Title: The Twelve Roses of Christmas
Author: Sailor Song
Editor: Evangeline

Merry late Christmas everyone! I didn't want to wait a year to submit this so here it is. I long ago posted it on another site, but I re-edited it and changed the names to the Japanese. I just think there is more meaning in Usako than Sere... don't you?

This story is during the first season and Usagi can't stand Mamoru. Rei and Mamoru have gone out, but weren't really serious, and have broken up. It's in Usagi's P.O.V. the whole time. Because of that, most of the beginning is thinking.

A big thanks goes to my editor Evangeline. We were Sailor Moon groupies so long ago. E, if you find this again, I still value our friendship very much.

Disclaimer: I didn't get my very own Mamoru for Christmas, but my birthday is coming soon. Maybe then! I do not own Sailor Moon. I also don't own the various stores and items involved in Usagi's Christmas shopping. Well, I have some of the items, but I don't own the brand name!

"..." is for speaking
(...) Usagi sidetracking
(AN:...) Author sidetracking

...
Chapter 1: December 18th
...

I never thought I'd be so happy! Christmas really is the most wonderful time of year. It all started the week before Christmas...

December 18. Exactly one week before Christmas Day

"Alright, Usagi. I'll see you in four hours. Are you sure you want to go alone?"

"Yes, Mom. Everyone else is busy and I can't buy something for you if you're with me!"

"Okay. I'll meet you here at eight. Do you have enough money for dinner and shopping?"

I playfully rolled my eyes at her. I brought two hundred dollars with me. I was pretty sure that would cover dinner... even for a stomach like mine.

"Yes, Mom."

"Well," she called and began digging in her purse, "take an extra ten dollars and my cell phone. Call me if there is any trouble."

I took the money and phone. Every little bit helps!

"Okay, Mom. I love you. Bye."

"Bye, Usagi."

I turned from the car and ran as fast as I could before Mom remembered anything else. I couldn't wait to go holiday shopping. I had wanted to go with my friends. Of course, this gave me a chance to get everyone a gift without them knowing.

Naru was on a date with Umino, which, by the way, I helped make them a couple. Ami and Urawa were studying for the big end of the year test in June, seven months away. Not something I would do. Ever! Rei and Yuuichirou were busy with temple duties, or what I like to call chores. Something else I'd never do! And Mako-chan was giving cooking lessons to Motoki. That I would do... except last time I made a mess at the poor guys house, and considering I have a tiny crush on him, I didn't want to push my luck. Now I wouldn't care about cooking at Tuxedo Kamen's house...

So here I was at Tokyo's largest mall, alone, to spend money on friends, family, and ahem myself!

This is gonna be great! I thought and walked in.

The mall was gorgeous with dazzling the Christmas lights and the holiday music playing in the background. Everything was beautiful.

I looked at all the people walking around, or should I say... couples. I suddenly became very jealous of all the happy girls walking around with their boyfriend's hand entwined in their own.

Then I noticed a man walking alone. He seemed kind of sad. My sympathy overdrive was about to kick in until I recognized the man. Chiba Mamoru.

Now don't get me wrong. I love everyone and everything. On occasions Id love to smack my talking black cat Luna. Other than that, I'm nice to everyone.

But this man had a heart of ice that wasn't going to ruin my Christmas shopping.

I ran into the nearest store hoping he hadn't seen me. I looked around and saw some people giving me very strange looks. I smiled and glanced back to see if he had spotted me. Guess not.

Whew! That was close. What store am I in anyway? Let's see... Jewelry, accessories, purses. This could be promising. I walked around hoping to see something that would catch my eye for me to buy... for my friends of course.

I saw a row of necklaces that looked intriguing. They were silver and each had a different small, silver planet symbol charm on them. Thanks to the Sailor Senshi's popularity, it was easy for the girls and I to buy items with our symbols.

Rei, Mako-chan, and Ami will love these!

I grabbed Mars, Jupiter and Mercury, but I was suddenly compelled to buy the crescent moon (for me) and Venus as well. I was on my way to the checkout when I saw those wicked cool Karma Beads. I grabbed a pink necklace to see what kind it was.

