Mystery of the Day

A short fic for Mamo-chan's b'day between exams won't hurt, right? And if you're really observant, you may find traces of pseudo-studying (namely for English. DIE!) Enjoy!

"Something on my face?" Mamoru asked with a hint of impatience in his smooth voice, causing Usagi to jump slightly. His eyes softened when he noticed perplexed expression on her face, but he concluded it was probably because she finally passed a Maths exam or something.

Remaining silent, Usagi slid on a stool next to Mamoru and propped her elbows on the counter, resting her chin on her hands, not taking a break from her contemplation. Slightly puzzled by her behaviour, Mamoru took a sip of his coffee and turned his attention back to his beloved volume of "The Corpuscles of Newtonian Spatial Locus".

After a good ten minutes of silence, Mamoru stole a peek at Usagi, and found she was in the same position as she first sat, staring off into space. He felt himself intrigued by this concentrative Odango, and wondered what was the cause of these recent developments.

"Any reason why you're here?" he asked casually, hoping she wouldn't detect his eagerness.

"Just thinking," was the short, indifferent reply, arousing further interest in him.

"Anything in particular?"

"Not really." She turned her face to him, and Mamoru fought hard to keep the smile which tugged his lips at seeing her adorable expression of utter concentration. "Well, there is sort of something..."

"Sharing is caring," he declared in a completely serious voice, though his eyes twinkled.

"That's what I always say to my friends when I want their notes during exam-time," she grumbled – more to herself than for his sake, Mamoru suspected. "I guess I just don't understand some of life's mysteries."

"Like what?" he prompted, keeping his face straight.

"Like why you have to wear that ugly jacket all the time. Isn't it also a bit too hot for it?" She poked his shoulder to show her point, and her finger bounced back upon contact of the effective anti-intrusion shoulder pads. Letting out a defeated sigh, she shook her head sadly and resumed her chin-on-hands 'thinking' position.

He didn't know whether to be amused or insulted. He wasn't even sure if she had just made a statement or intended it to be a question to answer – certainly not by him though, at the rate of brain cell usage she was currently undergoing. Though this wasn't like a typical fight they had, it was a battle of sorts, and he was the one being dismissed. He wasn't about to let that happen again.

"Are you saying that you don't like it?" he asked, getting her attention again. Feeling his ribs about to crack at the seriousness of her face, he pouted. "I'm hurt."

"It's not that you're not cute or anything – don't give me that look, you know you're gorgeous – but I really don't understand why you're attracted to such a disgusting thing."

"Hey, what's so bad about it?" He wasn't about to let his ego suffer due to his neglect of this battle, especially since the faint tint on his cheek was starting to betray that her admission had really caught him off guard.

Her brows knit tighter, Usagi chewed on her lip thoughtfully, taking an entire minute before answering him. "I suppose it's more because you're always wearing it that makes it so boring to the point of irritation."

"It's not really like I have a choice Odango," he replied, becoming annoyed that she had unconsciously broached a subject he was rather sensitive about. Though a part of his mind nagged at him that he didn't have to justify his actions, he ignored it. "I'm a busy person, and don't have the time to meander through aisles of menswear so I could be aesthetically pleasing to you."

Usagi absorbed this with a solemnity that was starting to unnerve him, and he couldn't help snapping: "Besides, my lack of wardrobe is another thing you can insult me about. You should be glad."

"Why don't you just take out some of the time we spend bickering to buy something nice, comfortable and different that you can wear every now and then?" She asked as if he was a completely logical solution to his problem. Which it was.

"As I said, no time," he growled, fed up with this newly revealed side of Usagi. "And frankly, I just don't care."

Something seemed to click in Usagi's mind, and she suddenly jumped to her feet, a huge smile plastered on her face, eyes shining. Her loud, cheerful tone was the last thing he expected to hear. "Hey, thanks for that, Mamoru-baka! Have fun brooding over your Einstein thingy-mabobs!"

He refrained from shouting an "It's Galileo and Newton" across the room and watched as she avoided two near collisions with a schoolgirl and a chair, nearly being closed on by the arcade's automatic doors if it wasn't for the boy who triggered the sensor from outside, who she nearly crashed into as well. The world was back to normal again.

As Usagi browsed her way through flannel pullovers, she thought back to the "mystery of the day" which haunted her since the morning. Rei had let it slip a couple of months ago that today was Mamoru's birthday, and Usagi had plundered through her ideas to find something suitable which she could give him as a gift. Unfortunately, she realised that she didn't know much about Mamoru's interests, and had thought she could receive some 'I-want-this-for-my-birthday' vibes if she studied the way he sat and drank his coffee.

Though she admit the distraction his view offered was quite pleasant – she was starting to get a headache from the over-thinking – she had to remind herself that she was on a mission, and he was supposed to be a source of inspiration, nothing more. Too bad he had to open his mouth...

But then, she realised that if she overworked her brain, she could solve two mysteries for the day, which meant she would be free from pondering why chickens had feathers or nothing could come of nothing tomorrow! How exciting! And better for her, not only did the baka solve the mystery for her, but she also found out a possible present she could give him. Life was starting to get too good for a Wednesday.

It never really occurred to her that Mamoru was such a busy man, seeing he always seemed to be hanging around the arcade, doing practically nothing. If it wasn't for the time factor, she could've simply gave him a gift voucher, though she couldn't trust him to find a suitable replacement for the jacket, if he tried at all. So instead, she was the one wandering around the store, mentally dressing Mamoru up in all sorts of ensembles that she passed by.

