:: Bittersweet Goodbye ::

By: dreams-of-mist

Summary: Mamoru's heading to America today to finish his studies and become a great doctor. Usagi goes with him to the airport to send him off. Can they survive this bittersweet goodbye?

Author's Note: Here's my sorta sequel to 'Where Do We Go From Here?' I'm glad that so many people liked it and reviewed since it was my first fanfic ever – arigatou! Special mentions to rowensage – I'm glad I inspired you to write (definitely one of the best things any writer can hear!) This story follows up from where we last left off. For those reading this who haven't read the first fic, don't worry – 'Bittersweet Goodbye' could be a stand-alone fic as well. However, it would be great if you could take the time to check out the other story. In would help you make a little more sense of the story. As before, I guarantee that this story will be completed. The ideas are all in my head on how the next chapters will progress, I just need to get it down in writing. In any case, I hope you enjoy, and please review! Feedback is always appreciated.

Disclaimer: I do not own Sailor Moon or any of the characters in the anime. To the people who do own the rights and trademarks, please don't sue me. It's the holidays – have a heart! I just finished writing university final exams and cannot take any more traumas. The story below, however, is mine, and I can only ask that no one uses it without my permission.

'…' – thoughts
"…" – spoken

Bittersweet Goodbye - Chapter 1

Knock, knock!

"I'll get it Mamo-chan!"

"Thanks, Usako. Make sure to look out for the-"

CRASH! BANG!

"OOOOOWWWWW!!!"

Mamoru bowed his head and shook it forlornly. "-carry-on bag."

"I'm alright, Mamo-chan, no need to worry!" Usagi called out, all the while rubbing her now sore bottom. She got up slowly, slightly wincing at the stinging pain that, thankfully, was slowly fading.

'You would think that after more than two years of running around saving the world as a super heroine, a pretty sailor-suited soldier, that I would have this stupid body coordination thing down flat.' she thought grumpily.

She stared at the thing responsible for the throbbing pain on her rear, sent the black inanimate object a death glare, and just for good measure, gave it a good solid kick, sending it sliding across the floor. It hit the wall with a loud thump, giving Usagi a small measure of satisfaction.

'Usagi: 1. Evil black bag: 0'

"Usako? Did you just kick my bag?" Mamoru's amused voice filtered out from the bedroom.

"Of course not," Usagi replied sweetly, "that would be rather petty of me don't you think? Anyways, I better open the door before Motoki decides to knock it down!"

With that said, she walked purposely to the door, making large, wide strides across the now uncluttered hallway. She reached the door and threw it open with a flourish.

"Usagi-chan!"

"Hi, Motoki! Come on in. Mamo-chan is just double checking the last of his bags now."

"Really? I thought he'd be ready by now, especially seeing as how I'm more than five minutes late. You haven't been distracting him now have you?" Motoki grinned at the petite blonde and sent her a playful wink.

"MOTOKI!" Usagi gasped, her face turning an interesting shade of pink.

"What's all the laughing about?" Mamoru asked as he walked out of his bedroom and into the living room. He was just zipping up the last bag when Usagi's shriek reached his ears followed by Motoki's loud laughter. All he could see now was his somewhat flushed girlfriend staring at anyone but Motoki and him and his sandy-blond haired buddy giving him a cheeky smile.

"Nothing at all Mamoru-kun. Just talking to Usagi-chan for a bit. Need help with getting the bags out of your room?"

"Uh…sure. That would be great. Usako? Is there anything wrong?" he asked quizzically.

"Oh no, Mamo-chan!" Usagi replied quickly, waving her hands madly. "It's nothing really, Why don't you guys finish up with packing and moving the boxes? There's still a couple left that needs to be labeled I think. I'll go get some juice and bring out those little sandwiches Mako-chan made for us."

The two men headed back towards the bedroom and Usagi made her way towards the kitchen. She got out the iced tea bottles and cold cuts sandwiches Makoto had made yesterday from the refrigerator and arranged them neatly on a Styrofoam plate. All the dishes and cutlery had already been neatly packed up and stored in boxes. The kitchen was stark empty except for the few Styrofoam cups and plates that littered the counter and the tiny stack of boxes lying in the corner.

'It's so empty… I can't believe how quickly the two months passed…'

All the furniture had been moved into a nearby storage facility. Furniture and other things that weren't being stored there were in smaller boxes to be moved for temporary storage at Motoki's apartment. Looking at the place where the couch used to be, Usagi remembered the first time she and Mamoru fell asleep in each other's arms while watching a movie. She glanced towards the balcony and couldn't help but miss the little twinkling noises the windchimes used to make there. She could still picture in her mind exactly where the picture of her and Mamoru at the carnival used to sit on the side table in the living room.

