He chewed and sucked the spaghetti in. His mouth now saucy and wet. I went for more spaghetti murmuring to myself, “This isn’t going to get any better. Focus!”
He appeared not to hear and I didn’t notice anything. I just avoided eye contact and gave him the spaghetti.
“So, here’s the deal,” Suddenly afraid he’d demand to be taken home. “You-were-obviously-injured-in-a-fight-and-we-decided-to-help-you. You’re-ribs-are-bruised-and-you-have-lots-of-cuts-that-will-need-changed. So you’ll have to stay here awhile.” Another helping of spaghetti and a quick glance to know he’s listening.
“The catch is my parents,” I relaxed a bit. “They’re leaving for the summer but not until tomorrow after-noon.” I glanced at the small round window, still night.
Probably somewhere around 1 or 2 a.m. “You’ll have to be very quiet because I don’t have a good explanation for how Tuxedo Mask got in my attic.”
He grumbled something, “Nerwo. Phwa… woeiru…. Turhf”
“Yeah, okay.” I nodded and fed him more spaghetti not really wanting to hear whatever he said.
All too soon the plate was done. He looked pretty tired again and I knew it was pretty late. “Ask me questions tomorrow. I’ll leave you some breakfast in the morning. Just go to sleep now and I’ll come up first thing after school.”
Before he could say anything I got up and turned off the lamp, taking the plate with me. “And don’t forget my parents.”
He nodded and drifted off before I was out the door.
In the morning, I woke up; vaguely remembering my dream.
“Serena, honey, you’re late again!” mother called. “You don’t want to be late for your last day of school!”
I hopped out of bed immediately realizing I was wearing my school uniform. “It wasn’t a dream!” Tuxedo Mask really was in my attic!
I ran downstairs and grabbed a few waffles, some yogurt, and a knife. I laughed, not having to get dressed in the morning definitely saved time! I opened the door to the attic as Tuxie opened his eyes.
“Rise and Shine!”
“Here are some waffles.” I shoved one in his mouth and cut the bandages off one of his hands before gaving him the other. He still looked groggy. “I have to go. But I’ll be back at 3.” I ran for the door mentally counting down the seconds until I could get back to my attic.
“Wait! I have to go to the bathroom,” he said.
I stopped. We hadn’t thought about that. He couldn’t stand –and even if he could the toilet was downstairs where my parents were sitting around.
“Can’t you hold it until after school?” I pleaded. “The bathroom is all the way downstairs with my parents. And you can’t even stand!”
He sighed and nodded jamming another waffle in his mouth.
“Thanks,” I beamed. “We’ll figure it out as soon as I get home!”
With that I ran out the door, running towards school with yogurt in my hand. I hoped I didn’t bump into that jerk Darien today. He would know exactly what to do to ruin my perfect day!
It was late in the afternoon before I woke. Once again, the strange feeling of displacement came over me as light shone from the wrong direction. The blinds had been pulled somehow during the day, but for the most part I was concerned a sunburn was heading my way. That would absolutely destroy my caped super-hero visage.
I tried in vain to move, but once again the left side exploded in agony, leaving my slightly out of breath and exasperated. Why wasn’t I healing like I had before? Surely this wound wasn’t as bad as some others I’d gotten in the past. I shifted again on the mattress, wondering in the back of my mind WHY the girls had opted to take my shirt off to begin with. It looked like I wasn’t even bleeding or anything. Both eyes darkened, and then brightened. They were annoying, but I had to admit the attentions were nice.
So my next unanswered question, as always, is who is this mysterious girl that shows up in my dreams? And WHY did she practically glomp me the other day? It was strangely puzzling. Since she had never assumed such a forward stance, I can only assume it wasn’t actually her, but something else interfering with the dreamscape.
The realization hit like a bucket of cold water as I glanced down at my chest.
So THAT was it! Those girls undressing me and me dreaming of the princess… Her line about bandages and cream came back as my face flushed dark red. How could I have NOT put two and two together right on the spot! And to make matters worse, that MEATBALL HEAD forgetting to bring a fork or anything with her! I groaned, wanting to bash my head on a nice solid wall.
And what happened to my shirt and jacket? I glanced around the room, muttering darkly under my breath. Like hell if I was going to just lay here shirtless for the entire stay! Count on that blonde to go and run off like that. And to top it all off, I STILL had to go to the bathroom.
“GAH!!! Finals!” I nearly blacked out as the yell ripped from inside me. My chest hurt even as I said it, but dang it! FINALS! Of all the things to miss out on because of some stupid attack! I’d probably already missed one or two, depending on what time it was. Reaching into my sub-space pocket, I pulled out my cell phone carefully, glancing at the clock on it before groaning. I wanted so badly to break something.
“Two finals down the drain. I hope my GPA can stand up to that.” I scratched absently at my forehead, glancing around again. Suddenly, this attic appeared more as a dungeon than anything else. Despite the strangely lighted décor, the cutely labeled storage boxes and strange beeping noise, it was actually quite comfortable. Wait a sec, strange beeping noise? I glanced around, just waiting for some sort of explosion. Well it was Serena’s house! Never know when something –anything could go wrong when she was involved!
It didn’t hardly seem to matter as my eyes drooped tiredly.
“Doest thou hurt, Endymion?” A woman’s voice whispers at my side as I sit up casually. My hand touches her face, she kneels beside the bed and looks at me with unfathomable silver eyes. For some reason, I’m drawn to her, noting the concern in her voice and bending slightly to kiss her forehead. Something flashes in response, but it seems natural.
“Of course not, love. ‘Twould require a far heavier blow to kill me.” She smiles, blushing slightly in response. Something about her seems so familiar, and yet her face is hidden from me. It can’t be the girl herself, I’d never actually seen her before in my life. And yet…the presence is so comforting. Her smile is so sweet and innocent. I can’t help the impish grin that spread across my face at that moment.
“Worry not thyself, my princess, lest through thy vexing thy face become wrinkled and old.” An adorable pout was prominent now and she touched my knee. Something in me responded instantly and the pout turned simply evil.
“Oh do not trouble thyself ‘bout me, my prince. Thy concerns should attentively be placed on thyself, lest thy body be too wounded for the wedding night. I’d hate to have cause to regret…” I swept down, kissing her thoroughly and feeling something like the street as the parade goes by. Whoever this princess was, she was a DAMN good kisser!
“Nothing short of Hell itself or a sword through my chest could keep me from you THAT night, my love. I have a…responsibility to do, of course.” Despite the words, my voice was simply loaded with sensuality. I was rewarded with another deep blush and had to smile.
I sighed in annoyance as I overheard the ninth conversation of giggling girls whispering about the mysterious disappearance of the school’s biggest heartthrob, Darien Chiba, a big JERK. Though that creep usually made my life a misery each and every day with his perfect grades and better-than-thou attitude, he hadn’t show up once today. He even skipped finals. Everyone was talking about it, a few girls offered to go to his apartment and see what was the matter.
“I don’t care!” I told myself.
“Hey, Sere!” Ami called down the hallway.
“Hey Ames,” I said a little distracted.
“Listen, Rei is going to stop by to uh, help you out with those…wounds,” Ami smiled cryptically.
“Rei!” I said. “Are you sure you should be here?”
“Yeah, I’m not feeling so well,” Ami said. “Lucky these finals aren’t too hard.”
“Yeah, not too hard.” I said sarcastically. Ami had always had better marks than me and learning books had always come easier to her. Lucky Ami!
“Well, I’ll talk to you later!” She waved and walked down the hallway. I went back to my math room. Though I was headed for another C, all I could think about was what to do with Tuxie and the bathroom problem.
I walked down the street after school absent-mindedly. I’m sure if Darien had been around we would have collided, but he wasn’t. And despite our past fights, I couldn’t help but be worried about him.
One teacher, frustrated by the constant groups of guys and girls grabbing and ripping three copies of her last minute take home final, gave the document to the only person who hadn’t volunteered.
“Serena!” she had shouted a wisp of desperation in her voice. “Will you take this final to Darien?”
“Uhh…Me? I guess.” I had said, without thinking about poor Tuxie at home.
I had decided during the math final to ask Andrew to help. He was the only guy I could have trusted to help me with this. I walked into the arcade and the bell chimed.
“Andrew?” I walked up to the counter. The blonde stood wiping dishes with a clean rag.
“What can I do you for?” he asked without looking up.
“I need a BIG favor,” I told him.
He finally looked up, questions sparkled in his eyes. I could totally see why Lita and Mina had a crush on him. “Really? What?”
How was I going to explain this? “Well, can we talk in the back?” He looked confused but took me in the back.
“You DO know I already have a girlfriend,” he started.
“YES I ALREADY KNOW THAT!!!!” I haven’t been that insulted since the last Darien fight. “You…. JERK!!!” What did he think I was going to do?? Seduce him? And if he did why did he take me in the back anyway? “Listen, I have an-incapacitated-Tuxedo-Mask-in-my-attic-and-he-has-to-go-to- the-bathroom.” I rambled. His eyebrow went up.
“You do?” he thought a minute. “That explains a few things at school today…..” he trailed off.
“Well, then. I would recommend you get home immediately. The poor guy is probably ready to burst!” Andrew smiled.
My face fell, “So you’re not going to help me? ANNNNDREEEEEW!!”
“I have an arcade to run. I can’t be dallying off with somebody just cuz they have Tuxedo Mask in their attic.” Andrew said, obviously trying to hide a smile.
“But…!” My brain panicked. How was I going to help him?
“Go,” Andrew pointed. “I’m sure he needs you.”
He pushed me out the door in front of all his customers. I couldn’t believe it! Why didn’t Andrew want to help? How could he!! I stomped home, forgetting to ask about the take-home final I was supposed to drop off at Darien’s Apartment.
When I got home I ran to the attic as fast as I could, throwing my backpack and the Darien’s take-home final in the corner. Imagining Tuxie in extreme pain.
I found Tuxie asleep, a cell phone on the floor and him smiling presumptuously. What was HE thinking about? Wait! a cell phone? Did he call anyone? What if they come over and take him away? I panicked again.
I snatched up the cell phone. I will have to give this to Mina, so she can keep it along with Tuxie’s shirt. With that thought I smiled. I put the cell phone in my backpack and looked down at the final with horror. Oh NO! I was supposed to ask Andrew where Darien lived! With one glance back at Tuxie, who was moaning and smiling, I decided it could wait.