Romance. This could be good for Naru. She and Umino really hit it off! I'm so proud of myself.

I then grabbed a red bracelet.

Love. Rei could use this. She just broke up with Mamoru and met a super hunky rock star at the temple. She just needs the extra push in the right direction. Yep, she's getting red.

I noticed a sign that advertised the bracelets on sale for two for 8 and the necklaces for two for 14.

No sense in letting good sales go to waste.

I grabbed a pink necklace like Naru's for me. (Hey, I needed a boyfriend! That hunky Tuxedo Mask would be perfect!) I also grabbed a clear bracelet.

Strength. Ill definitely need it to keep me calm in case I do run into Mamoru.

I walked to the cash register to purchase everything, but I didn't really pay much attention to the total price. I was too busy making sure Mamoru was gone. I handed the cashier some money and she gave me my change and bag of goodies.

I peeked out the doors to make sure he was gone. He was nowhere to be seen. In fact, no one was around. I walked out of the store and was about to continue shopping until something caught my eye. A perfect, thorn less, red rose lying at my feet. I picked it up gently and looked around.

I wonder who dropped this?

I looked again to see if anyone was insight. Nope.

Well, I'll hold onto it. Maybe someone is walking around with more of them.

I examined the rose as I continued to walk. It was absolutely beautiful, flawless, just like Tuxedo Kamen's roses.

Hmm... Could it be?

I looked up so I could see where I was going. I didn't want to make too big a fool of myself by tripping in the middle of the mall. To my horror, I once again saw that conceited jerk with an ego the size of the Earth just ahead of me.

Crap. What is he doing here? What to do... What to do... Aha! Bookstore!

I ran into the store. Then it hit me.

I hate books. Well, except comic books. I should get Ami something from here, but what? She probably has every book in the store. Wait a minute... A gift certificate! How perfect!

She's gonna love it! I thought as I slipped the certificate in my bag and walked to the exit of the store. I didn't bother looking for Mamoru-baka this time. Instead, I looked on the floor out of fun to see if another rose might appear.

It did.

What is going on? I asked myself quite confused as I bent down to pick up the rose that was, once again, perfect.

I know, it is the same rose I found earlier and it fell...

My idea faded when I pulled out the other from my bag.

Okay! Who is dropping all these roses? Could they actually be for me? No way!

I looked around again to see if anyone was anywhere to be seen. Just as before no one was around.

Okay... where is everybody? Its... its... (what time is it anyway?) I glanced at my watch 4:30. School's out till next year, its Saturday, and no one is here.

I began walking on, now determined to find someone. I put both roses in my bag and I looked for any signs of life in the mall.

The romantic in me began to come out as I walked.

Let's imagine the perfect guy. Totally romantic, way cool, dark hair, mysterious eyes, deep, sexy voice... (Do you know who I'm referring to? Yep! Tuxedo Kamen! I bet every girl dreams of having their own Tuxie. Sorry girls... he's mine. Who does he save? Me! Sure, he does save the other Senshi, but who did he save first? Me!)

I was brought from my (to say the least) wishful thinking, when I finally saw someone. I felt like running up and kissing them... until I saw who it was.

Of course! Why wouldn't the one person in sight be Mamoru? Heck, my luck we'll end up being the last people on Earth! No, no... even worse. We'll be stuck on an elevator together because of the Negaverse and I'll reveal to him that I'm Sailor Moon so I can save his butt!

He was sitting on a bench right in front of me reading a book.

Who comes to the mall to read?

I sweatdropped as I thought of all the people I knew who would.

Ami, Urawa, Umino... Mamoru...

I was a deer trapped in headlights. How was I supposed to get past Mamoru? If I were to run we all know I'd trip and fall.

Oh look, a store!

I slowly crept into the closest store to me. The aroma was breathtaking. Sweet, glorious smells filled the room. I was in heaven. Well, actually... a lotion store. (Hey, close enough.)

