Thanks to irritablevowel, for the corrections, encouragement, and title. :-P and looking up condoms on amazon when I needed her to.

Usagi unlocked and opened the door to Mamoru's apartment and stuck her head in with a soft, "Hello?"

The place was dark and empty and she huffed a little, shutting the door behind her and shedding her jacket and sneakers in one ungraceful but effective wiggle. She was over his place so much in the past few months that she'd taken to saying "Tadaima" ("I'm home") when she entered, and he'd habitually answer "Okaeri" ("Welcome back"), usually murmured while flipping pages in a workbook or tapping on the keyboard of his computer.

He was working hard to catch up after a missing year, and she was plugging along in high school - grades floating in the Cs - so they did spend a lot of time together just working on their respective studies - much to Usagi's chagrin. But, oh, was it lovely to have him back. The warmth of his arm against her cheek, the soft comfort of his breathing, the way he always had to be touching her no matter what they were doing. Even if she did have to be conjugating English verbs while he sat next to her.

Dropping her bookbag on the floor and promptly forgetting all about it, Usagi went to rummage a bit in the kitchen. Then, chewing happily on a sweet roll, she wandered into the bedroom and threw herself on the bed - not caring much for the crumbs she knew Mamoru would be annoyed about later.

She popped the last of the roll in her mouth and licked the sugar off her fingers, still looking at the ceiling - the way the light diffused through the blue curtains, muffling the city sounds below. The sight was one she couldn't help associating with the other times she'd lain in Mamoru's bed - in worry before a battle, Chibi-Usa asleep between them. And more recent, pleasant memories, with his body heavy on hers and a taste more delicious than sweet bun in her mouth.

Shutting her eyes, she pulled one of the pillows over her face and inhaled his scent. She knew his schedule was chaotic lately, study groups and make-up classes and various other last minute things taking up his precious time but oh! for just a moment she wished with all her heart he was here. Even if it meant she'd have to do her homework.

Then again, it probably wouldn't take much to distract him ... she'd managed it before. She wouldn't mind feeling the fire of his lips on her neck...

Abruptly, she stood and made her way into the bathroom, face flushed. It was no good to get all worked up when there was nothing she could do about it. At least, nothing she felt comfortable doing here and now. Turning on the sink full blast, she splashed cold water on her hot face, and was fumbling blindly for a towel when she heard the door open.


Startled, she lifted her head too quickly, slamming it painfully into the bottom of the medicine cabinet, which flew open. Seeing stars, she stumbled backward onto the floor, various boxes of first aid miscellany -including the biggest bottle of ibuprofen Usagi had ever seen - falling around her.

"What was that? Are you okay?"

"I'm fine," she called, struggling to her feet. "I was just..." she fumbled to put everything back and froze.

There, in the sink, was a small, black cardboard box. A familiar cardboard box.

It was familiar from health class, from the back wall of the convenience store, from the top drawer of Minako's desk.

A condom box.

And it was open.

"Usako?" He knocked and Usagi frantically tried to remember if she'd locked the door.

"J-just a minute..."

In a panic, she grabbed the box and shoved it in the pocket of her uniform, exiting the bathroom and running into Mamoru's chest.

"Hi!" she said. "Uh... I was just... Um..."

She backed away, hand behind her head, "Just... um.. leaving..." She fumbled behind her, grabbing the handle of her bag and backing away from her mystified boyfriend. She gave him a dazzling smile.

"I ate one of your sweet rolls," she said, not bothering to put on her shoes or jacket, just grabbing them and backing out of the door with a cheerful smile and wave. "So... anyway. Bye!"

The door slammed and the only sound was Usagi scampering away on the other side of the hallway.

As she hopped her shoes on in the elevator, Usagi's brain flipped through her options. Rei was dismissed out of hand, Makoto considered briefly - but Usagi didn't need tea and sympathy, nor did she need anyone beat up (at least, not yet). Minako was her usual go-to with the category of topics of which condoms fell under, but Minako was... not exactly who Usagi needed at the moment.

She needed a cool-head. Logic. And someone who knew Mamoru better than any of her friends - besides herself of course. With a decisive nod, she strode out of the lobby - condoms in hand (and then, blushing, shoved them back into her pocket at the doorman's raised eyebrow) - and headed toward Ami Mizuno's condo.

