A Silent Look of Understanding
By Aislinn Cailin
The first time it was passion.
"BAKA! BA-KAA! BAKAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!"
"Do you hear that?"
Usagi stopped mid-yell. "What?"
"I think the windows are breaking."
She saw red and had to contend herself with throwing her milkshake on the floor instead of strangling Chiba Mamoru to death. She let out an anguished, frustrated yell and stormed out of the arcade. Seeing the look on Motoki's face, and not wanting to hear another lecture, Mamoru rolled his eyes, did the smart thing and followed her.
He saw her run into an alley, her back to him, her body shaking. Her saw her bring her up to furiously wipe at the tears that were streaming down her face.
"Go away!" Her voice was cold and hard and bitter, and it drew him to her further. He turned her around and her breath caught in the way his eyes, blue and thundering, held her gaze. Before she could even blink, his lips were crushed against hers. Her tears stopped abruptly, and he led her further into the alley, under the cover of the shadows, finally pushing her against the wall, all the while never breaking the kiss. His mouth seemed to devour hers and she returned the favour, both of them pouring their frustration and exhaustion at what had come to be and unrelenting attraction into that kiss.
Then, as soon as it started, it was over, and a silent look of understanding passed between them. This never happened. They would not talk about this to anyone else. They left in opposite directions, pushing all thoughts about it to the darkest and deepest corners of their minds.
The second time it was curiosity.
They met in the park; both came at the same time, both admired the same roses. They waited for the opportune moment. When the sky turned orange, and the majority of the visitors went over to the lake to see the sun setting over the horizon, he grabbed her hand, and led her beneath an alcove of trees. He sat down, pulled her into his lap, and kissed her breathless. She gingerly tried to mimic his movements, but for the most part, it was him delving into her mouth. And she let him. She sighed and moaned and draped her hands around shoulders, playing with his neck, his face, his back.
When the sun set — far too quickly, they thought in unison — and voices drifted towards them, he kissed her one last time before releasing her. A silent look of understanding passed between them, and then she bounded out of their secluded spot. He watched her until she disappeared, and then turned and left the other way.
The third time, it was desire.
He saw her at the amusement park. She was getting some ice cream with her friends. He knew he shouldn't talk to her, not with the other four hanging around, but he couldn't help himself. He insulted her and she turned around, and he saw her gasp slightly. She threw the ice cream on the ground, furious, insulting him back. The others seemed to buy it, but he didn't. He knew she was happy to see him.
He laughed it off – most of the laughter was real, because of his sheer giddiness – and walked away. She stormed after him, knowing that to her friends, it must look like they were going to fight again. But as soon as they were behind the merry-go-round, he turned around. He didn't even have time to grin at her before she launched herself into his arms, kissing him so furiously he thought his brain would melt.
She missed him. It was obvious she missed him. He was so enthralled that even when the silent look of understanding passed between them and they parted in separate ways, the knowledge kept him smiling and humming song tunes for the rest of the day.
The fourth time, it was an accident.
The senshi were fighting a particularly nasty youma, and, not surprisingly, Sailor Moon managed to klutz out again, leaving her straight in its line of attack. Tuxedo Mask jumped out of the darkness, and caught her right before the youma managed to send a glob of acid ink in her direction. It wasn't that easy though. As soon as Tuxedo Mask jumped into the air, the youma stretched out one of its slimy tentacles and grabbed on to his leg. The movement surprised him, and thankfully, he managed to squirm his leg free, but that took away from his jump, and him and Sailor Moon both crashed to the ground. Under the cover of his black cape, all they could see were each other's eyes – those brilliant blue ones they were so used to seeing over the past week. Somehow or another, their lips were suddenly pressed together once again, and the illusion that held their identities secret was shattered.
Surprisingly, neither was too shocked. Or maybe they were just too confused or bewildered or happy to be shocked.
The call of the other four senshi yelling if they were all right crash landed them back to earth. A silent look of understanding passed between them and they both jumped up. Sailor Moon finished off the youma, and they took off, the soldiers towards the moon, the masked man away from.
The fifth time it was confusion.
They were both back at the arcade, both sitting next to each other, both having in their usual wars. Something had changed. She did not look at him with such malice anymore, and her comebacks were slower. He wondered if it was because of their secret pastime or because she knew his secret identity. Nobody else seemed to notice anything though, and that was relief enough for him. Except it wasn't. He wondered what had changed. He didn't want anything to change. He liked the current state of their relationship, because anything new would mean getting into feelings, and he didn't want that. He couldn't bear that.