Who do I have left to buy for? I want to get something else for Rei. Then I have Mako-chan, Mom, Dad, Shingo, and Motoki. Are those the only people?

I looked around at the walls filled with all sorts of fragrances. All kinds of sales were displayed everywhere.

Three for 10 or five for 15 for antibacterial lotions. Hmm... I'm getting good at bargain shopping!

I began to smell each kind.

Antibacterial. Mako-chan could use this for when she's cooking. How perfect!

I grabbed five different kinds from the selves. (No... I'm not spending more on Mako-chan than anyone else. I need some lotion too!)

I saw a large bottle of hand cream that was 6.

This would be perfect for Rei. (Come on! The girl shoots fire from her fingers. Her hands have to be dry.) With that settled, I headed to the checkout.

After paying for my large purchase, I headed to the front of the store.

How am I going to get out of here if Mamoru is still out there?

I looked at the bench he'd been occupying, but he had (thankfully) left. I almost felt bad I'd been avoiding him because he looked really lonely. Well… almost.

However, I have to admit that every time I almost run into him, I find a present for someone.

I walked out and wasn't surprised to see another rose on the ground. I simply picked it up and put it in the bag with the others.

Either someone is really clumsy... (like me) or these are actually for me, I thought rather curiously. I'd always wanted a secret admirer. This was getting interesting.

Detective Usagi is on the case. Now let's see… I've been coming to this mall all my life, and never once have I ever seen someone selling roses here...

My stomach growling interrupted my thoughts. Dinner, it's time for the food court.

There wasn't a large crowd in the food area. Not that I was surprised. No one had been around all night.

I ordered a combo of chicken nuggets and fries. I couldn't wait to eat. I hadn't had anything since... since lunch, and anyone who knows me knows I love to eat.

How long have I been here? I wondered and looked at my watch.

It's 5:00! Only an hour has passed? I feel like I've been here for 3 hours.

The man gave me my food and I found somewhere to sit. Before I could enjoy one bite, guess who I saw. Yep, of course, Mamoru. I was a sitting duck. He'd only have to spot me and I'd be stuck. There was no way I could choose between food and my bags of presents, and I couldn't carry both. I had to hide, but where?

Where else? I slid out of my seat and fell to the floor.

Good, Usagi, I thought, mentally slapping myself. He'll never see you here. You would choose a restaurant with no tablecloths...

Then I heard it. That voice that angers me so and yet sends chills up my spine.

"Hey, Odango Atama."

I'd been caught.

I looked up to see a very confused Mamoru looking down at me.

"Oh. Hi Mamoru."

Well, maybe he didn't sound mean then, but he can be. Wait! Did he call me...

"Don't call me Odango Atama," I declared to him. Idiot. He should know my name by now.

He began to chuckled and offered me a hand.

"The floor isn't the greatest place to eat, you know," he commented rather smartly.

"Its not the greatest place to hide either," I muttered under my breath and took his hand.

"Hm?" he asked as I stood.

"Nothing," I replied, rolling my eyes. "So what are you doing here?" I asked him kind of hatefully.

"Oh," he said taken aback. "Just wanted to say hi."

Right then I started to feel guilty. It is Christmas. I should be somewhat nicer to him.

"Do you want to eat here with me?"

Oh no! Did those words just come out of my mouth?

"Sure, Usagi. That would be nice," he said and walked over to order something to eat.

Yep. Oh no… what have I done? Wait… did he just call me Usagi?

He came back to my two seating table with the exact same meal I had. Except he had...

"Cheesecake!" I shrieked. (I love cheesecake) "I didn't know they sold that here."

"Yep. And it's really good. I figured you didn't know, otherwise there would be none left."

I glared at him as he laughed to himself. He then brought a second out, but with chocolate on top.

"Very funny," I said. "What about you. Are you going to eat two?"

"No. This is for you," he said and slid it over to me.

"Me?"

Me! Why is he being so nice? We're supposed to hate each other... aren't we?

"Yes you," he said. "I just thought I'd be a little nicer to you."

