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The girls sat in a booth at the Crown Arcade waiting for Usagi to get out of detention. Makoto made sure that the door was continually in her line of vision as the self-appointed 'look out'. They figured that they had at least a good fifteen minutes before their blonde leader showed up. It should be enough time to finalize their plans.
Ami sunk lower in the booth. "I can't believe we are doing this! Didn't we learn from the last time not to meddle in their affairs?"
Minako just waved her concerns away. "Ami-chan, we HAVE to. Have you seen how sad Usagi-chan is? We need to do something to help get them back together. They are SOULMATES for crying out loud! They BELONG together." The love goddess made sure to make eye contact with each of the girls as she spoke. "Besides, Motoki-kun agrees with me. He's going to help."
Rei rubbed her eyes tiredly. "I agree that Usagi-chan is miserable even though she's trying to hide it. But I'm not sure..."
Minako glared at Rei. "He is her heart. She's not going to be able to fight well and she could get hurt. She died the first time because of that witch. The only way we're going to defeat Beryl is for her to have Endymion at her side...Mamoru-kun!"
Makoto nodded. "I agree with her. It's not just about defeating Beryl, but making Usagi-chan happy again. She hasn't really, truly smiled in a week."
Usagi laughed lightly and smacked her hand against a muscular chest. "Mamo-chan, stop that!"
Deep blue eyes twinkled merrily as he swooped in again to give her another kiss. "Don't tell me you aren't enjoying my attention," he teased her. "Otherwise I may just have to find someone else..."
The girl in his arms glared at him. "I wouldn't even finish that sentence if I were you." She reached up and brushed away a lock of dark hair that had fallen in his eyes before dropping her hand and grabbing his nose. She pulled his face down so their eyes were level with one another. She removed her hand and placed it behind his neck to pull him into a fierce embrace. As they kissed passionately, she let him know in no uncertain terms what her feelings were for him.
They broke apart panting slightly. Mamoru rested his forehead against hers. "So, was that a sample of a make-up kiss after a fight?" He grinned as Usagi rolled her eyes at him.
"Jerk," she muttered affectionately. She pushed away from him slightly and looked around. "We need to be careful, baka. We don't want to get caught."
"The girls are at the arcade waiting for you, right? Let's see..." Mamoru glanced at his watch. "You should be in detention for another ten minutes before you need to head to the arcade. We've got plenty of time..." he trailed off suggestively. Usagi flushed prettily.
"Baka." She smiled up at him. "I'm sure the girls are plotting our demise at the moment. This is going to be soooo good. I can't wait. Do you think they will include Motoki?"
"I'm sure they will. Apparently I can't enjoy a cup of coffee anymore without looking like I'm brooding or pining over a lost love." Mamoru pulled a mock defeated expression across his face. "I mean, why would he even think there was anything wrong?"
Usagi poked her love in the side. "Maybe because we haven't made our relationship public? Maybe because we're deliberately making them think that we didn't get together? Maybe because I've been telling them I have detention all week and have been sneaking off to the park to be here with you instead?"
Mamoru chuckled. "Don't worry, Love. Knowing our friends, they will make their move and THEN we will exact our revenge." The dark-haired fellow tried following his statement with stereotypical evil villain laughter, but failed miserably and instead caused his girlfriend to giggle uncontrollably.
Wiping away the tears that were beginning to form in her eyes, she smiled at her beloved. "I need to go to the arcade and meet the girls. Tell me something that will make me sad and depressed in front of them," Usagi ordered.
"I need to go study."
"Mamo-chan," she whined slightly and thumped his arm. "I said to make me sad, not ill."
Mamoru shook his head slightly and kissed his pouting girlfriend. She really was too adorable. "How about..I need to go study for hours alone in my apartment and you can't come?"
"Really?" She looked at him with wide blue eyes.
He schooled his features so that he looked serious. "For hours," he reaffirmed. "I probably won't even be able to see you tomorrow either."