I sat on the ground and took a big sigh of relief, trying to let my heart go back to normal. Tuxie’s face was immaculate, his breathing rhythmic. I blushed red as I remembered the warm, smooth skin under my cheek when I slept on his shoulder. Or the safety and the de ja voo that it brought.
I stroked his skin and he moaned. He sure does a lot of moaning! Then I decided if I wanted to stare at him I’d need a legitimate excuse. New bandages! I smiled and took the new bandages Mina had given me in third period. I pulled them out of my pack and started working on a few of the smaller patches on his shoulder.
Back to bandaging. I started pulling on the tape and replacing them with new bandages. I was very happy with his progress. Most of the small wounds would be totally healed by tomorrow. He would probably be able to move about soon. My stomach sunk. I hope he didn’t insist on leaving. Soon I was done with all but the ribs. I was trying to figure out how to get the old bandage off when he opened his eyes and looked at me.
“What is going on?” he asked.
“I…I was changing your bandages. I’m glad you’re awake. I was trying to figure out how to get to this bandage on,” I said. “Can you sit up a little?”
He sat up groggily with some help and let me pull off his sweat soaked bandages. He leaned against my shoulder. I tried to be as careful as I could but I could hear little grunts of pain. I tried to ignore the fact the hot grunts filled my ear with thoughts I didn’t want. Now is not the time for this!
When I had the ribs re-bandaged, I helped him to lie down. Though now he was more awake and able to do it himself. “It’s getting better, you’ll be able to move around a little tomorrow with Rei’s help.”
“Rei?” he gasped.
I looked sharply at him. “You know her then?” I felt a slight twinge of jealousy. “Lucky Rei.”
He looked for a moment with wide eyes. “Yeah,” he said distastefully.
“So.” I said, trying to change the subject.
“I still need to go to the bathroom,” he said almost immediately.
“I ..uh… ran into some problems with that see… I still haven’t solved that one,” I told him.
“But I REALLY have to go,” he pleaded. “I can mostly support myself. I think. Maybe if you helped me in there I could go myself.”
I looked at him and saw how bad he needed to go. It wasn’t really fair not the let the hottest Hero of Tokyo take a leak. “Okay,”
I put his arm around my neck and supported his weight. I tried to pretend I was struggling, but my sailor powers were really helping me half drag this grown man into my bathroom. When we got to the bathroom, I helped him arrange his feet so he was facing the toilet while supporting him around the waist. “Okay put your hands on the wall and I’ll let go,”
“Okay.” He grunted putting his hands on the wall. He sounded like he was in a lot of pain.
“Alright,” I steadied him. “Here we go.” I let go and before I could stop it Tuxie’s knees collapsed and his head nearly went into the toilet.
“Tuxie! Are you okay?” I grabbed his chin and pulled it out of the toilet. I turned tomato red! “I am so, so sorry!”
Quickly he pulled his chin out from my hands and straightened his mask. I hadn’t realized it had fallen off. My brain turned off for a second. I could have discovered him I could have seen his face! Then I could stalk him down and marry him later!
“Bad, Serena Bad,” I murmured. Don’t think about things like that! You stalker you! But honestly I could hardly help it. Look at him just being so perfectly helpless on the bathroom floor!
“Here let me help you up,” Again I wrapped my hand around his waist and hauled him up. He grunted and put one hand on the counter and one hand on the wall. He spread his feet a little more to support himself.
“Try it again,” he muttered sounding a little angry. I let go again this time ready to catch him at a moment’s notice. And of course, he slid down almost doing the splits. In order to grab him before he fell, I put my finger in a belt loop and grabbed one of his legs. RRRIPPPP. The pant loop ripped off his pants entirely while I had him by the leg, causing him to fall back into me. I hit my head on the opposite wall and he fell on top of me. This was just not my day.
“Wow, you guys are really going at it,” Rei said from the doorway.
“I just need to pee,” Tuxedo came with a grumble and Rei laughed.
“Rei!! Get him OFFFF me!” I whined. He was so heavy! Tuxie rolled and allowed Rei to help him up.
“Oh my GOSH!” Rei yelled seeing Tuxie’s pants in shreds.
“What?” he said a bit alarmed and leaning on the girl.
“uh… I just….Well your pants,” Rei said pointing at his pants with one big whole in the waste band. She smothered that smile of hers. A spot of green sailor moon boxers showed through.
“Nice boxers!” Rei laughed.
“Can this get any more embarrassing?” I cried, trying to avert my eyes from the mess that was Tuxie’s pants.
“Yes,” Rei answered simply. “We’re going to have to hold him up while he pees.”
“WHAT?” I asked. I couldn’t fathom it. Be IN the room as Tuxedo Mask pees! I don’t THINK so. “Absolutely NOT!”
“Why not? You could just look the other way?” Rei said. “We could even blindfold you.”
“Why don’t you do it?” I came back.
“Girls, please, this is starting to get painful!” Tuxie begged.
“Fine, I will!” Rei said, pulling Tuxie over to the toilet and propping him up so he leaned on her. He was holding himself up via wall and counter.
“This is nice and all but I can’t hold myself up and pee at the same time,” Darien said. “Serena, I’m sorry but I think you’re going to have to help.”
“What! This is some fine print!” I said.
“Please! You can’t heal all my wounds, let me sleep, and then kill me by not letting me pee,” Tuxedo Mask reasoned.
“Fine,” I said. I walked up and put my shoulder against his back. “Go.”
“Don’t look girls.” He laughed.
“Don’t worry, I won’t,” I said.
“Rei?” he said expectantly.
“I won’t either,” Rei said grumpily. I buried my head in his bare back and concentrated on holding his waist, while Rei kept both hands on his shoulder blades and a foot make sure he doesn’t do the splits. I heard the tinkling of water and tried not to imagine anything.
“I can’t believe this is happening!” I muttered.
“Stop complaining! This is embarrassing for the rest of us, too you know!” Rei yelled.
“Geez, you two,” Tuxie said. “Kill me why don’t you?”
Apparently we had been squeezing his ribs as we fought. “Sorry,” I muttered.
After he was done, we hauled him away from the toilet.
“Wow, this is harder than I thought,” Rei wiped her forehead resting Tuxie against the counter so he could wash his hands.
“I’m still trying to get over what we just did!” I murmured.
Tuxie leaned over and turned on the water, momentarily glancing up.
“By the way Serena. Where is my shirt?”
“Speaking of your shirt, what are we going to do about your pants?” I asked without thinking. Nice Serena, nice. Way to answer the man.
“Well, Sammy is too young and your dad could be too short,” Rei said.
“We could try it,” I said. “He really needs something.” Or I’m going to be too distracted! If not I have some really stretchy sweatpants… or a skirt…I tried not to laugh as the thought of Tuxie in a skirt came to mind.
“He is really heavy,” Rei pretended to pant. “Why don’t we get the clothes then bring some down for him to try
I muttered something dark under my breath for what had to be the thirtieth time today. These girls caring for a wounded man was like sending a flock of seagulls to perform surgery. My ribs ached where both of them had gripped too hard, sending shockwaves of pain through me as I stood between them. We turned toward the living room. The girls were still screeched at each other like old fishwives.
“Oh great, yeah, good idea Rei! Why don’t we just bring him down something too small and then HAVE to help him get into it?” The Meatball Head strikes again. I shook my head, trying hard to suppress the laughter. This was so bad! As if my whole day hadn’t been terrible enough then, now I was stuck here with the ditz –the very chaos I’d been muttering rather darkly about since we met a few months ago.
“Do you have a BETTER idea, Meatball Brains?” Rei screeched back almost casually. I nearly winced at how loud her casualty had been. My head hurt. And in all honestly, I really wanted to go back to that dream where the girl had touched my knee so softly, concerned. How ironic to find yourself awake now with two people so busy fighting, they honestly didn’t CARE that the hero of all Tokyo was sitting on the couch staring at them in blatant confusion.
“As a matter of fact, I DO!” She yelled back, twirling a lock of blond hair on her fingers in distraction as she thought. Now this, I HAD to see. Honestly, the day that airhead came up with anything more than finding the easiest way to get comic books was the day I’d run around Tokyo as a ballerina. “He’s Tuxedo Mask, he’s GOT to have an alter ego of some kind like w-the sailors do, right?! He could just de-transform, grab THOSE clothes, transform again and put them on again!” I think my jaw just dug out a basement.
Judging from Rei’s somewhat flabbergasted expression, she obviously hadn’t thought of it either!
“Are you honestly suggesting that I de-transform myself in front of two Junior High kids, then go through that all AGAIN just to get some pants?” She turned bright red, hands going to her face at the thought. Even Rei turned a light shade of pink –probably never thinking I would put two and two together just to see all she wanted was my secret identity.
“No! No, no, no! I didn’t mean in front of us or anything, we’ll leave for a little while and you can do it then.” I nearly smiled acid sweetly at her, but kept myself in check. Rei also nodded, but the blush remained as Serena grabbed her arm and hauled her from the room. I shook my head, almost wanting to laugh again.
“Why me? Of course the little blond had no idea that the suite was self-generating and that one trip back and forth would set me up with a pristine five-piece. Of course, that was expected since I was sure she hardly knew much about the Sailors. Why exactly HAD they brought me here anyway? Understandably, her family was out of town and all of that, but WHY Meatball Head? Of all the people in Juuban that could possibly be trustworthy, why her?
It was there. The inspiration and thought was just beyond my grasp and I didn’t care anymore. Instead, I powered down, nearly blacking out in the process.
Without the extra power from Tuxedo Mask, I was much weaker than before. I’d have to watch that, if I left too early, I’d still be lying somewhere in massive pain without anyone to take care of me. Call it a self-preservation mechanism, but I was suddenly VERY attached to the idea of staying here and making that little blonde girl wait on me hand and foot.
Transforming again once my vision had cleared, I breathed a little, leaning forward. It hurt like hell, but once sitting up, I took a moment to pant, then called out to the girls in the next room.
“Hey Meatball Brain! Can I get some food AND a utensil this time, please?” I heard her gasp, then the startled shriek of Rei before she came stomping out, face red.
“Don’t call me that, TUXIE! At least MY name isn’t a physical description!” I laughed, lowering my head in pain.
“Boy if that isn’t an understatement, I’ve never heard one. I’d just hate for you to forget to clean me up before leaving one of these times.” Rei’s eyebrow shot up, but she didn’t say anything as Serena turned a quite brilliant shade of electric red. I couldn’t be sure if it was embarrassment or anger, though.
