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Disclaimer: I do not own Sailor Moon. Never have, never will. Only in everyone's dreams, especially mine. Naoko owns it, and doing a great job, too. I got the idea for this story from a book I read by, I think, Jo Beverly. E-mail comments, ideas, bad or good... however, I don't like rude people, so tell me in a nice way if you don't like it, TO: Usagi_Rachel@Hotmail.Com

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Unexpectedly Snowed In Christmas - Chapter Three

Rated: PG-13

"Help me! Help!" Serena screamed, then icy water covered her mouth, effectively cutting off her cries. She knew the water was deep. Her feet had touched the bottom once before she struggled to the surface and grabbed the ice at the edge of the hole she had made. Serena could swim, but her soaked coat and boots felt like ten times heavier.

There was no time to pray, no time to think coherently; sheer panic took control. The more she struggled to grab hold of the edge, the more ice broke off, until the the hole gaped wide. Serena had never experienced cold like this in all her life. It penetrated her skin, seeped through her blood, freezing her very bones to the marrow.

Darien heard her screams-- a sound of which he was on intimate terms. He ran through the dusk on the path she had taken, knowing not to run across the open clearing. He saw nothing until she surfaced and cried out again. His eyes went directly to the hole in mid-pond and he was alarmed to see Serena was submerged to her neck.

"I see you!" he shouted. "Try not to panic."

"Darien," she wailed, her voice a mixture of relief and hope.

"Can you stand up?" he demanded.

"No," came the urgent reply.

"Can you swim?" His deep voice carried well.

"My coat is too heavy!"

"Remove it!" he ordered sternly.

Darien's mind flashed about like mercury. He knew if the ice wouldn't support her, then it wouldn't hold him. He remembered seeing a long wooden ladder in the garage. He had a rope in his truck; he never travelled without it. The danger was two-fold: she could drown or she could die from hypothermia.

He would rescue her with rope and ladder. If that failed, he could have to go in after her, but he prefered to keep his clothing dry. He knew he would have to keep himself dry and warm during the long night that loomed ahead.

He focused all his attention on Serena. "Take off your coat!" he ordered again.

Serena's fingeres were numb as she fumbled with the buttons. "I can't!" The water closed over her head again as she struggled.

"Keep your head up and concentrate on those buttons. Rip it off!" If she didn't get the coat off, she could die, but he hesitated to tell her.

Finally, the waterlogged coat came off and immediately sank from its own weight. Serena felt colder without it,but she could move her arms and legs easier.

"I have to get a rope from the truck. Stay afloat, no matter what. Try not to flounder about and break anymore ice!"

Darien raced off towards the house. Once inside the garage, he removed his down jacket and threw the dead pheasant on the floor. Then he took the long rope from his truck and the wooden ladder and carried them outside. He tied the rope from his truck to the ladder, then raced back to the pond.

When he was halfway there, he began shouting encouragement for her to hang on. His heart started hammering when he got no reply. It was totally dark now and as he peered across the snow-covered pond to the gaping black hole. He saw nothing!

"Serena! Serena!" he bellowed. Then he heard a whimper and immediately knew she was still alive.

"Hold on, sweetheart, I'm coming. You're so damn brave. I'll have you out in just a minute." His voice radiated total confidence, though Darien felt no such thing. It was something he had learned to do over the years. Confidence begot confidence!

Serena could no longer speak. She could only gasp and make small animal sounds every once in awhile. She could no longer feel her arms and legs, and the rest of her body was slowly becoming numb. She was on the brink of total exhaustion-- the icy-cold water had numbed her thought processes as well. She kept her mouth above water by sheer instinct alone, but was dangerously close to becoming unconsicous.

Darien carefully laid the ladder across the ice of the pond, making sure the end of it stopped well back from the black hole. He took the rope firmly in both hands and lay down flat on top of the ladder.

Slowly, inch by inch, he moved his body towards the hole. He was totally focused-- there wasn't any room in his mind for failure. He intended to get her out of there-- the only trick was to get her out before it was too late.

When he was halfway along the ladder, he heard a faint cracking noise, but resolutely ignored it and moved forward. He braced himself for the big crack that would sound like a rifle shot. Darien held his breath in dreaded anticipation and forced himself to breathe normally.

The crack didn't come while his full weight was distributed on the ladder. It came when he slithered his torso across the bare ice, keeping his feet and knees hooked onto the rungs. Darien didn't hesitate; he was too close to back off now. With a superhuman effort, he lifted her enough to loop the rope around her body, under her arms. Only then did he back off, moving as swiftly as a serpent.

When his whole weight was back on the ladder, he wrapped the rope around his own body then hauled as he crawled backwards slowly. Sounds of splittering ice filled the darkness, but that didn't matter anymore. She was anchored tightly to him and he wasn't letting go.

