This particular story is actually something that I've thought about for awhile and wanted to address for a long time. When I was younger, it always struck me as odd that Mamoru was somewhat distant around Usagi in the anime, even when they were dating. I mean, come on! Based on everything I had witnessed as a kid, couples certainly didn't act the way those two did! Then I got older, became more immersed in Japanese culture, and learned quite a bit from my Japanese friends. Now after all of these years, I have a 'slightly' different impression (and appreciation!) for their beautiful relationship.
With that being said, here are a couple of side-notes:
-I am NOT an expert on Japanese culture, nor do I ever claim to be. I've studied the language for six years and have learned enough to know that I 'still' have a lot to learn. However, the observations that are made in this story are based on research, my own conclusions, and confirmations from various Japanese friends of mine.
-A portion of this story is loosely based off of a real event that happened to a sensei of mine a few years ago. Names have been changed to protect the innocent, but I thought the situation was just too perfect not to use!
-Obviously Mamoru and Usagi would be speaking Japanese to each other. However, when they're in a classroom surrounded by American students, words surrounded by ( ) indicate that Japanese is being spoken.
Standard disclaimers apply. Sailor Moon and its characters are not mine, just some of the ideas. Reviews, of course, are always appreciated. Enjoy!
The airport was alive with activity. Businessmen and women walked briskly past with cell phones attached to their ears while parents desperately tried to keep their active toddlers from running up and down the terminal. Usually I enjoyed people-watching, but I could hardly concentrate on the organized chaos around me. I was too troubled.
Why, you ask? More than anything, I should have been excited. And up until that morning, I was. A few weeks ago, I had received an eager phone call from my girlfriend, Usagi. "Mamo-chan!" She had screeched happily into the mouthpiece. "I just bought my plane ticket!"
My face broke out into a wide smile. For months, Usagi had tossed around the idea of visiting me during my study abroad program at Harvard University in-between her school semesters in March. After so many months apart, of course I was eager to see her, but I hadn't gotten my hopes up that she would actually 'make' the trip. Flights to the United States were expensive. Very expensive.
We made our plans and, mindful of overseas charges, said our goodbyes. However, that was hardly the last time we spoke. Up until the day of her flight, I was flooded with emails and text messages from her. As always, she was full of questions: What did you do on the plane? Will they feed us? Do you want me to bring anything from home? I don't know if I'll be able to sit still for twelve hours, Mamo-chan! How did you do it?
Each message made me chuckle. I was sure she was driving her friends crazy with talk of her upcoming trip. And don't get me wrong, I was excited to see her as well. However, I couldn't sit around and daydream for hours. Being a college student, let alone an international college student, was very grueling. I had classes to take, sections to teach, and hours of studying to do.
So I pushed my excitement aside and concentrated on my work. And I guess I managed to hide my feelings a little 'too' well, because my section's students didn't notice anything different about me. And 'that's' where it all started…
"Do you have a girlfriend, Chiba-sensei?" Giggles and gasps immediately followed.
As always, I was shocked at the brazen boldness of American students. Asking such a question to a teacher in Japan simply wasn't done.
Even 'if' the students were only a few years younger than their sensei.
I tensed and dropped the chalk I was holding onto the floor, inciting further laughs. My face was hot as I cast my eyes downward, pretending to search for the wayward piece. "Yes," I mumbled as some of the girls squealed and the boys whistled. My supervising sensei sat in the back of the classroom, a hint of a smile crossing her tiny face.
This was 'not' what I had meant when I had asked them for questions.
My second semester as an international student at Harvard University was certainly much different than the first. During the first few months of my program, I spent time adjusting to American college life, classes, and culture shock. I thought I had become accustomed to the students and their forwardness.
But now, as an introductory Japanese teaching assistant, I was on the 'receiving' end of their endless prying questions. I could live in America for the rest of my life and I would 'still' be uncomfortable with their less-than-respectful attitudes towards teachers.
Thankfully, the class was finished for the day and the students switched their attention to packing up their things. I swallowed hard once or twice as they walked out the door. They had already forgotten about the personal question they had just asked. Instead, they were focused on talk of plans, friends, or an upcoming exam. However, I could think of nothing else as I spun around and began to erase the chalkboard.
Do you have a girlfriend?
That was private!