Is this guy reading my mind?

"Why?" I asked rather suspiciously.

"Because, well... You're Motoki's friend. And Motoki has great taste when it comes to friends."

"That's true," I said. The conversation suddenly became very quiet as we both began to eat. (Can you believe I actually ate slowly! Well I did. I hear the shock in your gasp. But I don't think Mamoru could believe it either.)

"So are you here shopping for your parents?" I asked.

I didn't realize that my simple question would cause Mamoru's face to pale as it did. Then I saw it. That mask. The mask he always wears to hide his feelings.

What did I say? Maybe he had an argument with them. Maybe they never loved him. Or maybe they have...

I didn't need to wonder anymore. I knew the answer. Mamoru didn't have to tell me. The look in his deep blue eyes told my heart I'd discovered the truth, painful as it was. But he surprised me with what he did next. He took the mask off and opened up to me.

"They died... when I was little... in a car crash. I survived, but... I don't remember anything about them..."

How horrible. He's an orphan. What do I say to that? I wish I'd never asked. I never wanted to hurt him.

I suddenly became very interested in the french fry in my hand. I couldn't look at him. Why did I have to ask him that? Why...

I felt his fingers under my chin and he gently tilted it up so I could look at him.

"I'm sorry, Mamoru. I... I didn't mean to. I..."

"You didn't know, Usagi," he said softly and smiled. "No one does, except Motoki."

"Then why'd you tell me?"

I was about to cry. I hate sad stories.

"Because I want to be your friend, Usagi. I hate when I make you mad at me. Each time I do, I never know if you'll ever speak to me again. I'm going to make changing my attitude towards you be my New Years resolution."

Wow! I never in a million years thought I'd hear that. Mamoru, a college student, wants to be my friend. He isn't mean at all. Just lonely.

"Why don't we start early then?"

His eyes lit up with so much happiness when I said that.

"Okay. Thank you, Usagi."

"For what?" I asked surprised

"For everything..." he said with a solemn look. He still had a hint of sadness that made me feel bad I'd even said anything.

My favorite quote could come in handy right now.

"Never frown when you are sad," I started, getting his attention, "for you never know when someone is falling in love with your smile." I love that quote. (AN: So do I!)

Mamoru looked at me and smiled.

"You should really do that more," I said finally finished with my food and now starting on the desert.

"Do what?" he asked opening his cheesecake.

"Smile. It looks really good on you." Did I just say that?

He chuckled and took a bite. I looked at my watch. 5:30. I have two and a half hours to spend. Maybe now I won't shop alone.

"How long are you going to be at the mall, Mamoru?"

"I don't know. I'm just here to waste time. How long will you be here?"

"A couple more hours."

"Are you here alone?"

"Yeah. Hey do you want to shop with me?" I asked impulsively as I finished up the cheesecake. (It wasn't a big cheesecake, mind you.)

"Sure," he said finishing his as well. "That would be fun."

"Okay. I have three or four guys to buy Christmas presents for and I need some help."

Maybe I'll even find something for you.

We threw our garbage away and walked out of the food court together.

I can't believe just 30 minutes ago I was trying to avoid the guy and now...

"Hey, Usagi," Mamoru said pulling me from my thoughts.

"Hm?"

"Is that yours?" he asked pointing down.

I looked. Guess what it was. Yep, no mystery here. Another rose was lying outside of the restaurant.

"No," I answered picking it up. "But this is the fourth one I've found today."

"What did you do with them?" he asked as we began walking.

"Oh, I've been carrying them around to see if I can find the owner," I said and put it with the others.

"That's honest of you, but you don't think they could be for you?"

"Well... no."

But how I wish they were.

"When did you find them?"

"After every store I came out of. Why?" Now I was curious. Does he know something?

"Sounds like someone is giving them to you."

"I don't believe it. How? Why?" No way. Roses for me?

"Okay, I'll prove it," he said and walked in a store.

He left me. What in the heck is he doing?

I entered the store he'd just walked in. It was empty except for a few clerks and me.

