Disclaimer: Sailor Moon belongs to Naoko Takeuchi
In each of Mamoru's classes, the reaction was the same. His professors were falling all over themselves in an attempt to impress Serenity and make her feel welcome. She was gracious and regal with each one of them, every inch the princess. Mamoru was impressed at her composure. He wasn't sure he would have been as cool had he been in her position. In a way, however, her control disturbed him. Usagi would never have been able to mask her emotions so well. Or would she? If she were to have as much tragedy in her life, would she begin to hide her feelings from him? Would she no longer look to him for protection and comfort? He didn't like that idea at all. His Usako was bright and cheery. Well, at least she had been, until he'd broken her heart.
Mamoru was so deep into his thoughts that he didn't even notice when his last class had ended until someone waved a hand in front of his eyes. Glancing up, he saw Serenity standing in front of his desk, staring at him in puzzlement.
"Hello? Mamoru, are you alright? Everyone else has gone."
Mamoru blinked in confusion and then looked about him. She was right, they were the only ones left in the class room. The slight pink of embarassment stained his cheeks as it dawned on him that he had missed the entire lecture. He sighed with the realization that he'd have to ask someone for the notes. He certainly didn't relish that thought; he'd never live it down. Mamoru daydreaming in class. Shaking his head ruefully, he returned his gaze to Serenity, who was looking at him expectantly.
"Um, yeah, I'm fine. Thanks for asking."
"You seemed a bit preoccupied. Is it the enemy? Are you worried that they will attack soon?" Serenity asked, apprehension creeping into her gaze.
"No, no, it's nothing like that." Mamoru ran his hand through his hair. He couldn't very well tell her what had truly been in his thoughts, so he decided a change of subject was in order. "Looks like we'll have to make a stop in the dorms. I need to borrow someone's notes."
Serenity smiled at him and waved some papers in front of his face. "Do you mean these notes?" she asked with an elegantly arched brow.
Mamoru couldn't hide his astonishment. He grabbed the papers and studied them. The writing was very neat and precise, but somehow familiar. Serenity? The writing was what Usagi's might look like if she ever took the time to practice. "You took notes?" he asked in disbelief.
Serenity shrugged. "I was bored and it was pretty obvious that you weren't paying any attention. It was the least I could do, especially with how kind you have been to me. I know that I must be quite a burden to you." Serenity's eyes dropped to the desk as she finished. She was surprised when she felt his fingers under her chin and then he tilted her face up so that she was looking him in the eyes.
"Never believe that you are a burden. I want to help you. You're the best thing that's ever happened to me."
His midnight blue eyes bore into her own until she was certain he could see her very soul. His face was so close to hers that they seemed to be sharing the same breath. Time ceased to exist. Serenity could see such longing, pain, and need in his eyes that she no longer bear it. Compelled to answer that need, Serenity leaned closer, bringing her lips towards his...
BANG. Serenity and Mamoru both jumped and looked toward the sound.
"Oops. Sorry," a young freshman girl stammered out as she bent down to retrieve the book she had dropped on the floor. Her cheeks were slightly red and she quickly averted her eyes from the gorgeous couple who were just about to make out in front of her.
Serenity and Mamoru jumped away from each other and gathered up their belongings. Neither was willing to meet the other's eyes as they hurriedly exited the room, but their hands met and clung together as they raced down the hall.
They didn't stop running until they reached the park. Collapsing on a bench next to the fountain, they tried to catch their breath. Serenity immediately started giggling as she remembered the expression on Mamoru's face when he noticed the girl in the room with them. She didn't think it was possible for someone's face to become quite that deep a shade of red. Mamoru tried to scowl at her in mock anger, but he couldn't keep a straight face and he joined in with his own laughter. When they finally managed to regain control of themselves, they simply sat on the bench in companionable silence--Serenity leaning against Mamoru with his arm around her shoulders.