I heard footsteps shuffle up behind me followed by a soft, feminine chuckle. "Don't worry about it, Chiba-sensei," Kamataki-sensei reassured me as she began to pack up her planner and the students' homework assignments. "They didn't really mean to pry."
Outwardly I nodded in acknowledgement, but inside I was troubled. And as we said our goodbyes and parted ways down the hall, it continued to weigh on my mind.
Around me were students of all ages, chatting and laughing as they made their way out of the building and into the late-morning sunshine. I saw everything, from freshmen struggling with maps, classmates reviewing study guide questions…and couples. Lots and lots of couples, each and every one outwardly showing their affection for one another in some way: Caressing arms, clutching hands, fierce hugs and kisses. I kept my head down as I made my way towards the library. Usually, the students and their outward affections were just a mild annoyance. But after class today…
They might not have said it out loud, but I knew the students were all thinking it loudly:
You sure don't act like you have a girlfriend, Chiba-sensei!
And that really bothered me.
Because I love…no, ' love' is a pale shadow compared to how I really feel for her.
How can the word 'love' describe a bond that has lasted for nearly a thousand years? How could it describe the feeling that once consumed my entire being while I searched for the beautiful girl who haunted my dreams? How can it do justice explaining how I feel when she makes me laugh? And how can it 'possibly' describe a man's feelings as he willingly places his life on the line for one person over and over again?
That's just it. It 'doesn't'.
I walked inside and sat down at an empty table, dropping my briefcase to the ground beside me. I had come to work and study, but I could hardly concentrate. A floodgate had opened in my mind.
Why 'didn't' Usako and I act that way towards each other? I started to smile and amended my question. Why didn't 'I' act that way towards Usako? After all, she certainly had no qualms telling the world we were together!
My grin widened as I remembered some of the times we had spent together: Usagi holding my hand with surprising strength for someone her size as she dragged me up and down the streets of Tokyo; throwing herself into my arms for a hug and knocking me over; chatting with her friends about "Mamo-chan this" or "Mamo-chan that." And I would stand by her side, smiling at her antics, occasionally wishing she'd show a 'little' restraint.
And this is how it was, day in and day out, year after year. I was happy and content with our relationship. I knew nothing else…
…until I came to America. There, everything was different. People were louder and much more straightforward. They spoke what was on their minds and what was in their hearts. Guys were bold and candid, and many girls were 'just' as blunt and forward. Sometimes, I felt like I wasn't just from a different culture, but like I was from a different 'world.'
I'm from Japan, a country that is caught juggling the importance of respecting thousands of years of tradition while at the same time modernizing in order to compete with the rest of the Western world. Our culture enforces respect for our elders, a strong work ethic, but most important of all, that we keep our true feelings from the rest of the world…or at least those who are not a part of our small inner-circles. To do otherwise could cause others to think badly about 'us', which in turn could hurt or shame those we care about.
I had always been a very private person, so such things were completely natural to me. But now, surrounded by a culture so different from my own, I began to think.
I remembered all of the times Usako and her friends giggled and sighed as they shared romantic stories and watched romantic movies together. Of course, their favorites had 'anything' to do with a prince rescuing his princess…and they'd absolutely 'swoon' after he professed his love over and over again for her. I would smile as I listened to Usako's chatter as she put the two of 'us' in those stories, and then I'd laugh when the girls teased her mercilessly. We were 'living' a fairy tale, Rei would say. What's there to dream about?
Privately, I agreed with her. Why dream about it when we had 'lived' it? Over the years, I had rescued my 'own' princess and swept her off 'her' feet more times than I could count. I would give my life for her, 'had' given my life for her. She didn't need me to shout my love from the rooftops every chance I got too, did she. She 'knew.'
And this was something I never doubted…until I came to a place where words, not matter how empty, meant just as much or more than actions.
And now, with each and every couple I saw together, a little seed of doubt grew in my belly.
She knew. She 'had' to know how much I loved her.
I snapped out of my reverie and stood with a smile. A tiny blonde figure barreled past other passengers in her haste to reach me. Completely oblivious to the dirty looks she received, Usako plowed into my arms, knocking me over just as she had done dozens of times before. I looked down at my little whirlwind and smiled. She had grown a bit in those seven months since I had left, lost a little of her baby fat.
"Usako," I chided, pulling the both of us up off the ground. "How was your flight?"