I was actually rather proud of her right then. Instead of screaming or yelling…or even saying ANYTHING, she simply turned toward the kitchen and disappeared for a few moments before coming back with a full plate of spaghetti. I fell back against the couch in exhaustion. FINALLY I can have a good meal to myself, and one that I didn’t have to choke on.
“Bon appetite!” I could have SWORN her tone was somewhat mocking as she set the plate beside me, then grabbed Rei and quickly exited the building. I glanced at it quietly, wondering if she’d poison her favorite masked man over a little nickname.
“She couldn’t, could she?” Little Meatball Head could be quite the spitfire when she put her mind to it. I hardly put it past her if I was still Darien instead of Tuxie, but now I wasn’t sure. The mask made you immune, right? Or maybe it was the cloak…
Either way, there was a large plate of pasta staring at me curiously, perhaps wondering which of us would make the first move. Serena had made it, so I was kinda wondering too… I reached forward and touched it, shocked at how cold it was. Then, lifting it from the couch, I chuckled darkly and tilted the whole thing sideways. Even the fork seemed to be frozen to the plate.
A second later, the whole freezing mound fell into my lap. Too shocked to really say anything, I just stared. It was COLD! And in my LAP! Something akin to a growl began building in the back of my throat, but instead of giving it a voice, I just began shoveling the frozen mass back onto the plate balefully. Damn that little brat! Now I was gunna have to go through another round of transforming to make it look like nothing happened.
The door was thrown open and Serena came crashing through, laughing so hard I thought her whole body would spontaneously rupture from within. My face darkened considerably and I began to rise from the chair as the blonde yelped and shot off through the house. As if I could actually chase after the girl in my current condition. It took all my strength to even RISE, let alone take steps! My legs were incredibly weak for some reason –I couldn’t put a finger on it though I was planning on being a doctor.
It wasn’t long till she came back –but this time it was with a camera! A few flashes later and I was up and trying to walk as she yelped yet again and ran for cover. Inside, I was caught between ripping that pretty little head from her shoulders and rolling on the ground laughing. But she was CUTE when she was scared! Limply, I just tumbled back onto the couch, an arm over my face in utter frustration.
“Serena, I need more sleep before we start fighting, k?” The tone had sounded pathetic, even to ME!! But the blond was already on her way back to the living room, all mirth gone from her figure as she bit her lip.
“Sorry, Tuxie! I was just so mad… Never mind. Come on, I’ll help you back to the attic.”
“Just right here’s fine.” I muttered, but she set me down softly anyway. It was almost cute, had it been for anyone other than a masked superhero, that she was so kind. She leaned over me, helping me out of the jacket and vest with all the precision of a practicing nurse. I almost stared at her before reining myself in. I didn’t know her as Tuxedo Mask. In fact, I was shocked that she’d been that…forward?
I reached up, touching her soft hair for a moment. Something in me had always wondered what it must have felt like, and now that I was free to I was taking advantage of it. The long locks were soft and silky, trailing through my fingers almost aimlessly as she watched. There was a deep blush painted across her face as I did so. Instead of pulling away like I probably should, I reached up with the other hand to burry that in the other pigtail as well. She stifled a gasp as I reached behind her head. She was forced to lean in close, as if I was going to tell her a secret.
Instead, I just dropped both hands rather callously and turned over, pulling the blanket up to my shoulders and ignoring her. She was frozen on the other side of me for a moment before getting up to leave. It seemed to me that her soft footsteps on the wood were…dejected? I just smiled to myself as the attic door closed.
“Three…two…one.” I muttered under my breath before a screech was heard coming from downstairs. Ah yes, the knot I’d left those two pigtails in would take QUITE some work to get out. Served her right for making me spill spaghetti all over myself. Little brat…
“Bring me the Silver Crystal…” She whispers through the mist at me, making me want to scream in rage. HOW was I supposed to find a gem that apparently didn’t exist? But instead of answering my mental question, it felt like she slugged me in the gut –and then began to cuss rather fluently.
I snapped awake in shock. Wasn’t she a PRINCESS?? Did she even know HOW to cuss? I glanced blearily around the room, but there was nothing there. The cussing had ceased the moment after I woke, but now I was beginning to wonder if it really HAD been the dream. A short creaking sound later and Serena peaked up from the floor across the room. I nearly laughed. Here I was, thinking I had lost my mind, and it was just her.
“Jeez, Meatball Head. You hang out with sailors on the weekends or something to get a mouth like that?” I leered, trying to go back to sleep.
“Sailors?!?!” I asked quietly. He couldn’t know, could he? Panic exploded in my stomach. I hated that feeling. Well if he did know, he wasn’t doing anything about it. I shut the door and reflected on the day. I couldn’t believe what a… a.. JERK… Tuxedo Mask, the hero of Tokyo, turned out to be! I shook my head in disgust and walked back to my room. He was starting to remind me of someone…
I was greeted by cold, angry eyes.
“What is going on here? I’ve only been gone a few days!” Luna sputtered. I was surprised to see her back so soon.
“A few days at Mission Control, and already you have Tuxedo Mask in our ATTIC right next to MY communicator!!!! Now HOW am I supposed to contact mission control for you girls?? And what are you doing with HIM in your attic?? How did he get there and WHY??” Luna lectured. I had never seen her so upset. “I jumped through the window and next thing I know I am on top of some masked HERO, with unclarified allegiances.”
“Luna! On TOP of him?” I giggled. “You bad girl.”
“Serena this is SERIOUS! We might be harboring the enemy!”
“Luna, calm down. It’s not that bad. If he was the enemy, than he would have attacked already. Besides,” I smiled in the memory, “we took off his shirt and have been through his pockets. He doesn’t have any weapons….”
I blinked in surprise. “Luna, are you okay?”
“NO I am NOT okay. I come home with some really important scout news, only to find out there’s an unknown VILLAIN in our attic so we can’t talk to Mission Control from home anymore!”
“Luna. He’s NOT a villain!” I insisted. Even if he was a jerk. “What important news?”
“What? Oh. It appears the Negaverse has a device for locating the princess, and they discovered that she was at the battle with the Origami monster.” Luna regained her composure, but still looked worried.
“The Princess? She was there?”
“Apparently so,” Luna said. “But we have a man in our attic.”
“Oh, Luna don’t worry. He’s not an enemy, though he may be a rotten JERK. First he finds another SHIRT after Mina and I went through so much trouble to hide it and then he tangles my…”
“He was NAKED?” Luna looked horrified.
“NO! But that would have been nice,” I muttered feeling somewhat dejected. Didn’t Luna have any faith in us? In me?
“What are we going to do with him? How did he get here? You have some explaining to do!”
I sighed and told Luna the whole story about the monster battle, Ami, and the injuries. “We didn’t see anyone unfamiliar at the battle except for the civilians Mina saved.” I pondered it. The princess must have been in that crowd! I would call a Scout meeting tomorrow and see what everyone thought of this. The princess! I couldn’t believe we might actually find her! I decided to keep the bathroom details out of my story. It’s better if she doesn’t know everything, for my ear drum’s sake.
After I was finished, Luna sighed and let me on the bed.
“Well, it still sounds suspicious but I guess we can deal with it tomorrow.” Luna yawned as I rested my head on the pillow. “But don’t think you’ve gotten out of anything!”
“Okay Luna…tomorrow,” I shut my eyes and drifted off to Tuxie land… I mean dream land. Dream land.
I woke up to something clawing my face.
“Not happening!” I moaned and rolled over.
“meOW!” Luna screamed as I rolled onto her head. She jumped and dug her claws into my face. “Watch it, Serena!”
“Sorry,” I murmured now unfortunately awake. Stupid cats! I yawned and crawled out of bed in my pink bunny pajamas. “Now that I was so rudely interrupted, I’m going back to sleep!”
“Oh no you’re not! I’m going to go call the scouts meeting. I’ll be back in two hours. You go distract that boy…. And don’t let him touch you!” Luna added bounding out the window and down the street.
I pouted up the stairs. Why did I always have to be the one to do the distracting? I yawned as I squeaked open the door. Tuxie was curled up in a ball on the mattress. HAHA… Tuxie nests!! I kneeled down beside him. De ja voo! I thought about crawling into his arms again and going back to sleep until he rustled a little. I became acutely aware I was in my pajamas without a bra or makeup and still tangled hair. My eyes narrowed in anger at the thought of the hair. How to get him back…? My left shin starting feeling uncomfortable and distracting me. I moved my leg and noticed a sharpie that must have rolled out of my pack (which was still in the corner).
I picked it up, saw his peaceful, innocent, unsuspecting face, and grinned evilly. I opened the cap and started drawing hesitantly at first, to see if he would wake, then harder as I realized he was deep in dreamland.
As I was drawing around his lips, he mumbled something and grabbed me about the waist. Uh… awkward!!! But I let that feeling drop, the sense of revenge was too well established. I finished up and closed the cap, hiding the sharpie under the mattress.
I laughed in relief as I admired my handiwork and traced it over his face. Tuxie mumbled again and hauled me to his chest, pushing my head against him. His heart was very loud! I struggled a little, but he refused to let me go. I was almost out of the maze of his arms when he cried softly, “Sailor Moon, come back to me!”
Next thing I knew my thumb was on my lip and my head was pressed against his again. Curse these melting muscles. Why did he have to be so hot?? I eventually relaxed realizing that he wasn’t going to let go anytime soon. I breathed in the musk that haunted me after every battle. How I loved it! I wish I never had to leave. When it hit me that I was in the arms of his Royal Hotness!!! Rei was going to be so jealous! His heartbeat, a bit irregular, lulled me to sleep.
I woke up with Tuxedo coughing frantically and trying to move away from me.
“Whaa?” I looked at him.
“What are you trying to KILL me,” he looked at me seriously and I tried very hard not to laugh at the sharpie all over his very serious face.
“What do you *he* mean?” I straightened my lips out.
“I almost drowned in your hair!! Why… are you sleeping with ME??” he demanded.
“I wouldn’t have if you would have let me go!” I replied angrily. Sorry I wasn’t as perfect as Sailor Moo… Wait a minute! What is his issue!
“Listen Meatball Head,”
“MEATBALL HEAD?? WHY DOES EVERYONE CALL ME MEATBALL HEAD??” I raged!!!!
“Calm down, I think it’s a cute nickname,” Tuxie looked a little worried.
“Sorry,” he murmured and looked away a bit confused.
I calmed down a little and felt kinda guilty. I didn’t mean to explode. “Listen, I’m sorry. There’s this jerk, Darien, who calls me that all the time. Sometimes just to get me angry. You just reminded me of him for a minute,”
“Darien, huh?” he looked up. “Tell me a little about him.”
