An Unexpected Ally
A/N and Disclaimer: This is my first long Sailor Moon fic. I'm going to try to keep everyone pretty close to in-character, possibly with a few little twists, you never know. I have no financial ties to the Sailor Moon franchise or to that of the mystery character who will show up, blah blah blah. This has no real place in the Sailor Moon timeline. However, the Scouts use their first-season uniforms and (mostly) their first-season attacks. Darien knows the Scouts' secret identities, and vice versa, and Serena and Darien are dating. Also, I don't know if Andrew has a last name in the dub (or even in the original) so I have chosen one for him.
Walking out of his last college class of that Friday, eighteen-year-old Darien Shields adjusted the shoulder strap on his backpack and headed for his locker. He had just finished a tough mid-term in one of his medical courses, and all he wanted to do now was head back to his apartment and relax in front of the TV. Threading his way through the crowd of other students, he spotted a poster on one wall and went over for a better look. According to the poster, the college would soon be getting an influx of foreign exchange students. Some would stay for long courses, others for 2-week seminars. The college dorms were pretty close to full, so they were looking for people to host the exchange students. At first, Darien wasn't interested, but then he noticed the incentive near the bottom of the poster. The college would pay for all related expenses of hosting the exchange student, plus give each host 8,000 yen (A/N: about $73.50 US or $97 Canadian) a month for their trouble.
Darien considered this for a moment. Hosting a foreign exchange student would make it a little more difficult for him to come and go as his alter ego, Tuxedo Mask, but with the extra money, he could really do something special for Serena. Darien paused for a moment, thinking about her. The few months that had passed since he found out that she was really Sailor Moon, and she discovered that he was Tuxedo Mask, had seemed at the same time to be a few days and like an eternity. That was because he enjoyed her presence so much on their dates, that it seemed like they'd been with each other forever, yet time flew when they were having fun together. But in a sense, they sort of HAD been with each other forever...for over a thousand years anyway, because of their previous lives in the Moon Kingdom. After a bit of consideration, Darien considered the problem of keeping his identity secret from a potential roommate to be worth the trouble, if it meant some extra money to take Serena on a really special date.
Coming to the end of the hallway, he normally took a left to get to his locker, but this time he went right, to get to the Student Services Office. He signed up for the hosting program without incident. The students, said the receptionist, would be arriving at the airport on the Saturday after next. The interesting part, to Darien, was that only the arriving students would be told who their hosts were, so the students would be a little more comfortable with the whole thing. The hosts would not be told about the students. This prevented anyone from developing prejudices or negative first impressions, and it was the college's way of "broadening students' horizons." Darien didn't much care for that vague double-talk, but it didn't matter. He was only in this for the money (and ultimately, for Serena), not to have his 'horizons broadened' or to make new friends. However, the more he thought about the possibilities of what he could do with the money to surprise Serena, the more he liked the idea.
"I'm surprised you signed up for that program, since you usually prefer to keep to yourself," said Darien's best friend, blond-haired Andrew Taylor. Darien was sitting at the counter of the combination soda shop/arcade that Andrew managed, sipping a milkshake. Darien and the Sailor Scouts used the arcade as a hangout, and sometimes, a meeting place. Ironically though, Andrew had no idea who Darien, Serena, Amy, Raye, Lita, and Mina really were.
Darien lowered his voice. "Listen, just between you and me..." he explained to Andrew about the money he would be getting from the deal, and how he planned to use it.
Andrew nodded and smiled knowingly. "Ah, so I guess it'll be worth it after all."
Darien took another sip of his milkshake. "That's what I'm hoping for."
The door opened behind Darien, and he heard a group of lively, laughing, talking girls enter the arcade. Recognizing their voices, he turned around from his seat on the stool and greeted them, receiving a quick hug from Serena.
Lita suddenly brightened. "Hey guys, with Darien we have an even group of six for the tournament!"
"We're doing kind of a mini-tournament today on the new Sailor V game," Serena explained, nodding towards one of the arcade cabinets. "Wanna join?"
Finishing off the last of his milkshake, Darien said, "Sure, why not?"
Two weeks later (and after much good-natured teasing from Serena over getting the lowest score in the Sailor V tournament), Darien and Serena joined others from Darien's college at the airport, waiting for the arriving exchange students. Several college workers waited at the gates. The arrangement was that the exchange students would show some ID to the college workers, who would in turn find their hosts and introduce them.
It wasn't long before a middle-aged woman that Darien had seen before at his college approached. With her was a young man who looked in his early twenties. He was about Darien's height, with sandy brown hair and a lean but muscular build. He carried a camera bag around his neck and a suitcase in each hand. He wore a green t-shirt and blue jeans.
"And here's your host, his name is Darien." said the college worker. "I'll leave you two to get acquainted." She then left to find the next student and host.
"Hi, I'm Darien Shields," said Darien, extending his hand.
"And I'm Serena Tsukino," said Serena.
The young man put down his suitcases and shook hands with both of them. "Nice to meet you guys. I'm Peter Parker."