When Darien threw off the rope, then lifted her high against his chest, he saw that she was unconsicous. He refused to panic, reminding himself that this was to be expected. The falling snow had filled in their tracks, but by now Darien could have found the house blindfolded.

Once inside the house, he laid Serena face down on the floor before the dying embers of the fire. Then he straddled her, splaying his large hands across her rib cage and pressed and released in a smooth rhythm that simulated natural breathing. Less than a minute later, Serena coughed up water, gagged up more, then groaned. She opened her eyes briefly, then closed them again, but Darien was satisfied that she was breathing normally.

They needed heat and they needed it now. He quickly piled what was left of the remaining wood on the fire and poked it into a blaze. He gathered half a dozen towels from the linen closet and and three large, thickly blankets from the bedroom and brought them to the fire. Before he went out to his truck, he glanced at Serena to make sure the bluish color was leaving her face.

Darien brought in his tackle box, his rifle and ammunition, and a forty ounce bottle of whiskey he had picked up for a raffle at the fireball. He spread out the towels and began undressing her. He removed her boots and set them on the hearth. While she was still face-down, he pulled off her skirt and pantyhose.

Darien rolled her onto the towels so that she now lay face-up. He unbuttoned her jacket and tossed the icy garment beside the fire. He cursed as he noticed that the logs were already half burned away. He glanced at the girl who lay helplessly in front of him in a short red slip and lacy bra.

Serena's face and hair had a delicate, unearthly fairness about them that stirred a deep protectiveness in him. Darien tried to stamp down the personal feelings she aroused, trying to be detached and totally profesional. When he peeled off the rest of her undergarments, he tried not to stare at her nakedness. He covered her with a towel and began to rub her limbs briskly.

He dried her completely, but he didn't succeed in warming her body. The glowing logs were giving off their last heat so he knew the fire would be of little use in raising her body temperature. He thanked Providence for providing the whiskey and for teaching him emergency techniques. He opened the bottle, poured the liquid in his cupped palm, and started rubbing her neck and shoulders.

With long, firm strokes, he massaged her with the whiskey. Darien pulled the towel completely away from her upper body, palmed more whiskey and stroked down firmly over her breasts, then between them, across her heart.

Serena opened her eyes and shot him a frightened look. "Don't!"

"Serena, I have to. This is no time for false modesty. I must raise your body temperature. You have no food inside you for fuel, you have exhausted all your energy and we have no wood left."

Serena stiffened.

"No, no, don't be afraid. Relax! Trust me, Serena, trust me. If you can feel what I'm doing to you, that's good. Relax..." he soothed.

He poured some of the amber liquid onto her belly, then swept his hands in firm circles, rubbing massaging, kneading it into her flesh, so that her circulation would improve.

When Darien lifted her thigh and began to stroke it firmly, the word silken jumped into his mind. He tried valiantly no to become aroused, but failed miserably! Resolutely, he lifted her other thigh and repeated the actions. Darien had never done anything like this before but it was suddenly brought home to him how pleasantly erotic a body massage could be. If you substituted warm oil, or maybe champagne, for whiskey, you could have one hell of a sensual celebration!

He sensured himself for his wicked thoughts and gently turned her over. On Serena's back, his strokes became longer, moving from her shoulders down to her thighs. He bent over her with tender solicitude. "Serena, are you any warmer?"

"Colder." Her voice was a whisper.

As he massaged the backs of her legs he said, "That's because your skin is getting warmer and as the alcohol evaporates, it feels cold. It's a good sign that you can feel the surface of your skin."

He sat her up. "I want you to drink some of this. It will warm up your insides."

Serena nodded. She didn't have the energy to protest, and no will to object. All she wanted to do right now was obey him.

There wasn't any time to search for a glass. Etiquette went the way of her modesty as he held the bottle to her lips and she look a huge gulp. It snatched her breath away and burned her throat as it went down and she began to cough.

"Easy, easy does it." His strong arm about her shoulder supported her until she could breathe again. Then he gently tipped the bottle against her lips so she could take a tiny mouthful.

By the eighth sip, she felt a fireglow inside her belly. Darien moved her from the damp towels onto a blanket andd started at her neck and shoulders, giving her a second whiskey rubdown.

As Serena lay stretched before him, she gradually became euphoric. She though Darien's hands were magnificent, and she wanted him to go on and on forever stroking her. As she watched him beneath lowered lids, a nimbus of light seemed to surround his dark head. She pondered dreamily about what it could be. Was it magic? Was it his aura? Then suddenly, it came to her, and the answer was so simple. It was energy! This man exuded pure energy.