“Well he’s a jerk, for one. Always kicking me when I’m down.”
“It doesn’t sound like you give him any easier of a time,” Pulling his finger out of his ear. “So he’s one of those freckled red-head kids, huh?”
“I wish! That would make it so much easier to hate him,”
“So you don’t hate him?” he raised a brow.
“No, he’s freakin’ HOT!”
“Really?” he said with a note of surprise.
“Yeah, but he’s a big jerk. Very arrogant and selfish. All he ever does is torture the girls who like him!”
“You like him?”
“Well, not really. You should know, you’re friends with Rei….” I trailed off.
He looked surprised again. “Only barely.” He murmured.
“I’m jealous, I wish I knew you,” I blurted before covering my own mouth in shock.
He laughed, “Take a number,”
“Well at least I know what a PIG you really are!” I shouted. “You don’t deserve Sailor Moon.”
“WHAT?” he shouted back.
“Everyone knows you have a THING for her,”
“Well… that miniskirt is kinda great,” he rubbed the back of his neck. “But she is pretty klutzy.”
“Well, you would know how awesome she is if you ever showed up for battle ON TIME!” I shouted.
“How would YOU know that?”
“She tells me!” I said. “I have friends in high places.”
“Oh well aren’t you just sooo much cooler than me,”
“At least I know her first name!”
He looked shocked and dejected. Then put his arms around my neck, “TELL ME!!!”
“Not unless you take off you’re mask,” I choked out.
“Out of the question,” He said.
“I could’ve taken it off any moment I pleased when you were unconscious,” I retorted haughtily.
“But you didn’t,” he brought up questioningly.
“No,” I said. “Maybe we should watch a movie, now.”
He was silent for a moment, pondering something. Then nodded.
“You ever seen Phantom of the Opera?” I asked.
“Isn’t that a girly movie?”
“It’s a classic,” I said. “Let’s go!” I pulled up his arm. He went downstairs without a struggle though he did seem a bit distracted and it was a pain to get him downstairs. I set him on the couch and went to the kitchen. I started a bag of popcorn in the microwave and went upstairs.
“I’ll be right back,” I said. When I got my room I raided my stash to DVD’s and pulled out Phantom. I went to the mirror and pulled a brush, as painful as it was, through my hair. At least I looked a little better. I put my hair up in the usual hairstyle and went back downstairs. “Got it,”
I put the DVD in and pushed play. I sat down on the other end of the couch. “This is my favorite!”
“Oh good.” He said.
As the movie went by I noticed Tuxie trying harder and harder to look like he wasn’t interested in the movie.
“Isn’t the singing beautiful?”
“You know, she was only 16 when she made this movie,”
“Really?” he sounded uninterested.
I didn’t answer. When Gerry Butler made his first appearance in the mirror singing ‘Angel of Music,’ I squirmed around. “OH! Oh!”
“What’s wrong?” he questioned.
“He’s SOOOOO HOT!!!!!!” I squealed. “Come on, you can’t tell me he isn’t GORGEOUS!”
Something in me squirmed a little jealously at her attentions. Honestly, I was beginning to think it was the mask that got the girls. Case in point, myself. I could have sworn little Serena had a crush not 2 days ago, and now look at her. Staring at the TV at some fake actor while he led Christine down a candle lit corridor.
I had to admit, though it was a girl movie, there was something strangely…beautiful about the story. It was obvious SHE was enjoying it -a little too much in fact. Something very akin to jealousy was stirring in me as she continued to rant and squirm in the seat next to me. I suddenly wanted to MURDUR the guy for even catching her eye.
What in the heck am I thinking? This was Meatball Head of all people! Sheer chaos! There was no way I was actually jealous of her liking some guy in a movie. I wasn’t some adolescent teen. And she wasn’t…attractive. I gulped quietly and turned my eyes back to the screen that they’d somehow strayed from as I thought. Trying my hardest to ignore the blonde next to me, I watched as the blatantly sexual Phantom tried his hardest to seduce Christine with music.
I was hardly a music lover, but the aching loneliness that the Phantom portrayed hit something a little too hard. After all, I knew almost exactly how he felt, living alone and hiding behind a mask to protect himself from the outside world. All he ever wanted was the one woman who could fulfill him, much like me. It was a little too ironic to overlook.
“Would you mind getting me a drink?” I muttered quietly, wanting her to pause the movie while she left. She glanced up at me with those big blue eyes, filled with some strange emotion I couldn’t quite place before nodding slowly.
“Anything in particular?” She stood and looked down on me quietly and I shrugged.
“Just a water, please.” The TV still glowed as she walked out and I wanted to scream. I hated this movie. The Phantom had lain Christine down so tenderly, touching her face and singing in her ear. Now that made me jealous. Here I was, a masked super hero with TWO girls on the mind and not able to even hold a conversation with one of them. A glass was handed to me as her weight settled onto the couch. “How can you stand this movie?” I asked irritatedly. She gasped.
“WHAT?? How can you hate Phantom!? It’s the most unbelievably romantic, exciting movie EVER!! Just wait until the sword fight, you’ll like that at least!” I sat back, still gnawing on my earlier thoughts.
“No, I mean seriously. What is so great about this?” I took a sip of water as the two managers had a musical duel in the lobby of the opera house. Meatball Head turned to look up at me through dark lashes, causing my heart to quiver a little. Something in that look hit me harder than the movie, and was so familiar it nearly brought tears to my eyes. She opened her mouth to speak and I was eternally grateful that I still wore the mask. If she had seen me then, my eyes would have told far too much.
“It’s every girl’s dream. To have some gorgeous guy watch over you, guide you and care for you. To sing in your ear and hold you like there’s no one else in the world. To swear undying love and devotion and fight for the chance to be near you. He shares his soul with her from the very beginning and they bond on a level that can’t even really be described.”
Once again, I found myself staring at the young girl as if I’d never seen her before. She had sounded so mature and sweet. I turned back to the movie in thought. It wasn’t like Serena to be so serious about something. In fact, it was disturbing to say the least. I had to get her mind off the subject.
“So…you think Gerry Butler’s hot?” She glanced up and nodded vigorously.
“Hell yes! Look at those eyes! DAMN!” I laughed, trying my hardest to sound casual as I leaned down next to her.
“But look at him! He lives in a sewer like the Ninja Turtles and his face is probably screwed up under that mask.” She glared and stuck her tongue out at me before turning back to the show loftily.
“You wouldn’t understand, grumpy-pants! Besides, maybe he’s your long lost twin!” She was taunting me now and I rolled my eyes.
“If he was, I’d be able to sing, Meatball.” I paused when she didn’t respond. “What us masked guys wouldn’t do for those killer eyes and charming smiles.” A faint blush rose up on her face and I leaned in close, setting an arm around her tiny shoulders. “Big strong arms and soft words, huh Serena? Just waiting to melt your heart like a piece of soft chocolate.” Ok, I was a LOT closer than I had originally thought. But I could see her squirm a little and look up at me with that cute little blush.
“Um, ya. I guess.” She whispered, looking up at me, her lips where SO close. If I didn’t back off IMMEDIATELY, this girl would get kissed. Somehow in the last few days, a certain attraction had built between us, and I didn’t know why. Deep down I think I was in love with the princess, but then I definitely liked Sailor Moon too. And now this. Oh great, like my life wasn’t messed up enough.
“Yeah, well. Don’t count too much on that.” I sat up again, almost aching to simply tackle her. But I ignored the urge and turned back to see Christine get knocked down by the Phantom. His mask was off. Something in me froze at the sight. That look of absolute horror and pain, would Serena have that same look if she saw me without mine? For some reason, the very thought of her finding out before I was ready for her seemed horrific. And perhaps far worse was that I really wanted her to know who I was. Maybe when I got out of here, I’ll spend more time around a certain little blond girl.
“I’m tired. Sorry.” I whispered. She nodded.
“Come on, I’ll help you back up to bed.” She stood and glanced out the window before doing a double take. Her mouth set in a thin line and she nodded before looking down at me and offering her hand. Say what you like, but I was fairly sure that right outside the window was the Sailor team.
Yes, the Sailor Scouts were downstairs, and Serena was meeting with them. As if she were somehow part of the team. I wonder how many other people she’s taken care of since the attacks started happening. Couldn’t help but be a little angry at the thought of Serena sharing a romantic movie with anyone else, no matter how cheesy. Of course, I’d have to watch the rest of it now, the Phantom and I were far too much alike for me to not watch the ending. And damn if he didn’t get the girl!
I pulled my cane from the sub-space pocket before lifting myself rather painfully from the bed and heading toward the stairs as quietly as possible. The girls were privy to far more information than I was, and I wasn’t above sneaking in to listen to it since there was no other way of getting it.
I had mentally kicked myself for letting him see that look on my face. I bet he knew something was going on. DARN IT!
I opened the door and motioned for everyone to come in, putting my finger to my lips. Silence! I wished for ESP. I lead them all into the laundry room and turned on our rickety old dryer.
Mina leapt and sat on the washer, while Lita leaned against the wall. I shut the door and Ami sat on the floor, still a little weak. Luna jumped to the top of the rumbling dryer and took her stance of authority. Rei was pouting in the corner. Artemis curled up in Mina’s lap.
“So what’s going on?” Lita demanded looking at Serena.
“Go ahead,” I nodded to Luna. She knew better than me.
“I’ve spent long hours communicating with Mission Control and we’ve confirmed it,” she paused. “The Dark Kingdom has determined that the Princess was AT the battle with the origami monster.”
“THE PRINCESS WAS THERE?” Rei blurted loudly.
“How could that be?” Mina came.
“This is REALLY bad,” Lita said.
“How do they know?” Ami asked.
“That is the right question, Mercury. The Dark Kingdom has developed a device that senses when the royal moon energy is being tapped into.” Luna said.
“But what about Sailor Moon’s power?” Artemis asked.
“Well we don’t think that Sailor Moon actually uses the ROYAL power. And if she does, she doesn’t use as much as the Princess does. And according the Dark Kingdom device, she WAS there. Apparently She generated more power than any of you scouts, COMBINED.”
“Wow that’s a lot!” Lita said.
“But she didn’t do anything to the monster, did she?” Mina looked at the girls. They shook their heads. “I thought it was Sailor Moon that wasted the monster.”
“I saw it that way, too.” Lita said.
