Bed of Nails
By Jaina

This takes place at an undisclosed time sometime after the Stars season
and way before Crystal Tokyo. As for rating...let's just say that if
you never took 9th grade health class, you don't need to be reading this,
though there is certainly nothing approaching explicit. I really, really
don't own Sailor Moon.

This is the product of a mind pondering angsty fic and the songs "One" and
"With Or Without You" by U2, especially the latter, though this is not a
songfic. While this piece does have a beginning, middle and end, it is not
so much a story as it is an interlude from a possible future. I don't
believe that this is what would happen (obviously not, from what we've seen
in the anime), nor do I particularly believe that this should happen. This
was just one of those rare instances when a set of words and images lodged
itself in my mind and I could not write a word of anything else until I
finished this. As of now, I don't plan on writing a sequel or continuation.
If the muse showers me with pixie dust (aka crack), all bets are off, so
never say never.

Flame on!


Ring firmly clasped in hand, Mamoru practically leapt from his car to
the pavement. In the back of his mind, a little voice whispered that
perhaps this should be done more romantically; say, with candles,
dinner, dancing? He ignored the voice and hurried across the lawn.
What were superficial tricks of society, invented so people would
conform to what was "romantic," coincidentally spending lots of
money at the same time, compared to their love? Mamoru was
certain. The time was right. He was here, Usako was here, and
neither of them was brainwashed, dying, or otherwise incapacitated.
He had his mother's engagement ring to give her. What else

Mamoru ignored the doorbell and let himself in-that was what his
spare key was for, right?-but slowed as he ascended the stairs.
Instead of the bouncy techno-pop or anime that Usagi usually blared
when her family was away, he heard what sounded like soft, hitching
sobs coming from her room. He opened his mouth to call to her, but
was cut off by another voice.

"Usagi-chan, please tell me what's wrong," Mamoru heard Makoto
say. He tiptoed forward until he could see into Usagi's room through
the cracked-open door. Both girls sat on Usagi's bed. His Usako lay
hunched against the wall amidst tangled bedsheets, knees curled to
her face, arms wrapped around her legs. Her unmade hair fell in limp
strands, masking her face. Makoto had a hand on her friend's
shoulder, obviously trying to comfort her without knowing what to
do. Mamoru moved forward to console his beloved, then hesitated;
something inside him told him to wait, that Usagi would not want him
to see her like this. He waited.

"I'm fine, Mako-chan," Usagi paused in her sobs long enough to
respond. "Nothing's-I don't need your help," she corrected herself,
apparently recognizing that she could hardly deny that anything was

"Usagi, stop being a baka," Makoto said exasperatedly. "You've
cocooned yourself in here all day. Your eyes look like mushrooms!
They're so puffy I'm surprised you can see at all. Being by yourself
obviously isn't helping, so I want you to tell me what's upset you so

"Just go away, Makoto," Usagi choked, burrowing her face further
into her knees. Mamoru almost cried out himself at the despondent
timbre of her voice. "There's nothing you can do. I need to be

Makoto stood and bit her lip for a long moment. "I'm getting
Mamoru-kun," she said at last.

"NO!" Usagi jerked her head up at last, and this time Mamoru did
gasp at the sheer wide-eyed desperation he saw in her face. "You
can't, Mako, please no," she begged.

"Why *not*, Usagi-chan?" Makoto asked. "What happened that's so
bad that you can't even share it with Mamoru?"

He was wondering the same thing. Mamoru's previous feelings of
elation had dwindled to practically nothing as he eavesdropped. This
sense of despair was unlike anything he'd ever seen from Usagi; the
closest had been Michiru and Haruka had taken Hotaru and no one
knew if the young senshi was alive or dead. This seemed almost
worse, if that were possible. Mamoru felt a chill settle into his bones,
a gnawing sense that desperately wrong was occurring and for all his
power, he could do nothing to stop it.

"Usagi-chan?" Makoto pressed. "I can't help you if you don't share
with me."

"You can't help this," Usagi whispered. "No one can."

"At least let me try," Makoto pleaded.

Usagi's shoulders slumped and she bowed her head, speaking more to
her hands than to her friend. "If…if I tell you, you have to promise
not to tell anyone," she said softly.

"I would never," Makoto protested.

"I mean *anyone*. Not Mamoru, not the other senshi, not anyone."

She called him...Mamoru.

"Usagi-chan…" Makoto took her hand and kissed the knuckles. "I

This prompted a weak smile from Usagi. Mamoru, on the other
hand, was feeling an increasing sense of dread. Get out, his
subconscious screamed at him, leave now while you still can.
Respect the one you love. She doesn't know you're here. She
doesn't want you to hear this.

*You* do not want to hear this.

"I haven't seen Mamoru in a week or so," Usagi began slowly.
"Lately he's been really busy with his residency. We've…we've had
some fights recently."

They were just arguments, Usako, Mamoru sent to her mentally.
They meant nothing. I love you, always and forever. You have to
believe that.

"The last time I saw him, he said he wasn't sure where we should go
next," she continued, unaware of his telepathic pleas. "I thought he
was having second thoughts about our future."

But I didn't mean it like that.

"Yesterday Seiya came over," Usagi said.

"Seiya?" Makoto gasped. "They're back? Oh, Usagi-chan, that's
good news, isn't it?"

"Hai," she nodded. "That's what I thought. Seiya-kun said that he,
Yaten and Taiki are to serve as ambassadors from their planet now
that Galaxia has restored its star seeds. I…hugged him."

"So?" Makoto seemed perplexed. "I've hugged him too, Usagi-chan.
A hug is no big deal."

"That's not all," Usagi whispered.

Mamoru shook his head. Replayed her words in his mind. Not all?
What else could there be? Usagi would never...

"He asked me what's been happening since they left," she said. "I
filled him in on everything. Minako-chan's play, Rei-chan's
grandfather…and then he asked about Mamoru. I…told him about
the arguments we've been having, how scared I've been feeling.
That's when he hugged me. He told me that Mamoru was an idiot if
he couldn't appreciate me…"

Mamoru was inclined to agree if he'd missed Usagi's pain, but--

"He told me he loved me," Usagi said. A bomb went off in
Mamoru's chest. He struggled to contain the fire building inside, and
then "…he kissed me. I didn't push him away."

Makoto gasped loud enough that it covered up the sound of pain that
escaped Mamoru's lips. "Oh, Usagi-chan," she said in shock,
"but…but if you're crying now that means you're sorry it happened,
right? Seiya is a very good friend and you were upset, things happen.
If you just explain to Mamoru-kun that it didn't mean anything…"
Usagi emitted a loud sob. "Usagi-chan, what is it?"

"I am sorry it happened," Usagi choked. "I'd do anything to take it
back. But I was so alone, so scared, I wasn't thinking straight. I
*needed* someone and Seiya was just there, and he was saying all
these things…I didn't mean to, Mako, but he kept kissing me and
kissing me and I felt so loved and he didn't stop touching me and

No. No. Please, Usako, don't say it…don't say that you…

She raised her voice once more. "Mako…I slept with Seiya," she

In the stunned silence that followed, one could almost hear the faint
breaking of Chiba Mamoru's heart.