When Darien had annointed every inch of her with the warm, tingling whiskey, he wrapped her up in the blanket and lifted her to the couch. "Serena, listen to me. I have to leave you for a while. I imagine we're snowed in here for a couple days and there are somethings I need to do."

Serena was way too languorous to speak. Instead she smiled and nodded at him, giving him permission to do anything he had to. The smile made her face radiant. Darien knew she was drunk and would be asleep in a few minutes.

He retrieved his jacket from the garage and cut a length of green garden hose that was stored inside for the winter. Then he hiked to the barn and got the milk pale he had seen earlier. He carried them both to the Dodge Ram and proceeded to siphon the gasoline from the truck. Darien hated the taste of petroleumin in his mouth, but he didn't know of any other way fo siphon gas. He spat half a dozen times, then took a handful of fresh snow to his mouth.

He carried the pail of gasoline very carefully to the genterator the stood inside a cupboard in the kitchen. Fortunateely, it had a funnel beside it. Winter storms in this area make a generator a necessity, he concluded.

Darien opened his tackle box and removed a stringer with several large hooks and lures on it, then slipped the box of ammunition into his pocket and picked up his rifle. He shut the front door quietly and went in the direction of the lake. The snow was coming down heavier then ever and the visiblity was zero. He stepped carefully and cautiously when he sensed he was on the edge of Lake Michigan. He knew it would be frozen, but if the ice on the pond hadn't held Serena, then the ice on the great lake couldn't be very frozen.

Noting the formation of the trees, he kicked a hole through the ice and set the stringer through the hole and tied the end to the nearest tree. He turned up the collar of his jacket and set off towards the bust at the back of the proprerty where he had seen a wild apple tree. It took him a while to find it in the heavy snow, but when he did, he loaded his rifle and hunkered down with his back against a tree trunk to wait.

Serena slept deeply for two hours, then she drifted up through a layer of sleep and began to dream. She was in her parents' house where the air was filled witht he wonderful smells and the atmosphere was warm and inviting. Her mother was cooking, while her father decorated the Christmas tree.

"Honey, can you help me with this?"

When her mother came into the living room wearing oven mitts, her father grabbed her mother and held her beneath the mistletoe.

"You devil. This is just one of your tricks; you don't need help at all!"

"I couldn't resist, sweetheart; you're so east to fool."

Serena saw her mother's secret smile and realized she knew all about the mistletoe. Her mother went into into her husband's arms with joy. The kiss lasted a full two minutes. She looked up at him. "Do you remember our first Christmas?"

"I love you more than I did back then," he whispered huskily, feathering kisses into her mother's hair.

"We had no money, no home; I was pregnant with Serena, and you'd just been posted overseas."

"What the hell did you see in me?" her father asked, amusement brimming in his dark brown eyes.

"I was so much in love with you, I couldn't think straight, fly boy."

His hands slipped down her back until his they came to rest on her bottom. "But why did you love me?" he pressed.

"It was your strength. You were my rock; you made me feel safe. Even though we had almost nothing, I wasn't afraid to go halfway around the world with you."

He kissed her again. "That's the nicest thing anyone ever said to me."

"It's true, sweetheart. You inspire confidence. Now, it's true confession time for you. What did you see in me?"

"Besides great legs? You were willing to give up everything for me. I definately made the right choice. We're still lovers, aren't we?"

"Passionate lovers," she agreed.

"Do you think Serena is serious about Creig Barlow?"

"I think so."

"You don't think she'll marry him, do you" he asked as he untangled a string of lights.

"You don't like him?"

"Oh sure, I like him well enough, I just don't think he's the right one for Serena."

Why not?" Serena demanded, but they couldn't hear her. Serena realized she was invisible and her parents had no idea she was in the room with them.

"He's one of these sensitive, modern types, always politically correct. He even teaches courses where men can get in touch with their feminine side."

Her mother laughed at her husband. "And you don't believe you have a feminine side?"

"Christ, if I did, I'd have left it in the closet where it belongs!"

"You worry too much about Serena. She isn't your little girl anymore."

"Oh I know she does a great impression of being able to take care of herself, but she has a vulnerable side."

Am I that transparent? Serena asked.

"And don't kid yourself... she'll be my little girl until I give her away-- hopefully to a real man."

"What I meant was, don't worry about her making the wrong choice. Serena knows exactly what she needs. And remember, it's her choice, not yours, fly boy!"

Her father grinned at her. "I just want her to have skyrockets, like we do."

Serena was no longer at home. She was somewhere dark and cold, in deep water and she was searching desperately for a rock.

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To Be Continued...

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Please send all comments to the author at Usagi_Rachel@Hotmail.Com

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