“Maybe the Princess hit the monster at the same time that Moon’s power did and that’s why it was such a big explosion.” Rei suggested.
“What? No way!” I said. “WHY do you ALWAYS doubt, MARS?”
“That’s what I thought.” Luna came. “But thanks to Tuxedo Mask in Serena’s attic I can’t contact Mission Control.”
“What ARE we going to do with Tuxedo Mask?” someone asked.
“We’ll get to that in a minute.” Luna said. “We need to discuss the problem or possibility of the Dark Kingdom finding the Princess before we do.”
“We can’t let that happen!” Lita said.
“Venus, didn’t you rescue the civilians in danger? Did you see anyone particular?” I asked. Everyone looked shocked for a moment, but they had slowly gotten used to my intelligent moments every ONCE in awhile. They always teased me about it.
“Well, I barely remember.” She closed her eyes. “There were a few women we could probably check out. If they appear in public again.”
“I think we should start soon!” Artemis said.
“He’s right, we can’t let them find her before us!” Luna emphasized. “If they do we may lose all our powers AND since you’re all connected directly to the Princess your powers may die.”
“DIE?” I hollered. I didn’t want my powers to go away right when I was kickin’ butt!
“Well…” Luna started.
“What she’s trying to say,” Artemis interrupted. “Is that she doesn’t know.”
Luna gave him a look and he purred mockingly under Mina’s hand.
“Right, so for the next few weeks you Sailors need to get as many friends as possible and find those women. We need to find her.” Luna said
“We should start at the place of the battle and see if any of them show up. If they do, Venus will point them out and we’ll arrange a few to follow that woman and learn everything about her.” Ami started.
“Good idea, Mercury. But can you remember well enough to recognize them, Venus?” Rei asked. Mina nodded shoving the arrogant Artemis off her lap.
“Hey I had something important to say!” Artemis glared at Mina. “On to other news! There’s some good news, about your powers, too!”
Everyone looked avidly at him. “Apparently due to the influx, all of your scout powers have increased about 3 times what they were before.”
Luna rolled her eyes. “Mercury and I took a long time preparing print outs for each of you,” Mercury started handing papers to each girl.
“These will detail, to the best of our speculation, what your new powers will be like and the possible call names for the attacks.” Ami explained. “At least without the help of Mission Control.”
“We made a special one for you Serena,” Luna explained. My powers were the least known out of us all and everyone knew it.
“Trust Mercury to make a list,” I rolled my eyes but took the papers and folded them into my back pocket. “Okay so this is great, but why? How?”
“Well I can’t really explain it,” Luna said. “Thanks to that MAN in the attic!”
“What are we going to do with him?” Rei inquired.
“What do you mean DO with him? He’ll heal up and go on his merry way saving the scouts in battle like always!” I prickled.
“Awww… Does Serena have a crush on him?” Rei taunted.
“Then why did you ask me to take his shirt?” Mina giggled.
“That’s right!” I pointed my finger at her infuriated. “You’re supposed to be Venus, the goddess of love and romance and thanks to you’re lame brained ideas Tuxie regenerated his shirt…”
“That was your fault MEATBALL HEAD. If you hadn’t suggested it him,” Rei retorted.
“Whatever! You didn’t even try to HEAL him when you came over did you?” I looked at Mina. “YOU taped up both his hands so I had to hand feed him his spaghetti!!”
“YOU DID?” Mina and Luna said. Mina looked pleased and Luna looked furious.
“Not to mention the time we had to hold him up in the bathroom because you tied his bandages too tight, V!!!” Rei exclaimed.
“YOU WHAT?” everyone looked very interested now.
“I don’t know if I like this idea,” Luna said.
“We don’t have a choice! Serena is the only one who can take care of him. Mercury’s mother is unpredictable when she comes home, Jupiter doesn’t have room, Venus has a talking CAT and finals still to take, and Mars..” Artemis started.
“Yeah, I can take him!” Rei’s eyes gleamed. “Who wouldn’t want a masked HOTTIE in your house!”
“HEY! That masked hottie is staying in MY house,” I said defensively.
“Besides,” Venus added. “We still need a way to get his shirt off!”
“Why NOT my place??” Rei interrupted. “I want tuxie’s shirt off just as badly as you do! But at MY house.”
“But, Mars, you have visitors ALL the time, especially in summer tourism season. You’d be the last person he’s be safe with,” Luna grudgingly admitted. Rei pouted.
“We need to get his transformation stick away from him!” Venus blurted. “Then he can’t regenerate his shirt!”
“How are we going to do THAT?” I wailed. “We don’t even know what it LOOKS like.”
“Actually, V that’s not a bad idea,” Lita chimed. “If we get it away it’ll be less of a threat to Serena and we might be able to trust him a little more.”
Everyone agreed. For the remainder of the meeting Luna and Ami planned what to do to practice everyone’s new found powers before the next battle, while Mina, Lita, and Artemis talked about meeting to start the search for the princess. Rei pouted glaringly in the corner and I bounced between thoughts of meeting the Princess and how to get Tuxie’s transformation stick.
Soon the meeting was adjourned with one final announcement.
“Don’t forget everyone! We’re going to have our Annual Scout Summer Sleepover at Serena’s next Saturday! We got a Karoke Machine!” V shouted above the ruckus. Everyone nodded and quieted. They slipped out the door in twos and went through the back gate.
Interesting to say the least. Of course, the Sailors had all been there, each voice easily definable. There had also been a man with them that I hadn’t ever seen at a battle, and Serena. Of course the two of them had to have similar responsibilities. How they had come by them was still a mystery in many ways, but I’d worry about that later. Right now, I had to use the information given to me to find the princess.
Now, on the other hand there was a rather adorable blond girl absolutely seething to get me shirtless again. For some reason I was much more obliging now. I hobbled unsteadily as the girls began to make preparations for a sleepover or something and made my way slowly toward the attic, where I should have been. Part of me was a little guilty at having eaves dropped, but not a big enough part to really count. It was rather interesting that Venus seemed to be in league with Serena to make me as helpless as possible, and seemingly had done a fairly good job up till now. Especially since Sailor Moon had a thing for me…
Oh shit! Sailor Moon was in that room and I didn’t even peak around the corner to see who it was! The wall beside me looked rather friendly as I bent to slam my head against it. How blond would you have to be to pull a stunt like that? Serena HAD to be getting to me to make me forget the little heroin I’d saved countless times. Especially since Moon ran around in skintight clothes and a mini skirt and about the most delicious thing Serena wore was her school outfit.
Ok, so I’d looked! You caught me red-handed! Serena was definitely yummy, but damn! Sailor MOON! I was losing my mind. This was the very end for me and I was going to end up in some mental hospital of some strange too-many-girls-in-your-
I glanced sideways at a mirror as I walked past and did a double-take. That little…! I couldn’t even THINK of words to describe her at this point. She’d completely RUINED my face!! With SHARPIE!! I could have torn her limb from limb. Silently cursing, I turned toward the attic and tried to forget it. She’d be heading up there once the scouts were gone and I didn’t want her to know I’d seen it. In fact, I think I’ll just act like nothing happened and then get her back later.
The climb up the stairs was torture and I could have sworn I’d stumbled loud enough to be heard, but on further investigation, the girls hadn’t noticed and were just leaving the house. I rushed over to the bed, careful to lay myself down in the same position and make the cane disappear. Turning on my side, I lay back and waited for her footsteps to sound on the hallway below.
I waited longer than previously thought, since I woke up hours later. The dream, though I couldn’t remember it, had been absolutely terrifying. I was covered in a cold sweat and felt somewhat feverish. The sun slanted lazily through the windows and the time…I glanced around casually for my cell phone, but didn’t see it. I knew I’d taken it out, so it must be under a pile of blankets or something. It didn’t really matter, I guess. Finals were long over and there was nothing really for me to do other than call Andrew. Even that didn’t seem like a possibility.
Oh and I wanted a shower. Definitely needed a shower or something, because going this long was definitely NOT helping in the sighing damsels department. And you can’t really have a dashing hero without sighing damsels. I’ll have to ask Serena for help downstairs before anything could really be done. And if earlier today had been any indication, I could definitely support myself once down there. Darn. I kinda wanted to share…
Where did that thought come from?!
“Repeat after me, Tuxie. Jail bait. JAIL BAIT!! No jumping the little girl.” I paused for a moment before continuing the thought. “And no sharing showers.” It was almost an after thought. Like I was gunna stick to that…
As if at the thought, Serena came walking up the stairs a little tiredly, presumably from doing something not really important. I had to chuckle deep down. It was cute in a strange…procrastinator’s way. She looked at me and smiled, carrying a large bundle of fresh bandages under one arm. I smiled back, sitting myself up a bit painfully. In civilian form, this would hurt like HELL, but as Tuxie it wasn’t so bad.
“Feeling better?” she asked quietly and I nodded.
“Definitely in need of a shower though.” Her face went bright electric red again as I laughed outright. I don’t think I’ve laughed so often before in my life…if I’ve even laughed this MUCH in my life. “Don’t worry, I wont make you help me this time.”
She grumbled something under her breath, blush only darkening, if it were possible.
“If you can help me down there, I can get the rest myself, but I’ll need some help getting these old bandages off.” She nodded and reached down to sling one of my arms over her shoulder.
“Sooo…did you really hate Phantom of the Opera?” She asked quietly, as if trying to break the ice. I shrugged as we went down the stairs and toward the bathroom.
“I didn’t particularly love it, but I wouldn’t object to watching the rest some time. Mostly it was irritating to some degree.” She glanced up at me curiously and we paused for a moment as I caught my breath.
“Why? We didn’t even get very far into it.” I shrugged again, trying to smile at her reassuringly, but that same pang of loneliness bit into my chest.
“Let’s just say the Phantom and I have a lot in common.” She hesitated before breaking out into nervous laughter.
“You’re both horrendously ugly under the mask??” I laughed, leaning down to her level slowly.
“Easier to hate me that way?” She gulped, a little bit of anger washing from her eyes as she looked down and away. Ok, so she wasn’t beyond reaching underneath it all. “I have always been alone, always wanting something I could never have. So I feel the Phantom’s pain in a way.” She nodded, but wouldn’t look up at me. Her hand tightened on my arm though and I smiled to myself. Calling out the pity party was below the belt, but lets face it, regardless of what I thought hours ago or days ago, I really wanted this girl to like me for some reason.