Of course, as they say, the best laid plans of rabbits and men...

because Ami was studying on the table in her luxurious living room - as Usagi suspected she would be - but Ami was not alone. Next to her sat a pretty, bubbly blonde with a thousand kilowatt smile. A pretty, bubbly blonde Usagi would normally be delighted to see, but now wasn't sure how to react to her presence.

"I just can't get pre-calc!" Minako whined, by way of explanation. And Ami, who was in advanced Calculus III, nodded sympathetically. Usagi, who was in remedial algebra, just nodded blankly, still hopping from foot to foot.

Ah, screw it, she thought. Minako's opinion could only help.

"Amiiiii," Usagi said, plopping down between Minako and Ami and pushing their notebooks out of the way (Ami frowned, Minako grinned ecstatically). "I need yoooouuuuuur heeeeelp!"

"Okay," Ami said, pulling the pencil out from behind her ear, but it froze in her fingers when Usagi put the box of condoms town on the table.

"Um," Ami said, delicately. "What, exactly, did you need help wi-"

"I FOUND THIS IN MAMO-CHAN'S APARTMENT!" Usagi wailed, hands spread wide. She looked at Ami as if that explained the entire issue. Ami looked perplexed. Minako nodded in sage understanding.

"And..?" Ami prompted.

"Why?!" Usagi sputtered, "Why... .does... why... he..."

"I'd assume because he plans on having sex in the near future," Ami said.

"I feel like this shouldn't surprise you," Minako piped up. "And the fact that it does makes me super sad for you."

"But it's... it's...," Usagi gestured frantically, and Minako lifted the box.

"Ah," she said, as three neatly foil-wrapped, attached condoms fell out of the open box. "It's been compromised."

Ami took the box from Minako carefully, using her pencil instead of her fingers, as if it was evidence at a crime scene. "This is a five pack," she read. "So two are missing."

"You can get a 100 pack online," Minako offered, helpfully.

Ami and Usagi ignored her.

"Why did you take this?" Ami asked.

"I don't know! He came home, and I panicked!" She paused. "Do you think he'll notice it's missing?"

Ami answered thoughtfully. "I don't think so. He's organized, but unless he's specifically looking for the box right now, he may not notice right away."

"He better not be specifically looking for it right now," Usagi muttered.

"And you are sure you two didn't use the two missing ones?" Minako asked Usagi.

Both Ami and Usagi gave her withering looks.

"I think I'd know!" Usagi said.

"Welp, time to go cut off Mamoru's dick." Minako rose from the table and, without looking up, Ami pulled on her arm until she plopped back down in her seat.

"Remember we love Chibi-Usa," she murmured and Minako pursed her lips.

"Fine," Minako said. She turned to Usagi once again. "Do... do you think they could be from before you two started dating?"

"That'd be some old condoms," Usagi said, twisting her mouth a bit. "We've been together since he was 17."

"Seventeen-year-olds have sex all the time," Minako shrugged. "I know I do."

"Still, I never got the impression Mamo-chan...," Usagi swallowed down the jealousy that gnawed at her belly at the thought of him...that way... with anyone but her.

"It does seem that with everything going on in his life - amnesia, mysterious dreams, spontaneous transformations into Tuxedo Kamen - it didn't leave much room for dating. Especially the type of serious dating that would lead to sexual intimacy of that sort, considering Mamoru's personality," Ami said, her calm voice making Usagi's breathing return to normal. "Especially considering, we'd have heard of any ex-girlfriends that were that serious."

"What about Rei?" Minako said, and Ami kicked her so hard under the table their tea cups rattled.

"That was strictly platonic," Ami said. "No matter what Rei says."

"It was not!" Usagi insisted. "They never even kissed!"

"That's what pla- never mind," Ami muttered. "Look, if it'd make you feel better," she said, "I can call the phone number on the box with the lot number and we can see how old they are."

"Ooh good one Detective Watson!" Minako said.



"The detective was Sherlock Holmes, Doctor Watson was his partner."


Giving up on Minako, Ami turned to Usagi. "Well, do you want me to call?"

Usagi considered and Ami put a kind hand on hers. "You have to be prepared with whatever the outcome is. Why don't you just talk to him? I'm sure there is a good reason for this."

"What, like he threw a party and ran out of balloons?" Minako said sarcastically.

"I don't know. Maybe he lent - er, gave - them to someone like Motoki or another classmate..."