Usagi let her countenance fall. "Ok," she sighed. "I'm off to the arcade. Wish me luck."
The arcade doors whooshed open. Usagi entered with a pensive look upon her face. On the way here she had been thinking about the past week. How she thought Mamoru had died for her. How the Dark Kingdom almost won. How she was now the Princess and all the accompanying responsibilities that burdened her even more.
"She's here," hissed Makoto. She sat up and pasted a bright smile on her face.
Usagi pulled herself from her inner thoughts and gazed about the room. Seeing the girls at a far booth, she made her way towards them. She deliberately paused by where Mamo-chan usually sat before she went over and plopped herself next to Makoto. She set her arm on the table, while resting her chin in her hand.
"Ug! I am so glad to be out of school for the day." She sighed as she met the sympathetic looks of her friends.
"Are you sure it's just school bothering you, Usagi-chan?" Ami asked tentatively. "Or is there something else?"
"You mean other than the usual Dark Kingdom scum that want to destroy us and take over Earth?" she responded flippantly.
Rei rolled her eyes at her blonde-haired friend. Just then, Motoki appeared at the table. "Now that Usagi-chan is here, would you guys like to order?"
Making a few notes as the girls made their requests, Motoki pocketed his pen before pulling out a flyer from his apron pocket and set it on the table. "I don't know if you guys have seen this, but this flyer was dropped off today and I was asked to pass it out." With a discreet wink at the Love Goddess, Motoki returned to the back to fill their orders.
Minako reached over quickly and snagged the bright yellow paper. "Hey! Listen to this, guys. It's a Haunted House with a cornfield maze on the grounds. It's tomorrow night after dark. And the best part is that it's free!" Her sky blue eyes sparkled as she lowered the paper to look at her friends. "This looks like fun! We should do it."
"We should be spending our time studying or at least trying to figure out what the Dark Kingdom plans on doing next." Ami tried to be the voice of reason.
Makoto reached over and plucked the flyer from Minako's hand. "We should do it. There has been a lot going on and we need some time to cut loose and have fun. I think it would be good for us."
Rei pulled the flyer from Makoto's grasp. "I don't know," she shot a sly look at Usagi. "I don't think Odango would be able to handle it. She would squeal like a frightened pig the whole night."
Usagi glared at the priestess. "I would not. I'm not a scaredy-cat that you think I am, Rei-chan. I know that stuff is just pretend. I bet I wouldn't even scream once."
"You're on!" the miko exclaimed. "Whoever screams first treats the others to chocolate shakes."
"Fine." The two reached across the table and shook hands.
Once the food appeared, the topic was changed to school, boys and other schoolgirl topics. Minako caught Motoki's glance and gave him a discreet thumbs up. He smiled slightly and nodded to show that he understood. He quickly turned away and returned to the back room. He had a phone call to make.
Usagi giggled nervously as she got ready for their 'girls night' or at least that's what her senshi were calling it. Heaven only knows what cheesy 'code name' they were using. But Usagi had no doubts what it really was, another plot to get her together with Mamoru.
She rolled her eyes as she pulled on a pair of jeans and fastened them. Tossing on a sweater, she stepped in front of her mirror to check her appearance. She wanted to look good for her Mamo-chan, even if the girls thought they wanted nothing to do with one other.
Luna sat on her bed and watched her getting ready with suspicion. "Why do you keep laughing to yourself? Should I be worried?"
Usagi strode over to her bed and plopped herself next to her furry guardian. She rubbed the top of Luna's head. "Don't worry Luna. We're just going out for a night of fun. Ami doesn't think that the Dark Kingdom will attack, but if they do, we will be ready."
Luna's chest swelled with pride. That was her princess speaking. Though she immediately deflated at Usagi's next words.
"I can't wait to get there! This will be so much fun. This will teach them to meddle with my love life!" Usagi bounced on her bed slightly with pent up anxiety and enthusiasm.