She helped me into the bathroom and let me take off the shirt before removing the bandages. It felt good to have her wrap those arms around me, even if she was trying her hardest not to stare at my chest. It was kinda sweet when you got right down to it. Just before leaving, I grabbed her shoulder to turn her around again. I hadn’t even looked toward the mirror with her there and knew that this simple thing would smooth things over rather well.
“Serena, thank you. I’m sorry I’ve been such a jerk.” Something in me wanted so much to stop right there. The one rose I’ve had with me since the accident was held out for this junior high kid to take. When I was young and still in the hospital, a very young girl had come to my room to comfort me and had given it to me to keep forever. Since that day it has never wilted. It was the same rose I now used as Tuxedo Mask to transform and save the others. But I knew as long as I was out with this injury, it was fairly useless. Besides, all that planning with Venus had paved the way for it without the girls even knowing.
“Oh…” She breathed, reaching forward to take it. For a moment her eyes held a little fear, then suspicion before relaxing as she took it from me. I knew I was trusting her too much, but I couldn’t help it! So much of me wanted her to be happy, and if that meant that I had to run around shirtless for a few days, so be it!
I had no idea how HOT it could be when a shirtless, apologizing jerk hands you a rose. I smiled up at him in thanks. I put the rose on the counter for now and looked at him questioningly. “Should I uh…. Help you INTO the shower? You know, like over the tub wall?”
He smiled, “I could always use the help.” He held out his arm. I questioned for a moment whether or not he really needed it, but decided to trust him. I stepped into the tub and helped him over, him leaning heavily against me, arms around my shoulders.
“Wow you’re really heavy!” I complained. He just rested his head on my bosom and smiled. “You JERK!” I threw him up against the shower wall. “How DARE YOU?” Why did I ever trust Tuxie?
He hopped forward and in a few steps pinned me to the other tub wall, the facet between my knees. He got very, very close to me. His lips hovering over mine, his face so close I could see the blue in his eyes through the mask. “YOU watch what you do,” he said very threateningly. I felt his breath waft over my lips and instinctively licked them. He pushed me harder against that wall. Something else was there in his eyes, something that made me afraid and excited. MUST LEAVE NOW! I tried to get out of his grip but he had his hand wrapped around my waist. WHAT IS ALL THIS!?
“URF! What are you… doing!?” I asked with a bit of trepidation. For a minute or so I thought he was going to kiss me. I was so panicked I reached behind me and turned on the shower full blast.
“AH!” He yelled.
Well,” I said playfully. “It looks like you’re ready for you’re shower!” I hopped out of the tub, grabbed the rose, and closed the door. That was too close! What was I so scared of? Wouldn’t I want him to kiss me? I’ve always wanted to have my first kiss from the Hero of Tokyo. I went across the hall to my room.
My hair was semi damp and I had to change socks because they were soaked. SHAME ON TUXIE! I put the rose on my dresser. Why does he have to be so freakin’ ATTENTIVE! Woah, I’ve been hanging out with Ami too much. He just made me sooo MAD!!! I threw his shirt on the floor. Wait a minute! His shirt! I grinned evilly and thought of the trash compactor downstairs. Let’s see him regenerate THIS!
I walked downstairs and ignored the water running. I paused by the door to hear Tuxie in a surprisingly good tenor voice singing:
Oh I guess it would be NICE,
If I could touch your body,
I know not everybody,
has got a body like me!
I tried not to laugh. How PERFECT… If only my parents had left the video camera. I pounded on the door. “HEY TUXIE, TAKE A LOAD OFF YOUR EGO, WILL YA?”
The sound quieted for a moment, then grew louder! MEN!
I walked downstairs away from his voice and into the kitchen. I threw his shirt into the trash compactor and heard it crunch with a delighted smile on my face. Afterward, I got bored waiting for Tuxie’s shower to get over. WHAT DOES HE DO IN THERE? I raided the pantry and fridge not looking for anything particular. I found a bag of chocolate chips and bag of flour… Chocolate Chip Cookies!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I started, absently, humming along with the faint voice upstairs and took out all the ingredients. Lita is right. Cooking always helps keep your mind off awkward subjects. When I remembered the shower situation, I looked at the trash compactor again and imagined Tuxie’s shirt with banana goo all over it. I felt better. When I had all of the ingredients laid out, I started the oven preheating. I turned up the radio to make sure I WASN’T humming tuxie’s tune. I started dancing and cooking and it was all a fun time until I see Tuxie standing in the doorway. . How did he get down here? Where is Luna when you need her? Wow he got all that sharpie off in a hurry! He was leaning on a cane and his hair, still wet, was dripping on the kitchen floor. He had this cocky smile on his face that made me want to punch him.
“What no kiss?!” He grinned.
Without thinking, I threw a convenient handful of white flour in his direction. The powder sticking to his cocky, wet, perfect lips and his freshly washed hair, even his god-given perfect chest. I smiled evilly, “Who’s cocky now?”
His jaw dropped. I bet he wasn’t expecting that! “WHAT ARE YOU DOING?” he spluttered.
“Making Chocolate Chip Cookies of course,” I replied sweetly. “Do you want to help me?” I held up another handful of white flour.
“Oh I dunno, Serena. Rei’s told me horror stories about your cooking.” He just grinned and wiped the slime off his face.
“So you’re admitting you know her better than ‘barely’?” I smiled happy to have caught him in his lie.
“Uh..?” I seemed to have caught him off guard. “So we gunna make cookies or what?”
“Sure,” I figured out his game now. Don’t think I’m going to forget that! “Why don’t you just put those chocolate chips in there and then you gotta mix it with you’re fingers.”
“Fingers? Why don’t you just us a mixer?” He limped over to the counter.
“Mixers? Mixers are cheating! They’re for wusses.” I patted his cheek with my dough covered hands. “Real cooks don’t use mixers.”
“Oh and you’d know all about that, Meatball Brains?” he seemed slightly bemused.
“Yes, I WOULD.” I yelled. “I happen to be a GOOD cook!” First he messes up my hair, regenerates his shirt, then traps me in the shower. Now he insults my COOKING!
“Sure you are meatball head,” he tried to hide a smile, unsuccessfully. My eyes flared.
“You know,” I got really close to him. “I don’t think you have enough cohesion in your dough.” Before he could move, I cracked an egg and smeared it all over his chest, face and hair. “There, I think that’s MUCH better.
Somewhere along the way out of the shower, I’d forgotten my shirt. It was rather convenient, all things considered. But to have that little girl throw flour at me like that had caught me off guard. I reached up to wipe at the now pasty substance and stared bemusedly at her. She just smiled right back as I came forward to look at the recipe. It was fairly simple.
“Oh I dunno, Serena. Rei’s told me horror stories about your cooking.” I chuckled before her grin turned evil.
“So you’re admitting you know her better than ‘barely’?” She smiled rather mischievously and I cussed silently to myself. How exactly had she gotten that out of me? And there had been something so familiar in that smile, something beyond what I’d seen daily in fights.
“Uh…” I began, then shook my head. No way was I going to elaborate on that particular fact. “So we gunna make cookies or what?” She nodded almost without thinking and gestured over one shoulder.
“Sure. Why don’t you just put those chocolate chips in there and then you gotta mix it with you’re fingers.” My eyebrow shot up. Suddenly the mental image of Serena covered in cookie dough came to mind –and it was a rather nice picture! I had to rein myself in from all those dirty thoughts and turned back to the task at hand. A quick hobble over to the counter revealed her working on mixing something.
“Fingers? Why don’t you just use a mixer?” She glared at me haughtily, as if I didn’t really know anything.
“Mixers? Mixers are cheating! They’re for wusses!” She reached up, patting my face with one delicious ha...-delicious SMELLING hand. Ha-ha. Right. “Real cooks don’t use mixers.” I nodded sagely and tried not to laugh at the serious picture she made.
“Oh and you’d know all about that, Meatball Brains?” Oh the dreaded nickname. I should have kept that one in check as she turned a rather cute shade of pink.
“Yes, I WOULD! I happen to be a GOOD cook!” I nudged her quietly, trying to show that I hadn’t really meant it that way. She seemed not to notice.
“Sure you are, Meatball Head.” I slipped both hands into the mess before me and slowly started mixing when her breath started wafted over my neck as she leaned in close.
“You know, I don’t think you have enough cohesion in your dough.” I almost glanced up at her before the sound of an egg cracking filled my ears and slimy goo leaked down the side of my face. I just stood there, too stunned to really do anything.
“There, I think that’s MUCH better!” She announced happily and turned back to her dough. Of course at this point, I wasn’t going to let her get away with that as I lifted a chunk of dough and grabbed her wrist. She glared up at me for a moment before I had grappled her to the floor, kneeling over top and smearing the creamy dough in her face. She sputtered and squealed outrageously, wiggling around in a vain attempt to get away. I was trying my hardest not to laugh.
I finally stopped, just waiting for her to start screaming again, but by now we were both helpless from laughing. I don’t think I’d ever had so much fun in my entire life, especially with food. I sat back, trying my hardest to breath regularly from the picture she made. One glob was perched precariously on an eyebrow, another on her cheek, and a third on one corner of her mouth. She reached up, tears in her eyes from laughing, to wipe at the chunk on her cheek before flinging it up at me. It hit me in the chest and I reached up, aimlessly wiping at both that and the still sticky wet blobs of flour.
She licked at the one by her mouth, completely distracting me as she giggled in pleasure.
“You have GOT to try this.” She murmured around the small mound in her mouth. I could only stare at her for a moment. Really, this girl was absolutely delicious and covered in sticky-sweet mess. Any guys dream. I leaned over, setting my elbows on either side of her head as she stared at me in shock. Both hands came up, pressing against my chest as if she didn’t want me closer. I knew it was a lie, She’d hinted more than once that she liked me.
“Hold still a moment.” I whispered, watching in delight as those eyes sparkled with something I couldn’t quite define. Instead of trying to figure that out, I bent a little, catching the blob on her eyebrow with my mouth. She froze for a moment, gasping as I licked at the skin there. The hands on my chest tightened, but I wasn’t giving in that easily. Instead, I began slowly working my way down her face as she squirmed deliciously beneath me. By the time I reached her mouth, the hands weren’t nearly as rejecting. In fact the second our lips brushed she moaned and wrapped both arms around my neck.
Perhaps the truly strange thing was the feeling of…familiarity again? A strange sense of knowing? What it was I knew at that point obviously hadn’t caught up with the rest of me, because all I really cared about was this little girl’s rather innocent kisses. A swift déjà vu swept over me and I held her in return, losing my hands in her hair and ‘helping myself’ to her fantastic mouth. Her kisses tasted like warmth and belonging and sweet, sweet chocolate and I knew that nothing could possibly be better than that.