Minako raised an eyebrow. "Who would ask Mamoru for condoms? Would he be the first person you would go to for something like that?"

Ami considered. "Well, I suppose not. We don't discuss that sort of thing very much."

"Well, Motoki and I do discuss that sort of thing all the time, and I know Reika is on the pill," Minako said. "She's all about the bareback." Then she blinked. "Wait, excuse me, did you say you don't discuss that 'very much'? You mean you and Mamoru talk about that stuff... sometimes?"

"We are friends, Minako."

"Just how much do you know about Mamoru's sex life?" Minako demanded. "And do I want to know the answer?"

"It's... not like that, exactly."

"I am appalled and disgusted and super interested. How far have those two gone?"

"Just ask Usagi!"

"She just giggles and blushes!"


"Also with two condoms missing, maybe Usagi isn't even the one to ask..." Minako's voice was teasing, but when she turned to look at her friend, Usagi was gone.

"I'd hate to be Mamoru right now." Minako said. Then looked at Ami. "Don't you dare warn him."

"Wouldn't dream of it," Ami said, pulling the notebooks back from where Usagi had banished them. "Now, back to pre-calc."

Minako sighed.

"Welcome back," Mamoru said as Usagi burst through the door a second time that day. "Are you doing okay?"

He was seated at the coffee table in the living room, some school books spread out before him. He looked up at her with interest and no small amount of affection. Usagi was business-like as she removed her jacket and shoes and marched to stand in front of him, hands on hips.



Finding herself unable to articulate her way around the subtleties of situation, she just reached in her pocket and tossed the box of condoms on the table in front of him.

He looked at it in mild surprise - far too mild in Usagi's opinion. As stoic as she knew her boyfriend tended to be, she thought this warranted a bit more of a reaction.

"Well?" She demanded.

"Those are condoms, Usako."

His ability for a smooth recovery in awkward situations usually turned Usagi on to no end, but this time it sort of pissed her off.

"I know what they are!"

He looked at her in expectant silence.

"What are they for?!" She realized her mistake when his handsome face settled into the expression she recognized from study sessions - the 'I know you know this, Usako' expression.

Flustered, she made an incoherent sound and stamped her feet a little. "I mean...! I know what they are for but I... you know what I mean! Why do you have them?"

"Why did you have them?" he asked, and she flushed.

"I found them and... that's besides the point! Please tell me why you have... have... condoms just hanging out in your apartment and why two are missing and why... why..." she paused. "Why I didn't know about it."

He looked down for a moment, nodding slightly. Her question was fair.

"I bought them a while ago," he said, shifting a little. "You know that I like to be prepared." He cleared his throat.

"It wasn't like I was expecting... anything to happen soon," he said, quickly. "But I also didn't want to run to 7/11 in the middle of the night, either."

She conceded his point - but only privately. She still regarded him with a wary pout. But something like relief pulled at her stomach.

There was no scandal. No mysterious ex-girlfriend to whom two condoms had been sacrificed to nights of passion. And - not that she'd believed it - not really - but with all the time they'd spent apart, the on and offs of their relationship - When he'd forgot her, when they'd broken up... she realized that ever since she'd confronted the little black box in Mamoru's bathroom, she'd been confronting her secret fear: that his sexual history remained unknown to her, and there might be something in it that she didn't want to know.

"So you got them... for me. I mean," she hunched her shoulders a little, looking at him out of the sides of her eyes. "For... us."

At this, he did look suitably surprised. "Of course."

"I didn't know if..." she sat down, next to him, and pulled her skirt over her knees nervously, "you might have... needed them for something else."

"Like what?"

She was quiet for so long that Mamoru reached out and tentatively took her hand. "Like what, Usa?" he said again, softly.

"I realized I didn't know... if you'd ever needed them or used them before me or anything... we'd never talked about it!" She turned and faced him, looking at him beseechingly. "Even though we've come... close," she cleared her throat and blushed, and Mamoru's face turned a bit red too, "and I didn't even know you bought condoms even if they were just in case and..." she trailed off, looking down at her knees.

She felt like a child, embarrassed and chided. Until she felt a warm finger under her chin, lifting her head gently until her eyes were looking right into Mamoru's startlingly blue ones. He still took her breath away.

"I'm sorry," he said, simply.

Usagi blinked.