Luna shook her head at her charge. Over the course of the week, Usagi had been telling her bits and pieces of what had happened during her imprisonment. She was sure her princess was still hiding things from her. Luna wasn't real thrilled with Artemis at the moment either, since he was privy to the plan right from the beginning. In the end, it worked to their benefit. Mamoru and Usagi had reconciled their differences and their true feelings were revealed to one another the night that Usagi regained her memories. Unfortunately, Mamoru and Usagi went home separately after the fight and were unable to talk about their newly discovered past.
Usagi and Mamoru met up with each other the following day and hesitantly admitted their mutual feelings. At first, Usagi was concerned that he only loved her because she was the princess, but he teasingly reminded her how she narrowly escaped being kissed in his apartment before the battle.
Luna was somewhat amazed that her charge was able to keep her secret so well, even though she had some hazy recollection that their initial courtship during the Silver Millennium started in a similar fashion.
'This time, Artemis knows less than I do,' the cat thought smugly to herself. Because Usagi was hiding her relationship from her senshi at the moment, Luna was the fortunate (or not) recipient of all the gory details of teen romance. Fondly, Luna watched Usagi bound up from her bed and made her way towards the door.
"Have fun Usagi-chan. I expect to hear all the details later."
Usagi turned towards her cat in shock before grinning and waving as she exited the room. 'Boy. Luna must still be steamed at Artemis and the girls if she is letting me go with her approval.' Usagi tossed on a warm jacket and slipped on her shoes before heading out the meet the girls for a night of spooky entertainment... and revenge.
The girls were squished in Motoki's car. Usagi, of course, asked how Makoto had come by it. She just laughed and waved the girl off. Motoki had owed her a favor and in return, he allowed her to borrow his car. Fortunately, the interior was dark and no one was able to see Usagi roll her eyes at the lame excuse.
They had pulled up in front of a dark house with what appeared to be an abandoned cornfield off to the side. Tassled stalks stood forlornly and their dried leaves rattled slightly in the cool night. Usagi felt a shiver of apprehension, which she squashed immediately. Mamo-chan would be here soon and then she would feel safe.
Everyone piled out of the vehicle and looked around. No one else was there. Usagi pulled her jacket in close around her, trying to keep warm. Even with wearing a sweater and jacket, there was a chill that just seems to sink into your bones.
"Ok. Do we want to do the house first or go though the maze first?" Makoto asked.
"Let's do the house first," Rei chimed in eagerly. "This way I can win my bet and we can go home."
Usagi stuck her tongue out at her friend. "You wish. I'm not going to lose this bet." She tilted her chin up determinedly as she met Rei's challenging look.
The sound of wheels crunching along the gravel road had the girls jump slightly and turn towards the sound. A pair of headlights shone in the darkness as a car slowly made it's way towards them. Their figures were illuminated in the light and they shielded their eyes, before the car stopped and the lights and engine died. The doors opened and two figures stepped out, one on each side.
The one on the driver's side closed his door and leaned against the frame, arms across his chest. The other figure strode over to where the girls were standing. Usagi moved behind the other girls in fear, even though she was reasonably sure that it was Motoki coming towards them.
The tall man's progress was indicated by his footsteps, shadowy frame and the darting of a patch of light coming from the torch in his hand. As he drew close enough for the girls to recognize him, he called out, "Hey girls. I didn't know you guys would be here."
Usagi again rolled her eyes at the backs of her friends. She wasn't sure, but she though she may have heard a snort of disbelief come from the man leaning against the car. 'Mamoru,' she grinned slightly.
"Toki-kun!" she squealed as she pushed through the girls and latched onto his arm. "What brings you here?" She looked up at him with her eyes wide as she questioned him.
"I dragged Mamoru-kun here to give him a break from studying."
Hearing his name, the youth stood up and sauntered over to the group. "Apparently Motoki-kun felt to have a well-rounded education, you need to visit a haunted house at least one in your lifetime. Though I must say, I'm surprised to see you here Odango Atama. This really doesn't seem to be your 'thing.'"