She wrapped her arms around my waist. Instantly I stiffened as I usually do when she hugs me in public. And yet…a battle began to rage inside of me as I remembered my earlier troubled thoughts. It was 'completely' natural for couples to hug in front of others; my students and classmates did it all the time! And I 'had' missed her terribly. But still…
I returned the hug quickly and guided her towards the baggage claim. As always, she didn't seem to notice my lack of affection and instead grabbed my arm and began cheerfully chatting away. Before today, I wouldn't have thought anything of it, but now questions began to race across my mind:
Did she notice? Did I hurt her? And why couldn't I have just 'returned' the hug?
"Mamo-chan?" Usako pulled on my arm impatiently to get my attention.
My mind had wandered again. While I had been lost in my thoughts, she had found her luggage and hauled them off of the turnstile. Her beautiful blue eyes held a hint of uncertainty. "What's wrong?" I asked, shaking my head slightly. This had to stop.
Her stomach rumbled and she grinned sheepishly. "I'm hungry," she admitted as I laughed and grabbed her bags. My Usako may have grown, but there were still some things that never changed.
We took a taxi from the airport back to my off-campus student apartment. The ride wasn't very long, but since this was Usagi's first time in the United States, everything we passed drew an excited gasp of delight from her lips. However, once we drove through the buzzing college town adjacent to the campus, her mouth clamped shut in awe as she took in a world that was so different from the one she had grown up in. "It's so beautiful!" She squealed when she managed to find her voice, pressing her face up against a window. She craned her neck in order to better see the ivy-covered walls, bright lights, and lively resident halls. I chuckled as I watched 'her' watch the world pass us by, remembering my own reaction when I had first arrived at the university all of those months ago.
The student apartments, of course, were nothing to be impressed with, but she continued to "ohh" and "ahh" even after I unlocked the door. "It's so much bigger than your apartment in Japan," she remarked as she ran inside and began to explore. "It even looks like it too!" Sparse and tidy. She was right.
After satisfying her curiosity, Usako flopped down on the couch in the living room while I ordered her a pizza from one of the local pizzerias. "So Mamo-chan," she said after I had replaced the phone in its cradle, "tell me what American college life is like!"
I sat down on the carpet beside her, rested my chin in my hand, and thought for a moment. "Well, of course, everyone's really busy," I said after awhile. "This is a really prestigious university, so the students are expected to work their hardest. But there are a lot of clubs and exclusive groups that many of them like to participate in."
She nodded vigorously, just as if everything I had said was the most interesting thing she had ever heard. "What about your classes?"
I shrugged. "I was a little disappointed with the English classes international students are required to take. They weren't much of a challenge for me."
She giggled and her eyes widened a little in surprise. "You're just too smart, Mamo-chan!"
I shook my head, modest as always. "My assessment tests were pretty high," I explained, omitting the fact that they were "among the highest marks the university had ever seen for an international student". "Once the professors examined them, they allowed me to bypass the ESL classes so I could take the regular ones with American students. The Japanese department even offered me a position as a teaching assistant for the introductory classes this spring."
Usako squealed with delight. "That's so great," she gushed enthusiastically. "I'll bet you're such a great teacher. What are your students like?"
I smiled as I remembered some of the times I had spent with them in the classroom. "They can get a little out of control at times, especially when we're learning something difficult, like kanji," I teased as Usagi made a face. She probably hated kanji just as much as the students did. "But overall, they're really great to work with. They 'like' Japanese, so they study hard and do the best that they can. I'm really glad I got the opportunity to help out in the classroom."
Her eyes sparkled in excitement and she clutched my arm again. "Do you think it would be okay if I came with you one day just to watch? I want to meet your students and see you teach!"
Such an innocent question. There really was no good reason for the sheet of ice that ran down my body right then. That morning's Japanese class had really shaken me up.
"(Do you have a girlfriend, Chiba-sensei?)"
Instantly, our light-hearted talk was over, at least for me. Usagi continued to gush, but I heard nothing else. Instead, a hundred different scenarios involving my girlfriend coming to class with me began to roll through my head. All of them were mortifying.
I could 'lie' and tell her that university policy prohibited guests from attending a class, but that would linger like a dark cloud over my head for her entire visit. I 'could' just introduce her as my friend…but that would crush her, and 'that' was unacceptable. However, introducing her as my girlfriend would open the floor for plenty of questions about us and our relationship.