He excused himself, saying that he needed to go to the washroom. He gave her a pointed look, one she understood perfectly. She followed him a few minutes later.
She opened the door, stepped into the hallway that separated the men's washrooms from the women's. She came in, but something was different. She seemed depressed, the glitter in her eyes awash with sadness. He was sure the sadness was directed at him.
He walked up to her and placed two fingers under her chin, lifting it up and willing her to look at him. He searched her eyes to find out what had changed, but she searched his to find … something else. What that something was, he was not sure of, but it scared him. So he kissed her, gently, reassuringly, hoping the kiss would say everything that he couldn't. Hoping the kiss would prove that nothing had changed. She did not kiss back and he thought he felt a tear slip down her cheek, but he ignored it. Instead, he concentrated all his energy into kissing her, into relishing her warmth against his skin, the taste of her lips against his. Slowly, she kissed back, but the sadness remained.
They broke apart with the sound of footsteps approaching. He tried to smile at her, but their silent look of understanding wasn't there. His heart caught in his throat at the look she gave back – a pleading, begging glance. He didn't have a chance to dig deeper into that look, because she left, back the way she had came, leaving him speechless, wondering what exactly had went on.
The sixth time, it was chaos.
After their last encounter, he hadn't seen her. He came back to the Crown the next day, eager to see her, to talk to her, forgetting all about that look of sadness and misery. Somehow, he felt that the next day, it would all be washed away, and she would return to him willingly.
It was quite a shock when he found out she wasn't there.
He sulked in the arcade, watching the sliding doors hiss open and closed. The other senshi came in, but never his Odango. Motoki tried to make light conversation, but for the most part, he tuned him out.
His whole day was ruined.
Somewhere, in the back of his mind, his conscience called him a pervert for not being able to function properly without having a make out session with his favourite rival. He tuned that out too.
The day after, he returned. The senshi returned. Odango did not return.
He asked Motoki if she had dropped by, and he gave him a quizzical look, asking why he'd want to know where she was. They hated each other, right?
Right. Of course. Hate. What a strong word.
To further dampen his mood, they hadn't had a fight either. He hadn't seen Sailor Moon for two days now. His conscience screamed at him again, and he yelled back. No, it wasn't because he wanted her kisses. He wanted her. He needed her in his life, or he would be incomplete. He wished a damn youma would attack already just so he would have the chance to see her.
As if on cue, he saw all the senshi depart from the arcade at once. He wondered how he never noticed that the Senshi's – or more importantly, his Odango's – fast disappearance was always followed by his transformation into Tuxedo Mask. Shaking the thought off, he followed them, not wanting to miss out on a single moment he could spend staring at Usak — Usagi.
She wasn't there. When they got to the battlefield, it was just the four of them again. They didn't seem to be surprised, expecting Sailor Moon to show up eventually. But when over fifteen minutes had passed, they were growing worried.
Exhaustion took a toll on Ami, and Tuxedo Mask swiftly pulled her out of the way. He saw her blush and mumble her thanks when he put her down on the ground, but she was the last thing on his mind. He was still scanning around for any sign of two golden balls of hair.
The rest of the senshi seemed to be wondering the same thing because he heard them yelling, asking where the hell she had sauntered off to. They couldn't keep fighting without her moon wand.
Something jumped out of the trees.
"Moon Healing … Escalation!"
Tuxedo Mask gasped. She yelled her attack phrase midair, and landed with dexterity he had not thought possible for Sailor Moon, before completing the final part of the attack. The youma's screams echoed before it turned human again.
Mercury, Venus and Jupiter rushed over to see if the girl now lying exhaustedly on the floor was all right. Mars stayed behind, intent on yelling at Sailor Moon.
"Finally! Where the hell were you Moon-brains?"
Her reply was cut short by another voice. "Sailor Moon."
She froze, not realising that he was here. Slowly, she turned around. He thought he caught a hint of that same sadness in her expression before it was replaced by indifference.
Out of all the responses he would have guessed she would reply with, he would never have expected her voice to be as cold and hard as it was right then.
"Don't talk to him like that!" Sailor Mars snapped. "He saved our butts while you were off doing who knows what!"
Tuxedo Mask forgot what he was going to say. All that echoed inside his head was the way her voice was filled with so much hate.
He swallowed. "Can I … can I talk to you?" He cringed, knowing how utterly ridiculous and childish his voice must sound.
He blinked. This girl was full of surprises.
Mars stepped back, feeling utterly out of the loop. There was something going on between the two of them that she did not know. The other three senshi had now stopped checking over the sleeping woman and was staring at the two of them, faces filled with curiosity.