Serenity closed her eyes in contentment. This was what she wanted. Just to be with him. It didn't matter what the visions showed her. In her heart, she knew that he could never hurt her. He was a part of her. She loved him. A pleasant warmth began to build within her and Serenity smiled as she opened her eyes. She wanted to share her new-found knowledge with Mamoru.
An irritating beeping noise jerked Mamoru out of the pleasant languor he had been experiencing. It took him a moment to realize that it was Usagi's communicator.
"What is it?" Serenity asked, lifting her head up to look at him.
"The communicator. The Senshi must be in trouble," he answered as he activated the small device. "I'm here."
"Mamoru! There's a droid attack at the mall! We could really use some help." Sailor Mars spoke quickly and Mamoru could hear the battle going on in the background.
"We're on our way." Mamoru broke the connection and stood up, grabbing Serenity's hand. "Come on, we have to get to the mall."
As they approached the mall, Serenity and Mamoru had to struggle against the mob fleeing the building. As the the sounds of battle got louder, however, the crowd had thinned out and Mamoru took the time to find a secluded corner and transform into Tuxedo Mask.
Serenity stared in amazement as Mamoru transformed in front of her eyes. Gone were his brown slacks and black turtle neck. He now stood in front of her in an elegant tuxedo, complete with red-lined cape and top-hat. A white mask covered his eyes, and she wasn't sure she liked that. He gave her a reassuring smile, however, before taking her hand and working their way closer to the battle. Finally, they could see what was going on. The Senshi surrounded a two-story tall dragon that was constructed completely of mirrors. Every time it opened its mouth, shards of mirrored glass shot at a Sailor Senshi. Jupiter and Mercury both had bleeding cuts on their arms and legs where they had failed to dodge the flying glass.
"Serenity, stay here and try to stay out of sight." Mamoru told her as he sprinted off to help the tiring Senshi. He sent a barrage of roses at the dragon's head as he ran. Unfortunately, the mirror plating simply deflected them back at him and he had to cover himself with his cape to avoid being pricked by his own attack.
"It's no good. It just reflects all of our attacks back at us!" Jupiter yelled, barely dodging the next barrage of glass that came her way.
"Mercury, have you discovered a weakness?" Tuxedo Mask asked as he pushed Mars out of the path of the dragon's tail.
"Sorry. It's hard to get a reading on it. All the mirrors make it difficult to scan," she answered, still typing furiously on her computer even as she ducked behind a trash bin to avoid the glass coming her way.
Serenity watched the battle with growing unease. It wasn't going well. If they couldn't use their powers, how were they to defeat the beast? She felt like she should be doing something to help them. They told her that she now fought beside them. She should be helping! But how? She didn't know how to fight. Then all thought left her as she saw the dragon breathe it's deadly glass shards at Tuxedo Mask's unprotected back. He had bent down to help Venus to her feet after the dragon had swiped her with its tail.
"Behind you!" Serenity screamed.
Tuxedo Mask turned at her warning and managed to avoid most of the glass, but some of the shards embedded themselves in his shoulder. Without conscious thought, Serenity invoked the Ginzuishou. The tiara on her forehead cracked and fell away as light blazed forth from her crescent moon. Raising the Ginzuishou, Serenity screamed out with all of her strength, "Cosmic Moon Power!" Her eyes were wide and shining with power and wind whipped her hair about her as bright white light streaked toward the dragon.
All of the Senshi had turned at her scream and were paralyzed with shock and fear as they saw her use the awesome power of the Ginzuishou. A loud cracking noise turned their attention back to the dragon. Each mirrored plate of its hulking body fractured and, just for a moment, the creature was perfectly still. In the next instant, it shattered into glistening dust.
As soon as he had heard her call upon the power of the Ginzuishou, Tuxedo Mask had started running towards Serenity. The dragon, the Senshi, the pain in his shoulder, everything was forgotten as he rushed to her side. She had started to crumple as he reached her and he managed to catch her just before she hit the ground.