And that…that was private.
A knock on the door brought my thoughts to a spiraling halt. Usagi was still hanging on to my arm, her face turned up to mine, anticipation burning in her eyes. "Mamo-chan?" She insisted, but I knew she wasn't asking for me to get the pizza.
I shook off her hand and walked towards the door. I didn't want her to see the uncertainty that I knew was as plain as the nose on my face. "I'll ask my sensei," I mumbled after a moment and Usagi clapped her hands in excitement. After I paid the driver, Usako pounced on the box like a woman starved. She eagerly grabbed a piece in each hand and ate ravenously, but I could only sit and watch her as my stomach rolled in protest. I couldn't possibly eat a thing.
It seemed like nothing would stand in the way of the inevitable. Kamataki-sensei was absolutely 'ecstatic' to have Usako in class for a day. "It'll be a great chance for the students to practice their Japanese," she explained with a smile, amusement dancing in her eyes. It was obvious she hadn't forgotten my reaction to the 'girlfriend' question earlier that week. "Just make sure that she's recovered from her jet lag."
Even 'that' didn't help. While it had taken me a solid 'week' to completely adjust my body to the twelve-hour time difference when I had first arrived in America, Usagi was ready to go after a day or two. I tried to insist that she rest "just a little longer," but a shrill "MAMO-CHANN" silenced all of my protests.
The morning of the next session, I was a nervous wreck; my stomach was a mess of knots and I could scarcely keep my coffee down. I was more anxious now than during my first day as a teacher's assistant. It was all absolutely ludicrous, and 'still' all I could think of was saving myself from embarrassment.
Kamataki-sensei was already in the in the classroom grading papers when we arrived, Usagi bouncing up and down, me desperate for something, 'anything', to stop the class from happening. She glanced up from her work and a smile played across her lips. "Ohayou, Chiba-san," she greeted me with a slight bow as the two of us bowed in return. I introduced them both to each other and then began to slink away in order to write the day's lesson on the chalkboard. If I could just completely focus on something else...
I 'knew' something was up when she waved me back over to them. "You've been working so hard, Chiba-san. I'll be in charge of the lesson today." Her face was a mask of indifference, but her eyes twinkled, for some unknown reason amused at my discomfort. She motioned for the both of us to take seats at the front of the room and then sat back down to finish her corrections. Usagi continued to chatter away, but I was still too tense to contribute much to the conversation…
…and what little I 'could' say died in my throat as the students began to pour into the classroom. They swarmed around us, talking, laughing, and teasing each other as they flocked to their seats. Usually I could follow their conversations easily, but the loud pounding of my heart turned their words into meaningless noise.
Kamataki-sensei stood from her chair and instantly the class went silent. "Minna-san," she addressed them, that sparkle still shining in her eyes, "we have a special guest today." She motioned for the both of us to come forward and stand beside her. "But rather than have the two of 'us' introduce her, I want you to put your Japanese skills to the test! Ask her questions to learn more about her." With that, she took a seat, leaving the two of us at the mercy of thirty American college students. My hands shook slightly and I clasped them behind my back, wanting nothing more than for a hole to open up and swallow me at that moment.
The class was silent for a little while, too intimidated to speak up. After all, it was 'one' thing to practice with their two supporting senseis correcting them, but with someone 'else' in the room…With that thought in mind, I began to relax. I hadn't taken the students' 'own' nervousness into consideration. Maybe this wouldn't be nearly as bad as I had thought it would be…
Finally, one of the more confident students raised her hand and asked the most obvious question first. "(What is your name?) " Everyone giggled, and some of the tension began to lift as the ice was broken.
Usagi laughed right along with them. "Tsukino Usagi," she said in her adorable, high-pitched voice. I watched as many of the girls in the class broke out in wide smiles as they listened to her speak. Her good nature was 'always' contagious.
"(How old are you?)" One of the good-looking senior boys asked as his friends snickered behind him.
I stiffened up again, this time out of anger as I watched them take in her golden hair, sparkling blue eyes, and short jean skirt. Instantly, I remembered their conversations earlier in the year as they joked about exactly 'why' they decided to study Japanese. It hadn't bothered me 'nearly' as much until they had set their sights of 'my' girlfriend. Unconsciously, my eyes narrowed and shot daggers in their direction.