No wonder its empty. It's a kitchen supplies store. How boring. (Unless you're Mom or Mako-chan!) But, where's Mamoru?

"Odango!"

Did he just call me... I'm going to kill him!

"Where were you," I asked. I really didn't think it would be hard to spot his black hair and (ugh!) green jacket.

"Making sure no one else is in the store besides you and me."

"Why... oh! I get it." (Yeah, I really did get it.) "You want to prove someone is giving me the roses aren't you," I said and started walking out. (Told ya I caught onto his logic.) "Sorry, Mr. Chiba, but I believe your conclusions are wro..." I stopped suddenly.

Darn him. Did he have to be right? Rose number five lay there in front of the store entrance like all the others had.

"What did you say, Usagi?"

"Oh, shut up," I said as I bent down to pick it up. I was getting kind of worried.

Some lunatic could be following me around the mall.

"Was I right?" he asked in an annoying, mocking sort of voice.

"Of course, Mr. Smarty-pants," I said putting the rose in his face.

"Smells good," he replied.

"Ooh! You're impossible!" I walked away from him and put the rose in my bag.

"Hey, wait up, Usa!" he called and caught up to me.

Usa! I guess that's better than Odango Atama.

"What's wrong?" he asked keeping with my increasing pace.

"Nothing. Why should anything be wrong?" I questioned him while walking on. Some strange person is stalking me and leaving me roses everywhere. Normal people wouldn't be worried about something like that.

"You seem upset," he said as he crossed my path to stop me.

I didn't answer him. I simply looked at my shoes.

"Are you mad at the fact that I was right or you were wrong?"

What did he just say? Of all the egotistical, egocentric, self-absorbed...

I looked up at him with anger in my eyes.

The anger died when I saw a smile appear on his face. I knew that smile. I'd seen it several times before on his face. Every time he'd get a rise out of me Id see that devious smile appear.

"I just wanted to get your attention. Not make you mad."

"I know. I'm just kinda worried."

"About the mysterious rose giver?"

"Yeah."

Then, Chiba Mamoru did something I never thought I'd ever see him do.

"Never fear, Lady Odango Atama. I shall protect you!" he exclaimed triumphantly with his finger pointed high in the air.

My goodness... This man is a total nutcase! I couldn't believe this boring, usually sensible man was making a scene in the mall. I blushed as the people who were passing gave us weird looks.

"I shall keepith yon flower dragon away!" he proclaimed, put his arm around my waist and pulling me close to him.

There goes hoping I wouldn't make a fool of myself today.

I was warm in his embrace as he stood in the middle of the mall protecting me. He coat (ugly as it was) smelled of sweet flowers.

Wait... whoa... time out! What is wrong with this picture?

Mamoru... holding me... middle of mall...

"Mamoru please. People are staring," I said trying to pull away from his protective arm.

"Huh? What!" he questioned and snapped out of his knight-in-shining-armor trance. "What happened?"

Did he not even realize what he did? Heh heh... this could be fun!

"You just made a fool of yourself in front of a lot of people. That's all," I told him watching his face pale.

He really doesn't know. I'm never going to let him live this down!

"How did I do that?" he asked confused. I pulled him close to me and whispered in his ear. "I did what!" he exclaimed.

I giggled as his face turned an extremely bright color of red. I never envisioned Mamoru to have multiple personalities. That was enough to make me double over with laughter.

"Was it that funny?" he asked me as his face returned to its normal color.

"Your... face... I'll... protect..." Tears were coming to my eyes because I was laughing so hard.

"You think its funny, do you, Odango?" he said with a funny look in his eye.

I slowed my laughing and was about to yell at him for calling me by that stupid nickname, until I saw that look.

"Uh-oh... Mamoru, what are you going to do?"

At this point I'd stopped laughing altogether and was getting a little nervous.

What is he up to?

Then he found it. That stupid spot on my body that was so incredibly ticklish: the side of my stomach.