"Serenity! Serenity, come on, stay with me!" he cried as he frantically searched her face. Her skin had paled to an almost translucent hue and the crescent moon barely flickered upon her forehead. Taking her hand in his, he was chilled by its coldness. "Mercury!"
The Senshi, finally jogged out of their shock by his voice, ran to join him. Mercury scanned her princess as she approached.
"Oh no," she gasped.
"What is it?" Jupiter asked.
"She... she's dying. The Ginzuishou drained all of her strength," Mercury choked out as she burst into tears.
"No," Mars whispered as she tearfully gazed down upon her fallen princess.
Tuxedo Mask looked at the Senshi with stricken eyes. He couldn't lose her now. Not like this. "No, Mercury, there must be a mistake. There must be something we can do. I'll give her more of my energy..." he argued, but Mercury shook her head.
"It's too late. Her lifeforce is too low to absorb the energy." she whispered.
"Mamoru?" a soft voice interrupted them and Mamoru looked down into crystalline blue eyes.
"Yes love, I'm here." he answered just as softly.
Serenity smiled weakly. "Did I get it?"
"Yes, you got it." Mamoru nodded, tears falling silenty down his cheeks.
"Is everyone all right?" Serenity frowned, noticing his tears. "Why is it so cold?"
"Everyone's fine, Serenity. Just rest and I'll try to warm you." Mamoru soothed her as he unhooked his cape and gently wrapped it around her shivering body.
"There was something I wanted to tell you, earlier, in the park." Serenity whispered, struggling against the darkness that was hovering around the edges of her vision.
"Tell me," Mamoru pleaded, as he leaned closer in order to hear her.
"I wanted you to know that... that I love you." Serenity breathed as her eyes fluttered shut.
"Serenity! Usako! Usako, you can't leave me. I love you too much. Please, stay with me," Mamoru begged. "I love you, my princess," he whispered as his lips touched hers with a gentle kiss.
Serenity again felt the warmth building within her just as it had when they were in the park. But this time, when she felt his lips upon hers, it burst forth and spread throughout her body. Suddenly, all of her memories came flooding back and Usagi found herself right where she always wanted to be--in Mamoru's arms.
Mamoru felt Serenity's love wash over him in a golden wave of emotion. In its wake, he felt the comforting presence of his Usako within him once again. Hardly daring to hope that it was true, he slowly pulled away so he could look at her.
"Mamo-chan?" Usagi asked, reaching up to wipe away his tears. "Why are you crying?"
He didn't answer her immediately, he just stared at her face as if he were trying to imprint the image in his mind. The crescent moon had disappeared and her wide blue eyes regarded him with concern. At his continued silence, Usagi looked about her and saw the Senshi standing around them staring at her in awe. She offered them a weak smile. "Hey."
"Hey, yourself," Mars answered with a shaky smile of her own.
The other Senshi were about to approach her when Mamoru suddenly crushed her to him in a fierce hug.
"Usako," he whispered as he clung to her. "Don't ever leave me again."
"I'm alright, Mamo-chan, really." Usagi assured him as she returned his embrace. "I'm just a little tired, nothing a good night's sleep won't fix."
"Mercury?" Jupiter asked. Mercury smiled as she studied her computer. "She's right. She should rest for a day or so to build her strength back up, but she's going to be fine. All traces of Earth Sickness are gone."
"The link between them has been restored!" Venus exclaimed as she beamed at the two lovers. As the Senshi of Love, she could see the golden aura of love that surrounded them once again and she couldn't be happier.
"Not only that, but Tuxedo Mask's shoulder has been completely healed, as well." Mercury said in surprise.
"I guess that's just the power of love!" Jupiter said with a grin.
Mamoru stood up with Usagi still in his arms. "If rest is what you need, then rest is what you're going to get. You're staying in bed for the next two days and I want to see some color in those cheeks."
Usagi giggled in delight. "Will you make me pancakes?" she asked hopefully.