Tuxedo Mask was stumped. He hadn't expected her to turn him down either – usually, she jumped at the chance to be in his arms. Not that you weren't eager to hold her, either, a mocking voice in his head reminded him.
He shoved that away. How was he supposed to talk to Usagi now? He certainly wouldn't grovel at her feet like a dog. Instead, he asked her the only thing that came to his mind.
"Why not?" he said dumbly.
She glared at him. "Go home, Ma—sk." She bit her tongue; she had been about to give his identity away! She wouldn't hear the end of it from the Senshi, especially Rei, if they figured out who he really was. Then, bravely continuing, she added, "I can't stand the sight of you."
A collective gasp ran throughout the courtyard. Can't … stand … the sight of you. He felt something break inside, draining all the energy out of him, but couldn't pinpoint what. He was suddenly very cold, and all too numb.
Even if it was only for a second, Sailor Moon saw the immense amount of shock and hurt that washed over his face. For a moment, she wondered if she was mistaken in all of this … if perhaps that he … no, that was impossible. Tuxedo Mask or Mamoru, both of them held the same cruel indifference. Both of them could not feel love. It was only a game to them.
"Oh." Feeling the need to preserve any last shreds of dignity he might still have, he added, "Well, okay then. Uh … take care." He jumped off into the setting sun.
If he had turned around, only for a moment, he might have seen emotion seep back into her face, and then hit her like a ton of bricks. He might have seen her trying to blink back tears and fail miserably. He might have seen her crumple to the ground.
The doorbell rang.
Mamoru almost dropped the glass he was clenching tightly. Visitors? At this hour? he thought, glancing up at the clock. It was half an hour past midnight. It couldn't possibly be Motoki – even if the rest of the events in his life were timed haphazardly, he fell asleep exactly at eleven o'clock p.m. every right. It couldn't be those annoying salespeople either; firstly, very few were let into his apartment, and the latest one of them had come was six o'clock on a weekend.
Hope fluttered in his chest as he went to look through the peephole. The only other person he could think of was —
All the colour drained from his face. Oh no. He really wasn't in any mood to face her or her antics.
He turned around, hoping that if he didn't answer long enough, she would go away. Besides, all his lights were turned off while he wallowed in despair, so she wouldn't even know he was there.
"Open up Mamoru-san!" She was pounding on his door. "I know you're in there, even with your lights off! I've watched your apartment long enough to know how you work!"
He cringed. So much for that theory. But perhaps, perhaps if he just stayed for a while, she would think he was aslee—
"I'll yell out your identity if you don't open up right now!"
He couldn't get the door unlocked fast enough.
"Rei-san!" he stuttered anxiously, noticing the priestess's furious expression, her hands placed firmly on her hips. She huffed angrily at him before making her way inside.
"Please, come in," he murmured sarcastically before closing the door.
She turned around, the fire still not gone from her eyes.
"So," Mamoru said, trying to make small talk, "how did you figure out —"
"What the hell did you do to her? Why did you do that? What iswrong with you?"
So much for Mamoru's first question.
"Who?" he asked dumbly, though clearly knowing who the person in question was.
Rei rolled her eyes. "Tsukino Usagi? Odango Atama? Sailor Moon? Ring any bells?"
"Odango's Sailor Moon?" Mamoru asked with fake incredulity, feeling safe in his I-don't-know-anything act. "You're mad!"
He did not expect her next reaction. She came up to him, drew her hand back, and slapped him on the face. Hard. The pain was a rude awakening from his current pity and he massaged his cheek gingerly.
"You should have seen the mess she was in after you left! Did you even think to look back?"
"She told me to leave!" he protested.
"Well could you blame her after what you told her?" Rei roared.
Mamoru blinked. This time he was genuinely confused. "What did I say to her?"
Rei was about to slap him again but he caught her hand and put it down. "I honestly don't know what you are talking about."
Rei wrenched her hand away. "Telling her that everything you did meant nothing! That it was just a game! Do you even care what you did to her?"
Now Mamoru was getting angry. "I never told her any of that!"
"She told me you did!"
"I didn't even talk to her! That's the point of kissing! You don't talk!"
Rei slapped him again. "Hentai! So you did use her!"
Realization flitted across his face and he shook his head firmly. "No."
The next day, school seemed to drone on forever; he couldn't wait to get out. He zoned out on two of his classes, and only paid attention when his teacher threatened him with detention. He'd see her today, he just knew it. He had to see her today. He sent a silent prayer, wishing he would see her. He wouldn't be able to bear if he didn't.