A quick flash of the princess came to mind, but I brushed it away irritatedly. The princess might as well not even be a real person. She wasn’t someone I could touch or talk to. She might as well be a ghost. Here was a girl I couldn’t keep my eyes off of, who I could touch and hold and kiss… I tilted her head to the side, using the leverage to deepen it. Her hands began to shake, but she was kissing me back. It was obvious I was going to have to stop soon; she was only sixteen. Just one…more… Oh screw it. I have NO self-control when it came to her.
I didn’t expect what a fun little cookie dough war would turn into. My brain reeled and my higher brain functions shut down almost as soon as his lips touched mine. Instead of thinking about how awesome it was that I had the hottest half naked superhero kissing me on my kitchen floor, I was lost in the ‘right-ness’ of it, the safety of his body over mine, the perfect smooth skin under my fingers, the feel of his hair – even with egg goo in it- was all perfect, safe, GOOD.
Before I had realized it I had my arms around his head, and his hands were doughing up my hair. I didn’t care. Nothing mattered than what was happening right here, right now. The wonderful kisses…
Shortly, I felt the sharp sting on my cheek of a few layers of skin being torn off. And then again. Ouch! What was that? I momentarily took my hand away from his skin and opened my eyes. His mask, it was cutting my as he moved his head. Without thinking I pulled the mask off from in between us and set it on the floor. Though later I would kick myself, I didn’t look at him closely, I just let the kiss go deeper. He didn’t seem to notice and it made kissing him easier. Until that moment I didn’t even realize I was responding. It was all instinctual.
If I wasn’t on the floor already, I would have fallen over when he reached down, skimming my stomach and put his hand in mine. He pulled my hand above my head and resettled himself over me. How perfect! But he wouldn’t let me touch him… How maddening! I tried to get him to let go and squeaked in protest. He broke the kiss for a moment, “Just let me,” he said gruffly and took my lips again. Well… I guess..
We were so into the kissing that we didn’t even hear to door open or Luna come walking in. As a matter of fact, we didn’t notice until she started yelling.
“WHAT IS GOING ON?!?!” Luna roared.
Upon hearing the voice of someone else, we jumped apart, I rolled over and quickly jumped up looking guilty. Tuxie had rolled to the other side, and quickly grabbed his mask and reapplied it. It was THEN that I had wished I had looked to see who he was. And it was THEN that I realized what we had been doing!
“WHY DID YOU LET A HALF NAKED BOY KISS YOU!!!” Luna demanded.
Tuxie was still sitting on the floor, looking shocked especially considering he was covered in flour and egg. “Talking cat… that cat.. talks..” he was pointing and mumbling as if he had just seen his mother murdered by a T-rex.
Tuxie quickly jumped to his feet limping a little and backed away.
“Luna, you’re scaring him.” I pointed out.
“Well I think I should! He’s obviously feeling well enough to move around I think it’s time he LEFT,” Luna turned to me. “And the SCOUTS are going to hear about THIS!!”
“Don’t worry,” Tuxie said regaining his composure. “She’s right, I’ll leave.” He walked out the door without so much of a good bye.
As the door shut I felt something in me snap. I immediately burst into tears. “WHY did you do that LUNA?” I sat in the middle of the flour-covered floor and cried.
“Did he do anything else?” Luna demanded, her claws digging in my leg.
“NOOOO!” I whined heartbroken. The one guy that had finally kissed me, the kiss I dreamed about for my entire life, was ruined by Luna!! “We were making cookies and…. And… and… YOU RUINED IT!!!!”
“Serena, you don’t know what he could have DONE!”
“You ruined it…” I sobbed. “My first…”
“Ug! There is no talking to you!” Luna said and retracted her claws, -then must have thought better of it. “Listen, there are some things that he could have done that would have caused you pain, and would have gotten you into trouble…”
I looked up at her with my watery eyes, not having felt so much pain about a boy before. “He would have NEVER caused me pain,” I said it before I knew it.
Luna just shook her head.
Hours later, after I had showered and moped about, I got up the nerve to talk to Luna who had finally come down from the attic.
“What are we going to do about him knowing that you talk?”
“I was so mad, I didn’t even think,” Luna responded. “But I’m glad I didn’t. Things could have been so bad. I was soo worried.” Luna’s voice wavered a little.
We hugged each other and she let me pick her up and take her downstairs to watch Pride and Prejudice. That movie always made a girl feel better. Mr. Darcy was the perfect man, if only he existed. I cried, but not for the reasons that Luna thought.
When the movie was over, I went upstairs to clean where Tuxedo Mask had slept. I put away the mattress and the sharpie underneath it. I also grabbed my backpack and dropped it again when I saw Darien’s take home final. DARN IT!
I excused myself from Luna, claiming I needed to go shopping to get my brain off what happened. I ran out of the house wondering why I couldn’t have just told Luna where I was really going. I settled on the picture of Luna’s burning eyes when she saw me kissing Tuxie. I couldn’t tell her I was going to see ANOTHER boy.
I ran through the door and it rang, making Andrew look over. I went straight to the counter.
“Andrew, where does Darien live?” I looked him straight in the eye. I can’t believe I forgot! But Tuxie was worth it! Stop thinking about him! I told myself as my eyes filled with tears. I sniffed and hoped that Andrew hadn’t noticed.
“Uh… Darien? Why? Don’t you have the unknown hero to take care of in your attic?” He questioned, amusement gleaming from his eyes.
“Not anymore,” I sniffed again. “Darien’s apartment?” I held up the final.
“Oh! Why don’t you leave it with me?”
“NO! Where does he live?” I tapped my finger on the table. “Come on Andrew, Just tell me.”
Andrew sighed but quickly scribbled an address on a napkin. “I shouldn’t be giving this to you,”
“I’ll be nice!” I said throwing off his comment and walking out the door.
I walked down the street and found the apartment complex. It had a solid glass door and a bellboy to open and close the door. I whistled. Holy Cow, this place was expensive. He must be LOADED! I walked into the plush elevator and pushed 15. I tried to get Tuxie off my mind and he got further and further away with each floor. I got increasingly nervous about talking Darien. Why was I caring about what happened to that JERK! The elevator opened with a ding and I entered the hallway in trepidation, watching for the number. I hesitated knocking on the door and I heard rustling in the apartment.
I knocked loudly and heard a thud and lots of cursing.
“Darien? Darien are you okay??” I shouted while banging on the door.
I’d raged around the apartment for hours, still clad in pants and mask, bits of cookie dough in my hair and flour on my chest. A damn talking cat -who in the world could have possibly seen THAT one coming? I tossed a cup uncaringly across the living room. And her kisses had been GOOD! Hell with good, they’d been AMAZING! My head was still spinning. I collapsed on the couch at the memory. Everything had been so right when we had been together, even when she’d taken off the mask. I wasn’t concerned; in fact it was so natural, as if she’d done it before several times. That was even more confusing than anything else. I’d been rather introverted my whole life, but with her it was like none of that ever existed.
Her lips had been so soft.
I shook my head, powering down and gasping in pain. Damn! I forgot about that! Without Tuxedo Mask I was still weak. But I couldn’t just sit around here and do nothing. Not just that, but she STILL had that rose since I’d planned on staying a lot longer. Unfortunately that CAT had come in. I could have strangled the thing…or hit it with my brand-new shiny sports car.
Forget about that. Focus on something I have some say over. I heaved myself out of the couch painfully and stumbled toward my room. I needed sleep, and for some reason tons of it. Glaring accusingly down at my side, I groaned, banging my head against the wall. I hadn’t even bothered to make my bed before going to school that last day. For some reason, that just topped it all off.
Muttering something unsavory under my breath, I came forward and collapsed in a heap on the clean bed. Screw cleaning the living room.
It had to be hours later that someone came banging on my door and screaming like a banshee.
“If that’s a misguided delivery boy, I’m gunna kill him.” I muttered darkly, rolling out of bed and stumbling down the hall. All the way down the hall, things were getting bumped over, slammed into and knocked sideways. My foot hit the couch and I cussed rather fluently before making it to the door.
“Darien! Darien, are you ok?” I froze, not wanting to even move. Serena was HERE? Had she seen me without my mask? A sudden flash of Christine’s face came to mind and I swallowed. No, there was no way she’d have let me continue if she knew. So then why was she here? There was no way I could pretend I wasn’t here since she’d obviously heard me cussing through the door. I lowered my head a second and ran a hand through my hair in thought. Gobs of broken egg came out on my hands and another horrified thought came to mind. She would KNOW if I came out with egg in my hair.
“Just a second!” I called through the door and limped over to the kitchen to grab some flour and rubbed it across my t-shirt. I was being ridiculous, but there was NO way I was gunna let Meatball Head know I’d kissed her like a bad romance movie and enjoyed it. grabbing some butter and rolling it through my hands, I turned toward the door again with a rag in hand.
The second the door opened, I had to stare at her. She looked like she’d been crying. A part of me wanted to give in right there and grab her, haul her through the door and tell her everything. But I just wiped the look from my face before it could grow and stared at her through cold eyes, still dabbing at my butter coated hands with the rag. She looked confusedly at me, taking in the mess I was, how tired I looked. Automatically, her confusion shifted to alarm and concern.
“Are you ok?” inside, I was touched. But I couldn’t let her see it or my guise would be blown.
“My mixer blew up. What did you want, Meatball Head, or did you just come over to bug me since I haven’t been at the arcade lately?” She took a step back before turning red with anger.
“Look, I was just trying to HELP! Here’s your stupid Final.” She shoved it in my face and steamed as I sighed. She really was far too adorable when angry.
“Sorry, Meatball Head. Why don’t you come in and I’ll get you something to drink.” She seemed shocked, then curious as she came forward a few steps. I backed away, opening the door wider and taking the paper. She walked through a little suspiciously and glanced around me. I silently cursed myself. I must have trashed the place a little worse than previously thought.
“Wow, you’re obviously a bachelor.” She lifted a piece of the morning paper off the couch and folded it before setting it on the table.
“I’m touched you noticed.” I murmur, more to myself than anyone else before disappearing into the kitchen. “What can I get you?”
“Water’s good.” She answered, a little too quickly. I can tell she’s fingering my stuff, but it doesn’t bother me as much as it used to. The time in the kitchen is spent organizing my thoughts more than anything else. We’d made out quite passionately on her kitchen floor not more than 5 hours ago and now she’s standing in my living room as if nothing ever happened. I breathed deeply, taking a moment to collect myself and walk out into the living room.