"(I'm seventeen,)" she replied to the answering mix of laughs and groans. Her bubbly nature began to put the class at ease and more and more hands raised high in the air to ask her questions.
"(Where do you live?)"
"(What grade are you in?)"
"(Where do you go to school?)"
"(What do you like to eat?)" A VERY dangerous question.
"(What are your hobbies?)"
I stood back and watched as she answered their questions enthusiastically. Most of my unease had completely melted away and was instead replaced by pride and admiration. It always amazed me that she could be so at ease while surrounded by strangers. She had already won them over with her kindness and encouragement. I shook my head at my earlier baseless worries. They were completely enthralled with her; it was like they didn't even notice I was there. I let out a breath, releasing the rest of the tension from my body. I had 'nothing' to worry about. I…
"(Do you have a boyfriend?)"
…was going to throw up.
She giggled again and looked over at me with a smile. I watched as the realization dawned on their faces. Now all eyes were fixed on 'me'.
Then the room exploded with questions about 'us.'
"(How long have you been dating?)"
"(Where did you meet?)"
"(Where do you go on your dates?)"
I couldn't tell if these questions were directed to Usagi or me, but it didn't matter, because I was unable to think of a single thing to say. All of these personal, prying questions…I couldn't stand it.
My feelings, my hopes and dreams, my relationship with Usako…
Those were between her and me! Those things were private!
Usagi, as always, good-naturedly answered their questions. She told them about our walks through the park, shopping trips around Tokyo, or the meals we had shared. Even through my own private anguish, I could hear her carefully chosen words, ever mindful of the students and their limited Japanese skills. And while I was almost certain that most of them only understood a little of what she said, the look in her eyes and the sound of her voice conveyed everything they needed to know:
I love this man with all of my heart.
Some of the students began to look solely at me and I froze when I saw their faces. I knew 'exactly' what they were thinking:
Someone like Usagi 'deserves' someone who loves her just as much as 'she' loves 'him.'
'I do!' My mind screamed over and over as my hands clenched tightly at my sides. 'You could never understand how 'much' I love her, how much I've 'done' for her!'
I could hear their answering thoughts:
A few days ago you could barely admit you even 'had' a girlfriend! You don't talk about her at all!
They would never be able to understand how precious my relationship with Usako was to me. But it was personal. It was 'private.'
And finally, the coup de grace. "(Does he say 'I love you?')"
I thought my legs were going to give out from under me.
Usagi giggled and covered her mouth with her hand. "(He doesn't have to,)" she shook her head and said with a smile.
But that wasn't good enough for them. They didn't understand. They 'couldn't' understand. Their relationships were wide open and on display for all the world to see. They couldn't accept my apparent aloofness.
"You should say it, Chiba-sensei," someone said suddenly. I couldn't be sure who, but I was almost positive it was the boy who had earlier asked Usagi her age. I felt heat burn across my face, all the way to the tips of my ears. I had never felt so flustered in my entire life.
Another, probably one of his friends, joined him. "Say it!" They demanded together. Others followed until almost the entire class sounded more like a mob rather than a group of college students. However, there was no anger or malice in their voices; they were just caught up in the moment, enjoying the sight of their sensei squirming in embarrassment. They probably had no idea just how uncomfortable I really was at that moment.
"Come onnn, Chiba-sensei! Say it!"
I glanced quickly over at Kamataki-sensei, sure that at any moment she would take control of the class. In all honesty, I was quite surprised that she hadn't done so already. Instead, she continued to watch the show before her, that small, amused smile never leaving her face.
"Say it, Chiba-sensei!"
The laughter increased, followed by the sound of desks moving and feet pounding on the floor towards the door. A few of the students were making a show of barricading the exit, keeping us inside until I did what they asked. It was madness; they were absolutely out of control.
Finally, I looked over at Usako, certain her eyes would be on me as well. Instead, she stared at the class in astonishment, her eyes clouded, her brow furrowed in uncertainty. The look on her face caused the color to drain from my own. I had seen that look only a few times before and would have been quite happy if I had never seen it again. My Usako was hurt.
So I had been wrong. After all of this time, I had been wrong. She didn't know. She actually didn't know how much I loved her. And every moment I kept my silence was like another stab to her heart. No matter how uncomfortable I was, no matter how embarrassed I would be, 'nothing' was worth causing her that kind of pain.