The day being a Friday, the arcade was already jam-packed with middle school kids whose school had let out early. Sure enough, he spotted her, sitting in her usual spot on the counter. One hand cupped her chin as she stared off into space with a dejected expression, the other hand playing with the straw in her chocolate milkshake. She hadn't touched her drink.
He sighed, making his way in. He glared at the kid who was sitting on his usual seat. The kid glared back, but when Mamoru reached into his jacket, the kid scampered off. Mamoru smirked. The kid probably thought he was drawing out a knife. Instead, he brought out a bright red rose, green stemmed, sans thorns.
Sitting on the table, he gently brought the rose under her face. He saw her eyes widen before she turned to look at him.
He saw hope and excitement and … something else … sparkle within her eyes for a brief moment she took the rose.
He saw Motoki approach them from the far end of the counter, and quickly grabbed her hands, not wanting to talk here, in front of everyone. "Come with me."
She glared at him and then threw the rose back in his face. "No!" she screamed. "Stop it! Go away!"
He stared back, dumbstruck, wondering what it was he had done. He felt eyes on the two of the, including Motoki's exasperated expression, and lowered her voice only so that she could hear. "Usagi, I —"
"GO AWAY!" she yelled again. Oh great, now the whole arcade was staring. "LEAVE! I —" her voice broke, and fast, thick tears started streaming down her face. "I don't want to …"
His eyes widened, knowing how utterly … wrong … that sentence had sounded. He felt everyone glaring at him, and couldn't help but wonder if what she said … what she meant was true. Was the only reason she kissed him because he seemed to overpower her and she had no choice but to succumb to his wishes? No. It couldn't be it. He had always given her the chance to push him away, hadn't he? He never felt her squirm or back away, or …. His mind suddenly flashed back to that last day, when she seemed as though the only reason she was there because she didn't have a choice, as if he almost stripped her of her innocence.
He didn't think he had ever hated anyone as much as he hated himself at that moment. He couldn't help but notice the irony of it and smiled ruefully to himself. He had vowed his life to protecting Sailor Moon, and now he was the one who ended up using her and hurting her most.
She was still crying; he saw her shaking on her seat. Swallowing, he managed to choke out, "I'm sorry, Usako … I never meant to hurt you."
He placed the rose she had thrown at him on her lap. Finally, taking one last look at her, he turned away, walking out of her life.
Two small hands wrapped around his wrist. "Wait."
He waited. She turned around, now looking at him, her bangs still covering her eyes, tears still slipping down her cheeks. "Please," she begged, "before you go … tell me something." It sounded more like a question than a statement.
He wanted so much to make her feel better. "Anything."
She raised her eyes to him, and he saw the full brunt of the pain and torment she felt. Somehow, he felt it too, and it sliced his heart wide open like a million knives.
"Was it," she whispered, "was it all just a game to you?" She swallowed and then continued through her choked voice, "Did it mean nothing? All because you just wanted … just wanted to …" She started shaking again, trying desperately to hold back her sobs.
Without a moment's hesitation, he drew her up, circled his arms around her waist and back and pressed her head to his chest.
"Never," he whispered. He kissed the top of her forehead. "The only time it was a game was when I pretended to hate you, Usako."
Her breath caught in her throat and she looked up, searching his eyes to see if there was any hint of mirth. There wasn't – she had never seen emotion so raw. She had never seen so much love directed right at her.
He bent down, their foreheads touching and smiled at her. It was contagious; she couldn't help but smile back. He stared at her lips, asking her silent permission. Her eyes fluttered closed.
The sixth time, it was chaste and gentle, and soft, and nothing like any of their other kisses, but filled with so much love that both felt as though their hearts would burst. She sighed, allowing herself to fall into his embrace, supported only by the strong arms around her.
Their perfect moment was wrecked by loud cheering around them. Jerking back, they saw the whole arcade watching, including Motoki, and the rest of the senshi at a booth in the far end. The two blushed profusely.
"Want to go for a walk?" he whispered in her ear. She nodded, not able to keep her eyes off her face. Her spine tingled with excitement at the silent look of understanding that passed between them. They squeezed past the crowd, for once, on the same path.
A/N: Sooo … how was it? Can you believe it? I've been in the Sailor Moon fandom for almost seven years, and this is my first ever actual fanfiction. –Sulk-I'm so disappointed.
I also think this is the fastest I've ever written a fanfic too — 4,000 words, and a little under two hours. I've never written anything that fast. Yay me! XD
Anyway, please review. :) I'd love to know what you think. Constructive criticism is always a plus!