Usagi glared at the upperclassman. "How would you know Mamoru-baka?"
He smiled mockingly at the blonde girl glaring up at him. "I know a lot of things, Odango. I bet you probably can't last five minutes without screaming your head off."
"Cha ching!" Rei high-fived Makoto. "Chocolate shakes on Usa-chan!"
"Argh!" Usagi tugged on her pigtails in frustration. "You haven't won that bet yet Rei-chan." The blonde-haired girl turned on her heel and walked towards the house. "I'll show you."
Minako discreetly nudged Ami.
Sigh. "Mamoru-san, you really shouldn't tease Usagi-chan like that. I think you should go apologize to her."
Mamoru raised an eyebrow at quiet Ami. She stared at him earnestly for a minute before dropping her gaze to peruse the ground. He noticed the three other girls glaring at him slightly.
"Mamoru-kun, just because you and Usagi-chan don't get along doesn't mean you need to pick a fight with her every time you see her," Motoki explained patiently.
He frowned at everyone before turning and stalking angrily into the house.
Minako watched his progress towards the house worriedly. She tugged on a lock of blonde hair as he entered thought he doorway and into the darkness beyond. Maybe this wasn't such a good idea.
The door barely closed behind him when he felt himself being grabbed and thrust up against the wall. He was about to call upon his transformation until he felt a familiar presence pressed against him. His Usako began kissing him very enthusiastically.
"I've been waiting forever for you to show up Mamo-chan" she panted slightly.
He nuzzled her neck. "I came as quickly as I could without rousing suspicion. What should we do now?"
"I bet they had Ami-chan rig the place with all sorts of stuff. Let's see if we can sneak out the back without them noticing. Then we can lure them into the house and lock them inside."
With one final kiss, Mamoru grabbed Usagi's hand and began leading her in what was thought to be the back of the house. They moved stealthily, along the walls and away from any windows. Their footsteps made the barest sound on the old wooden floors. Reaching what appeared to be an exterior door in the kitchen, Mamoru attempted to turn the doorknob. He cursed under his breath. "It's locked."
Usagi pulled a pin out of one of her buns. "Here, why don't you try your lock-picking skills. Otherwise, we'll have to go to plan B."
Mamoru accepted the pin and crouched down to be eye-level with the keyhole. "Do we have a plan B?"
Usagi giggled. "Nope. But I'm sure we could come up with something. I brought the Luna Pen just in case."
He shot a disapproving glance over his shoulder as he worked. "Shame on you, Usa. That is an abuse of you senshi powers. I'm sure Luna wouldn't approve."
Usagi folded her arms across her chest as she watched him fiddle with the lock. "I'm sure they did when they pulled their prank. Besides, Luna knows that tonight is payback night, so I'm sure she wouldn't mind, too much."
There was a faint click as Mamoru stood up and opened the door. "I'm surprised she even let you come tonight knowing that we were going to prank them." He pulled her though the door and out into the night air while making sure to lock the door behind them. He transformed into Tuxedo Kamen and held onto Usagi tight while he launched them both onto the roof. After detransforming, they flattened themselves on the moderate pitch of the roof and moved towards the peak to get a better view of what was going on below.
Usagi pressed herself closer to Mamoru and his arm tightened around her reflexively. They had been up on the roof for more than an hour watching Motoki and the girls in fascination. At first, they split up and positioned themselves at various windows and doors. Though the cool, crisp night their voices were clearly audible.
"Everything is all set, right Ami-chan?"
"Yes, it all works. I tested it myself."
"Great! I have plenty of witnesses to hear Usagi-chan scream so that I can win my bet."
"Rei! It's more important that Usa-chan screams and Mamoru-kun comes to her rescue. Princes always rescue their princesses and then they live happily ever after."
A little while later....
"I can't see them, can you?"
"None of the traps have been triggered."
"It's too quiet, maybe we should go look for them."