"We should've had this talk already," he said. "I bought the condoms and hid them away, instead of sharing the anticipation I felt with you. I didn't want you to feel pressured, but I didn't think how you'd feel if you found them on your own." He paused for an ironic smile. "And I should've known you would. You find everything."

She gave a small, sheepish smile.

"I have no expectations beyond following your lead, anytime, all the time, Usako," he said. "And I want you to ask me anything you need or want to know. I'll answer."

"Have you...," she bit her lip and pulled on the curls of her hair, "before?"

"I haven't had an opportunity to use condoms for their intended purpose, no," he said.

Usagi nodded. "Okay. For what it's worth... if you had... like, before we met or something... I'd be okay with it."

"I'm sure," he said, a smirk pulling at his lips.

"So wait, though," she said, shifting over on her knees to face him. "Where are the other two condoms then? If you didn't use them for their, um, intended purpose?"

He opened his mouth but Usagi cut him off.

"Did you open one just to see what it's like?" she asked, eagerly. "It's all slimy, right?" She giggled. "Not like a ballon at all! And so small? I was so curious how it would fit you, but Minako showed me on a banana. They stretch!"

Mamoru closed his mouth again. "No, I didn't open it just to see what's it like," he said, "Although I've done that before. I was fourteen once, too, you know."

She giggled in delight and he laughed too.

"So where are they?" Usagi demanded, not to be distracted.

Mamoru sighed. Pushing his work aside - he knew better than to think he'd get anything more done today - he stood up and Usagi followed suit. He walked into the bedroom, Usagi following curiously.

After the topic of their previous conversation, Usagi suddenly found the bedroom taking on a completely different context than earlier on the day when she'd flung herself on the bed so casually. It felt kind of exciting to know for sure that Mamoru wanted to have sex with her - at least eventually.

Mamoru walked around the bed, pausing for a moment to give Usagi a quick Look at the sweet bun crumbs on his pillow, and then opened the top drawer of his nightstand. He pulled out a now-familiar foil-wrapped square and held it up for Usagi's inspection.

"Oh," she said. "That makes sense." A nervous giggle bubbled it's way up from her chest. "Easy access."

He smiled and shook his head at her antics. "Anyway, there you go."

She followed him back to the living room in silence, something was still bugging her...

"Wait, Mamo-chan."

Mamoru sat down on the sofa. "Yeah?"

"I know I'm no math whiz, but even I know that three plus one isn't five." Usagi perched next to him on the armrest. "So where's the last condom?"

Mamoru was quiet.

"Mamo-chan?" she cocked her head to side.

"I know you didn't give it to Motoki, because Minako said Reika is on the pill and likes it 'bareback'... whatever that means."

Mamoru sat up a little straighter. "You were talking to Minako about this?"

"And Ami."

If anything he looked even worse when she said that, putting his fingers on the bridge of his nose. "Fantastic," he muttered. Giving Minako fuel for sidewise remarks was one thing, but Ami was someone whose opinion Mamoru actually deeply cared about.

"She said I should just talk to you," Usagi continued.

'Thank you, Ami,' Mamoru thought, with a small smile. "I'm glad you went to her, then."

"But where's the last condom, Mamo-chan?" Usagi asked, again. She looked around the room. "Is it somewhere else all 'easy access'? Is it in here?" She started peering around the couch cushions.

"No," Mamoru said, and fumbled for the tv remote. "Should we see what's on TV?"

"Where else is it? The kitchen?" Usagi looked incredulous. "I would've found it there for sure."

"Speaking of the kitchen, shall I get us some ice-cream?" Mamoru said, putting the remote down and starting to stand up.

Usagi pushed him back against the sofa and settled herself on his lap, effectively preventing his escape. She definitely was all for ice cream, but it wasn't going anywhere.

"Mamo-chan," she said, bracing her hands on the back of the sofa and putting her forehead against his. "You said you'd answer any questions," she reminded him.

He sighed, shutting his eyes for a moment. An adorable redness came to his cheeks. "It's... uh. It's in the glove compartment of my car."

She gasped, scandalized. "Mamo-chan!"

He was definitely bright red now. "I told you, I like to be prepared," he mumbled. "Now, do you want ice cream or not?"

"I do," Usagi said, not moving from her position on his lap. She pressed her lips to his temple. "Let's go out for it."

so I know it's not the next chapter of Time After Time but this was in my head for a while and finally made it out on the page so I thought I'd put it out there.