"(Aishiteru, Usako!)" The words left my lips and instantly the class was silent. I closed the distance between us and put my arms around her. She made no move to return the embrace. The damage had been done. My pride had hurt her. Again.
Satisfied, the students cheered, certain that they had done something good for the both of us. Class had finished minutes earlier and they immediately began to file towards the exit. I let go of Usako and stood to one side as they said their goodbyes to us, already gossiping about a class that certainly none of them would soon forget.
After a moment, Kamataki-sensei rose from her seat and walked to the front of the room to collect her things. "Well, 'that' was certainly interesting," she said quietly, more to herself than to the two of us. That slight smile 'still' hadn't left her face and with a quick bow and goodbye, she closed the door behind her. Usagi and I were alone.
I just stood there and waited for the tears, the wails, and the accusations. I didn't know what to say. I 'never' knew what to say. It was impossible for me to put my feelings for Usako into words, so I never did. What a fool I had been.
Usagi was the first to move. "Wow," she said, shaking her head in disbelief. She walked back to her desk and sat down heavily. "Did that really just happen?"
I cringed at the sound of her voice. Those words stung like a slap to the face. "Usako…" I began, my voice hoarse and scratchy. I cleared my throat several times and tried again. "Usako…please…"
She continued to shake her head. "How do you get any 'teaching' done?"
I whirled around and faced the chalkboard. I couldn't look at her, couldn't bear to see the hurt in her eyes. "I'm so sorry, Usako." Silence followed. Panic began to build in my chest and tears threatened to run down my cheeks. "I didn't know…" I shook my head, trying to clear the fog. I had to collect my thoughts. Now more than ever, I needed Usagi to know 'exactly' how I felt.
Instead, I tried again. "You can't possibly know how much I love you, Usako. It's too painful for me to even think about."
"You're the most important person in my life, the most precious gift I have ever received. All I've ever wanted is to make you as happy as you've made me." The tears spilled over and I slammed my fist against the blackboard. Pieces of chalk scattered everywhere.
"God, I'm so sorry, Usako! I thought you knew! I thought you 'knew' how much I love you! If you needed to hear those words, why didn't you tell me?"
Silence, and then…her arms wrapped around my waist. I turned around and braced myself for the anger or hurt that would greet me. Instead, I was treated to the sight of her shining blue eyes and dazzling pink smile.
It was all too much. This entire 'day' had been too much. Fresh tears came to my eyes. I didn't understand. "Usako…?"
Her tiny hands lifted to cup my face and her thumbs wiped the stains from my cheeks. She tilted her head to one side and looked me straight in the eyes. "Mamo-chan," she said simply, "I 'KNOW'."
It took me a moment before the words truly registered, but when they did, my relief was so strong that my legs finally gave out. I collapsed to the ground, taking her with me as I did so. A great weight felt as if it had been lifted from my shoulders. I felt so silly for doubting her. All of that worrying, stressing, and guessing seemed so silly now. She had known.
She had 'always' known.
She knew that every time I said her name or looked into her eyes, when I jumped from the rooftops and rescued her as Tuxedo Kamen, or even when I chided her for her poor grades, I was telling her I loved her.
The tears spilled over and I buried my face in her hair. At that moment, everything was perfect. No words were needed.
I lowered my lips so that they brushed against her ear.
…I knew she wouldn't 'mind' hearing them.
The words were soft. They were for our ears alone.
"I love you, Usako."
It was a long time before I realized exactly what Kamataki-sensei's true lessons had been that day. One, of course, was purely romantic. I learned later that she had gone through a similar situation which led to several deep misunderstandings and an eventual divorce. She wanted us to learn from her mistakes. She wanted to make 'sure' Usagi knew that I loved her.
The other lesson was actually an invaluable cultural tool for the students. As they continued to study the language and culture, they came to learn about a major difference in American and Japanese relationships: Just 'because' I didn't say it or publicly display my affection for Usagi didn't mean I didn't love her.
And while some of my old students thought nothing more of it, a few were ashamed that they had embarrassed me that day. Some sent me letters of apology. Others sent me emails.
One wrote this story.
And now, I pass it on to you.
Yeah, working on this means I 'wasn't' working on 'Until We Meet Again,' but I hope you liked it just the same. I certainly enjoyed writing it :) Comments are always appreciated!