A thousand feelings went through my head when he found the spot. I wanted to smack him, scream, kick, jump, and run, but I was frozen and unable to decide for myself which to do. So my body chose for me. I burst into another fit of giggles. Unable to keep my feet planted, I fell to the ground, but luckily, my bottom broke my fall.

How lucky for me!

"Owwwwwww!" I shrieked still giggling.

"Are you okay, Usagi?" he asked sounding really concerned.

"Yeah. I'm just going to have a painful bruise, that's all."

"I'm sorry, Usa," he said and offered me a hand.

"Don't worry about it," I told him and stood. "You of all people should know I fall all the time."

"That's true!"

"Hey! I'm yawn not that yawn clumsy, am I?"

"No, but you seem awfully tired."

"Yeah, just a little. What time is it anyway?"

I looked at my watch almost expecting it to say 8:00. Instead it was only...

"6 o clock. I don't think I could even yawn shop anymore and it's only six!"

"Well, do you want me to take you home?"

"I... er... um..." I was completely shocked.

"I don't mind."

"Would it be out of your way?"

"I doubt it. You live in the Juuban area, right? I live in Azabu. Its on my way."

It is?

"Okay. Thanks. I'll call my mom just in case to see if she's left to get me." I pulled her cell phone out and dialed my home number. Luckily Mom answered it. This would be hard to explain to Dad. He'd go crazy.

"Hi, Momma, it's me."

"Hey, sweetie. Are you okay?" Typical Mom.

"Yes, I'm just a little tired. A... friend I ran into has offered to take me home, if that's alright?"

"Sure, honey. See you soon."

"Bye," I said and hung up. "Okay, I'm ready."

"Let's go."

We left the mall and walked to the parking lot. I was so surprised with how quickly Mamoru and I became friends. If we kept up at our current pace of friendship we might be going... out... Whoa, Usagi! Get that thought out of your head. This is Mamoru were talking about here!

I looked out in the parking lot to see if I could spot the car that Mamoru would drive. I saw an ugly green car that matched his jacket. It had to be his.

He turned down to the driver's side and pulled his keys from his pocket.

I couldn't resist.

"So, Mamoru. I see you found a car that actually matches your outfit," I teased.

"Yeah, Odango. I always thought black went with everything."

"Huh?"

I was dumbfounded. Then he turned and opened the passenger door of a gorgeous (and very expensive looking) black sports car. No way! THAT'S his car?

"Well, are you coming, Usagi?"

"Um... yeah... coming," I stuttered and walked over to him. I put my bags on the floor, and then slid into the comfy leather seat.

"Did you get all your shopping done?" he asked shutting the door and then started the car.

"No. I guess I'll have to come back tomorrow," I said as I buckled my seat belt.

"Why don't we go together?" he asked as he fastened his belt and began to pull out of the parking space.

"You're not busy?"

"No. I have to come back tomorrow, too."

"Okay."

We didn't say anything more during the ride. Probably because I fell asleep. There was no school today so I didn't get a nap, plus the motion of the car put me to sleep.

"Odango Atama!" I heard a male voice call.

"Hmm..." I muttered. Then I realized what HE said. "Don't call me that!" I exclaimed, now wide-awake. The man next to me just laughed.

"We're here."

"What?" I looked out the window. "How did you know where I live?"

"Well, um... I followed you home after our fight at the arcade last week to apologize. But before I could find the words to tell you, you were home."

"Oh." I glanced up at him. He really didn't have a heart of ice. He could be really sweet. "Well, thanks for the ride," I said, getting out.

"Hey, Usa," he called stopping me.

Usa. I'm beginning to like that!

"Yeah."

"Are we still going shopping tomorrow?"

"Yeah. I can't wait! I'll call you if anything changes."

"Okay. I'll pick you up at two," he said as I began to shut the door. "Hey, wait. You have my number?"

"I got it from Motoki. I... I was going to apologize to you, too."

He smiled at me as I shut his car door. I waved good-bye to him and walked to the door of my house.

Am I falling in love with this man? I wondered as I walked inside. This time I didn't second-guess myself. I knew was.