After a twenty minutes search of the interior of the house, four girls and a guy came out the door and looked around the perimeter.
"Where could they be?" asked Motoki. "All the doors and windows were locked. There was no way they could come out except though the front door. You didn't see them, did you Mako-chan?"
"No. I stood here the whole time. I wonder what happened to them," she responded worriedly.
They stood huddled together just outside the front entrance.
"I wish we had something to dump on them," confided Mamoru in Usagi's ear.
She blushed guiltily and pulled out two cartons of eggs from her sub-space pocket. "I wasn't sure if these would come in handy or not, but I thought I should bring them just in case."
Mamoru's eyes widened in surprise. "You minx. That's why you had me pack that stuff in my trunk. I'm just glad I shared some of my apartment experiences with Motoki-kun."
Usagi just grinned back. "Just be ready to turn into Tux and get us to your car as quickly as possible."
The two stood quickly and pelted their friends below with the eggs. The girls screamed initially. Then the slimy group looked up in outrage to see their friends standing on the roof smirking at them.
"Just remember, we don't get mad...we get even!" Usagi's laughter rang out into the night. Mamoru transformed, pulled Usagi in his arms and transported them to his car. He popped the trunk and they grabbed some materials and tossed them towards the other car. Then with a wave, the two got in and peeled away.
Makoto stood there flabbergasted. "What just happened?"
Ami sighed as she shook her arms to remove some of the egg that was dripping. "I'd say that we were the ones who got set up."
"Gross! Gross! Gross!" wailed Minako. "My clothes are ruined."
Motoki moved towards his car with dread. Looking at the pile of stuff, he realized that yes, Mamoru and Usagi truly got revenge. The girls had made their way slowly towards them, complaining about their clothes being wet and sticky. The tricksters had made sure when throwing the eggs that they only got their clothes. There would be no way they could sit down in Motoki's car without ruining the interior.
Rei fumed. "That's Odango Atama. I will get her for this. I can't believe Mamoru-kun was a willing partner."
Makoto grimaced. "Don't forget Rei. Not only did Usagi-chan slime you, but you screamed too. You lost the bet."
Rei shot a murderous glance at her friend. Talk about adding insult upon injury.
"Girls," Motoki began in a pained voice. "There is no way you can sit in my car with your clothes on. The towels aren't big enough to cover the whole interior. Grab a bath towel and toss your clothes in the trunk. I will come back when you are ready."
Ami looked resigned. "We just need to accept our punishment and get it over with. I told you we should have left well enough alone. They obviously overcame their differences and we played right into their hands."
The other girls glared at her before moving towards the pile of stuff on the ground that was left for them. As Motoki began to walk away to give the girls some privacy, he heard his name being called.
"Hey Motoki! There are only four towels here. And what's this roll of paper towels for?"
AN: dances around gleefully It's DONE!!!
Thank you everyone who has encouraged me in this story. I can't even begin to list all those who have left positive reviews and cough subtle comments about submitting the next chapter.
When Reba Jean first issued the challenge...ideas flowed into my head and I whipped out the first six chapters without much of a problem. Then I got stuck. I mean...how hard is it to write sappy WAFF? Apparently...reeeeaaally hard! You would not believe all the previously written stories I've read over, and over, and over again...just to figure out how to do this and make it reasonably believable...and with the added challenge that if any of my kids happened to wander in and read over my shoulder they wouldn't read anything too inappropriate.
Thank you to Heavenly Pearl and Caoilte who have edited some of the chapters. And to Reba Jean, who without her 'challenge' I would have never attempted to write something along this line.
I have to admit this was not number one on my 'favorite stories that I've written' list. But I think after the two years (TWO YEARS AND TWENTY chapters—This was only supposed to be ten, max) of working on this, I've noticed a growth in my writing...which you can see in the latter chapters. (Which also means I probably should go back and do some editing of the earlier chapters.) So now I proudly claim it as my own!