“So, of all people in the world to bring me homework, why you?” I handed the glass over carefully, watching as she looked up from my physics book.
“A teacher grabbed me in the hall on my way out.” She sipped quietly as I watched her. She no longer seemed as sad as before and I had to wonder if it was because of me. I’d left pretty quickly before. Of course it was her dumb cat…dumb TALKING cat’s fault. She was looking at me with those eyes, maybe trying to figure out how I got egg in my hair from an exploded mixer. Surely she couldn’t be THAT dense. And there was also the matter of my rose. I was going to have to get that back sooner than later in case there was a fight. “So, why’s your place trashed? I always thought you were a neat freak.”
“For the most part, I am. I’ve been…under the weather lately.” She nodded sagely and turned around to look at my living room. My mouth went dry as the dying sunlight filtered through a window across the room and sent her hair shimmering. Oh ya, she was definitely gorgeous. Why didn’t I see this earlier? It would have saved us MONTHS of fighting over everything! Then we could just get back to the kisses.
“Well, I better get going. Got stuff to do.” I nodded, walking over to stand next to her.
“Like what? Read comics?” Her eyes narrowed, but she didn’t explode like normal. In fact, she seemed rather deep in thought for a moment there.
“No, a sleepover. Anyway, turn your final in REALLY quick, cuz I should have given it to you days ago.” I nodded almost absently before taking the glass and following her to the door. She seemed so distracted. I grinned wickedly inside.
“Well, don’t stress too much over it.” I whisper quietly and open the door. She exits, still deep in thought. Once the door closes, I grin widely. The only reason she had for being that distracted was the kiss.
Oh ya. I am THE MAN!
Darien seemed really tired and he had egg shells on the floor. He also had a vase of 11 roses. I couldn’t help but wonder about that 12th rose. He probably gave it some slut he went out with. The only think I couldn’t figure it out is WHY he had missed his finals? I kicked myself for not asking, but I couldn’t help worrying more about why I DIDN’T look at Tuxie’s Face!!! How stupid can I really get!!
I walked home empty handed without thinking what Luna would say. I burst in the door and went up the stairs into my room. Luna looked up, but didn’t say anything. I shut the door and she let me alone.
I laid on my bed hard. OUCH! I hit my head hard on something, my backpack. But what in my pack could be so hard…. Tuxie’s CELL PHONE!!!! I can’t belive I forgot I had TUXEDO MASK’S CELL PHONE! I quickly pulled it out of my bag and opened it. He had a lame default background and his home name said ‘The MAN.’ I rolled my eyes. Guys!
I decided to flip through his contacts, which he had perfectly organized into groups. Physics Study Group, Dance History II (so, hot stuff could dance!), Agent, (wow he had an AGENT?), Banks (weird, why more than one?), Pizza (how typical!), Friends, and Girls. Wow, girls huh? I checked through and saw very few names I knew, but one was Rei. If jealous was a knife, it would have been embedded in my throat. I wondered if he had ever kissed her like he kissed me…. HE BETTER NOT HAVE! Rita was also in his list, weird again. Andrew’s girlfriend? It seemed there was a small loop around me of people who knew Tuxedo Mask. I was kinda disappointed my name was not listed.
OH THOSE KISSES! I needed to focus. I would find him. I would find out who he was if it killed me! I know it was a bit extreme, but he really did mean that much to me. I looked at the rose lying on my dresser. Absently I put the cell phone on my bed, and picked up the rose. I remembered that Roses were his power. I remembered how many times he had saved me. Those dashing eyes, that mysterious mask, muscles rippling through the fabric of his tuxedo, and that smile. I almost wanted to faint. I looked outside and noticed it was getting dark. I had a long day.
I picked up the cell phone again and put the rose on my pillow. I looked through the Friends list this time. There were only three entries, Anna, John, and Andrew.
ANDREW? Andrew knew him, too? I checked the number just to make sure it was the same Andrew. It was, but the enter button was hard to push and before I knew it there was a voice on the other line.
“Darien! Darien??” I panicked! I shut the phone and hoped that would hang up. Darien? Did Tuxie and Darien have similar numbers? How could you mistake the two? They were totally different! I laughed to think Darien could be Tuxie. Yeah right, and he could kiss too!!
I took off my pants and prepared for bed. It had been an exhausting day. In front of the mirror I looked at myself. I wonder…
I picked up the rose and held it in front of me. “Why THANK you tuxie! Thank you!” I turned to see myself in a different angle. “You shouldn’t have?”
I let my hair down and brushed it out quickly. “Kiss you again tuxie?” I blew the mirror a kiss. “I couldn’t possibly. You’re so good at it, you better!”
I closed my eyes and remembered everything about him. I could be his. I would be, once I found him. I’d be his masked bride. I imagined myself in a top hat, with a mask and tuxedo. Then I felt a little strange, energy all around me. It was like… weird. I opened my eyes and tried not to scream for Luna’s sake. I had a top hat on and a mask. I had a regular tie on with a coat that had tails and instead of pants I had hose and high heels. “OH MY GOSH!!!!”
I turned around in the mirror. Wow, I looked good! “Everyone move out of the way, I’m Tuxedess Mask.” I shook my head, that’s not a good name. I’d think of a better one anyway.
A chuckle from outside the window caught my by surprise. Before I knew it, there was a lily stuck in the window frame. A lily, I liked it. But that didn’t distract me from the figure outside. “Who.. Who’s there?” I backed up against my dresser as the figure fumbled to get into my room. He must as crawled up the tree. Panic was pulsing through my veins again. I was scared. What was I going to do.
Slowly, he looked up. BLUE!
I had no choice. Even as I fumbled with the window to her room, I knew I’d regret doing this. Her window was being DIFFICULT! Glancing up, though I allowed a chuckle to slip through. So, she’d figured out how to use it. Well, it was no use trying to hide from her, since my cell phone was obviously sitting on her bedside table. She was too close to the truth. Once it was open, I slipped in quietly and stood. The absolute horror stood out on her face like an angry stripe of blood across snow. Strangely enough, even Christine’s gaze held a little sympathy. Ah, the irony of it all.
“So, my big dark secret is out.” I whispered quietly, eyeing those fantastic legs. It was odd that the suit had shifted for her, but I was more than appreciative.
“It was YOU!?” She sputtered, backing into the dresser in shock. I came forward, touching her slightly-cocked top hat. It wouldn’t be so bad if she weren’t so gorgeous. Something inside me snapped looking into those eyes. They were filled with hatred and betrayal…and pain.
“Yes, it was me.” I paused to run fingers through her silky hair. It shocked me how soft it all was. Like million dollar silk… “I’m afraid I left something of mine here. Several something’s, in fact.” After this, I think I wanted to go rent Phantom of the Opera and see how it ends –see if the beautiful maiden can bare to see beyond what her eyes show her. My hand dropped from her hair and I felt myself freeze over.
“You KISSED me!!” She almost shrieked. I back away a few steps, reaching over to pick up the cell phone. Andrew was on redial, when I KNOW the last person I called was my agent.
“Yes. I did.” And it was FANTASTIC!! My mind screamed at me, even as the rest of me backed away from her. There was so much hatred in those eyes –so much hatred. I chuckled. Was I really so terrible?
“Take your stupid rose and leave.” She threw it at me in anger and I bent to lift it from the ground. This rose held so much for me. To see her treat it like trash ripped me apart. Even I couldn’t over look that in the face of attraction.
“So I will.” I walked forward slowly, hardly even believing my own move as I tilted her face up and touch her lips briefly to mine. A second later, I was gone.
Even now I can taste that kiss, so bitter. She hadn’t fought me, she hadn’t protested. She hadn’t cared even as I spoke those last words –as if burying a dead body.
“I will never kiss you again. Since you find me so repulsive.”
I can’t hardly believe I swore it, knowing that the events of that day would haunt me –the image of her throwing my rose, the hatred in her eyes. Tears slipped down my face as I lay awake. Why did it have to be so HARD to let go of someone I’d hated for months? There was no way all of this could have built in a few simple days of playing pranks on each other.
But now I have something to focus on. Now that I know there’s no chance of Serena ever coming around. I still have hope for the princess. I think even she could understand my temporary lapse. The image of the sweet, caring face in my dream; if nothing else, she will tell me who I am.
I COULDN’T BELIEVE IT!!!! Andrew had been RIGHT! Darien was Tuxiedo Mask!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I can’t even wrap my brain around it. He is Tuxedo Mask. The ugy of my dreams, he’s saved me in battle TONS of times, he’s been there thw whole time. His hotness was undeniable. But he was also there all the time in real life. Making fun of me, always ready to ruin my day, call me Meatball Head, or tell me I need to study. It was there the whole time! I could have figured it out. Andrew, ANDREW KNEW!!! And he didn’t want to help me?? What was his issue???? He knew I had my arch enemy in my house that I was mooning all over, I went to the BATHROOM with him!!! He’s a little hentai! He pinned me against the shower wall, he fought me with cookie dough and kissed me senseless on the floor.
“What are you smiling about?” Luna came in.
“When is that sleepover?” I asked. “I just figured out who Tuxedo Mask is.”
“You did? WHO?” Luna demanded.
“I”ll tell you at the party. It’s tomorrow isn’t it?” I yawned. Realizing as soon as I gave Tuxie, I mean Darien, back his rose, I had transformed back into my undies!!! HE SAW!!!!!! I turned bright red and Luna gave me a questioning look.
“He didn’t come in here did he?” Luna eyed the window.
I sighed, so my secret was out. I shook my head, yes.
“Serena!” Luna sighed. Maybe she was finally done yelling at me!
“Luna, Nothing HAPPENED.” I said, crawling into bed.
My communicator rang before I could do anything more. I opened it, though I was already in bed. “Yeah?”
“Serena,” Mina’s voice came, “We found at least one good canidate. She’s a college girl, named Setsuna. She has a HUGE amount of power!” A small picture flashed over the screen.
I nodded, “I kinda remember her. She definitely has an air about her.”
Mina gave her famous peace sign, “Right, well we’ve got her address and workplace so we’ll meet at your house tomorrow to follow her.”
“Okay, Moon out!” I yawned. Though Luna gave me a disapproving look, my brain was exploding inside my head. Not only was the Princess almost found, but my dream hunk turned out to be DARIEN. I just couldn’t get over this… Darien… it was DARIEN.
Man, can he KISS…