'In a way, this was our first home together. We had so many 'firsts' here.'

Usagi sat down on the barstool and rested her head on her hands as she leaned on the counter. Wistfully, she recalled the hectic last two months as Mamoru prepared to head over to America to begin his studies at Harvard Medical School. They had agreed that keeping this apartment around while he was away would be an unnecessary expense. In the future, when he would be back in Toky for visits or for the summer, he would be staying with Motoki. But even so, she couldn't help but be sad to see this place rented out.

'We have so many beautiful memories here. I'm going to miss this apartment so much…'

The two of them tried to see each other as much as possible before his departure. It was difficult sometimes, with Mamoru still catching up on his studies and interning at Tokyo U while Usagi had gotten a part-time job at the OSA-P Jewelry store that Naru's mother owned. She wanted to start saving some money now so that maybe in a few years, she could go visit Mamoru in Boston. They managed to go out together at least twice a week and called each other everyday.

'Mamo-chan's finally leaving today. The time passed so quickly…'

"Usako?" a voice called out.

Mamoru's voice startled Usagi from her inner musings. "Oh! Yes, Mamo-chan?"

"Did you find the sandwiches alright? You've been in the kitchen for a while…"

"No worries! I was just arranging them on a plate. I'll be there in a bit."

With a last minute glance around the bare apartment, she stored the memories inside her heart and headed towards the bedroom.

"Here you go guys. Some of Mako-chan's delicious foods."

"Score! I knew there was an extra perk to helping you pack!" Motoki cried enthusiastically while stuffing his face full of sandwiches.

"And here I thought you were doing this because you wanted to help your best friend out," Mamoru said wryly.

"Yerrr..frat froo…"

"What??"

Motoki took a large swallow out of the juice bottle and tried again. "Yeah, that too."

"Uh huh…" Mamoru said doubtfully, while helping himself to a sandwich as well. "Usako, we're pretty much ready to go. Why don't you gather your things up? There are a few suitcases and bags that Motoki and I need to bring down to his car. The rest of the boxes he'll move later. We're meeting the girls at the airport right?"

"Yep! Rei-chan, Mako-chan, Ami-chan, and Minako-chan are going to meet us there. I'll call them and let them know that we'll be on our way soon." On impulse, she rushed over to Mamoru, gave him a peck on the cheek, and headed back out towards the kitchen.

Both men watched Usagi's retreating back as she left. Bit by bit, they got back to labeling the boxes but Motoki couldn't help but wonder… "Is she really okay with this Mamoru? I know you said that you guys discussed this, but…"

The room grew silent once more. Motoki turned around to look at his friend. Mamoru had sat down on a box with his head bowed down, his dark hair covering his face from view.

"Mamoru?" Motoki asked concerned with the sudden sadness that seemed to surround Mamoru.

"She tells me she's okay," Mamoru said quietly. "Every time we went out, she greeted me with a brilliant smile and every time I dropped her off back home, she sent me off with the same smile. Whatever we did, no matter how special or normal it was, she was always laughing and telling me how happy she was…"

"But?" Motoki continued slowly.

"But…there were these moments, when she thought I wasn't looking, that the light in her eyes faded just a little and her smile faltered. When her grip on my arm was a little tighter or she raced towards me just a little faster, as if she couldn't bare to waste a single moment of our time together, as if…if she doesn't hold on to me tightly enough, I would disappear. When that happened, I wondered if I was really doing the right thing, leaving to go to America."

"And are you? Doing the right thing I mean? I know this is a little late in the game to be having this conversation, but you're not quite on the plane just yet; there's still time to reconsider this whole thing. You don't have to go."

"Motoki…"

"Don't get me wrong, Mamoru. I think this is an awesome opportunity for you and that this is a right step towards achieving your dream of being a great doctor. But…I remember, only a few years ago, how indifferent you were to the people around you, even me sometimes. People labeled you off as cold and arrogant loner. Usagi-chan entered your life and everything seemed to change for you. She's probably the best thing to ever happen to you. She's the family you always wanted. Can you really leave her behind like this?"

And just outside the doorway, Usagi leaned against the wall waiting to hear the answer.

:: end of chapter 1 ::

Yay! Finished chapter 1. I'm going to begin chapter 2 within a few days so please be on the lookout for it! I'll try to have most of the story completed before my winter break is over because after that, it may take me a long time before I can post any updates. Please, if you have time, check out 'Where Do We Go From Here?' and review both that story and this one. Constructive criticism please! And thank you very much for reading. Happy holidays to one and all!