She turned a corner, and something caught her eye. Something that would definitely encourage him to keep the green thing in the closet for at least a few weeks. Something that, according to the mental image forming as she drooled non-so-subtly, would offer her a very nice view of his assets, a sight which she would certainly approve of, and was now more than eager to experience. Something that was soft, and suave, and... Expensive.

Reluctantly, she reached for her wallet.

"So, you're back." Mamoru took his time to ensure the last bits of information about Projectile Motion was fine-tuned and stored in his mind before he slowly turned to face her. At least she was fidgeting this time.

"Uh, hi." She raised a hand and waved at him, despite the fact that he was close enough to feel the wind caused by her flapping. "So, um..."

He looked at her, and did the eyebrow-raise-of-doom. He really didn't know what he should be thinking at the moment.

"Well, good news is, I got to solve two mysteries of the day" – he was started to become mystified himself – "but the bad news is, well..."

She held the gift bag to him in an offering gesture. "I'll have to starve for the rest of my life."

Confused, Mamoru took the bag and looked inside, seeing a wrapped bundle which added to his questions. Better voice them now than never.

"Why is that? And what is this?"

"Mum's been giving us food money lately, and if I want to save up for anything, I'd have to sacrifice recess, lunch, and the occasional afternoon snack," she explained dramatically, flailing her arms around and emphasising the important meals. "Of course, my wonderful friends are always willing to take up charity, and when Ami and Minako's lunches have been exhausted, I go off to leech from Makoto. She's my favourite leechee."

Mamoru's head was spinning, and he wasn't sure if he wanted to know any more...

"And that's your present," she bubbled after an oxygen inhaling break, "which you'd better replace that evil thing with, else I'll never forgive you!"

"Present?" he mumbled intelligibly. "Isn't it too hot for Christmas?"

"Ha! Too hot for Christmas, but not hot enough for the green jacket! I knew something was wrong with you!" Not wanting to start another fight when she was in fact unsure of how he would react to the gift, she abruptly changed his direction of thoughts to suit her purposes. "Just open it!"

"Alright, I will." Defeated (again), Mamoru took out the package and caught the envelope that dropped out. Placing the bundle on his lap, he opened the paper and took out the extremely colourful card and cautiously read its contents.

'Dear Mamoru-san,

If you're reading this, then it means I've solved the mystery for the 3rd of August, and in time! Yay for me! I hope you'll like whatever I've gotten you (because I'm sure it's good, otherwise I wouldn't have given it to Mr. I'm-uber-hard-to-please), and that you'll have lots of fun this year. Happy birthday!



P.S. Would you be insulted if I asked you how old you're turning?

P.P.S. Could you please tell me anyway?

P.P.P.S. Ahahahaha! I just realised, you owe me a present now! Yay!'

Shocked, he looked up to Usagi's eager eyes, which were practically commanding him to open his present before the anticipation overtook her and she ripped the wrapping herself. His hands worked on the paper numbly, thoughts overwhelming him. 'It's my birthday...? Oh... So it is... Gee, who would've thought...'

His fingers met supple leather, and he slowly unfolded a sleek black jacket, the clean smell of leather drifting to his nose. Burying his face in the material, he deeply inhaled the scent, marvelling at how soft it felt against his face. When he looked at Usagi's expectant face again, he felt his throat tightening, and the jacket started trembling in his hands.

"Thank you," he whispered, unsure of how else to express the heart-warming sensation which filled him at the moment.

"You're welcome," she smiled in relief, hoping that he had actually liked it. Technically, her job was done here for today, but for some reason (one that didn't include seeing him take off the green evilness and the flexing of muscles which would surely take place as he tried out her present), she wanted to linger for just a bit longer...

"But why?" His question surprised her, and for a moment she didn't know what to make of it. "I mean, I haven't exactly been the nicest person to you, and you obviously went through a lot of trouble..."

She relaxed and smiled, as if giving him something was the most natural thing she's ever done. "Because today's your special day, so you deserve all the happiness the world can offer." The sweet sincerity in her voice sent him soaring in happiness and something else he couldn't quite define...

"Well, I'm 21 now," he looked at her, desperately wanting to show her these feelings he couldn't even comprehend. "I think."

"You think? How can you not know?" She was half-unbelieving, half-laughing, which in turn brought a smile to his lips.

"I don't keep track of these unimportant things," he replied, mirth returning to his sapphire orbs. He realised that as long as she continued laughing and smiling with him, he had all the time in the world to discover and relay the emotions swirling within him. "Unlike some other matters, such as the mystery of what to get you for your birthday."

"Bleh, that's years away! You could just ask me out for dinner tonight—" She paused, unbelieving of how she had let her thoughts flow unmonitored again. Hastily, she tried to remedy what was the beginning of some serious flirting. Imagine that, flirting with Mamoru-baka! "To celebrate, you know. 21 is an important age!"

"Dinner sounds great. Your call!" He had seen the confusion that flashed through her face when she stopped mid-sentence, and realised that just maybe, he wasn't alone in having these feelings. He held out his arm, which she gladly took.

"Anything to make you pay back for an eternity of food-begging!"

Something stopped her, as the frown returned to her face, puzzling him. "You are going to rid that cotton muck for leather goodness, right?"

A warm chuckle resonated through the arcade, and Usagi found herself momentarily mesmerised in the sound. When he fixed his gaze on her, something warm and fuzzy seemed to jump inside her. "Would you like me to change now?"

And she got the view she wanted.