Hello all! How bout this weather eh (well, it's raining where I am and I just love it - Sailor Moon episodes spring to mind where ever I am these days! ^^)!
Now at the moment, this is an OS (as originally intended), but I think; depending on reviews, pefrhaps I could stretch it another chapter or two on chain of events following... So R&R and tell me what you think ;)
And of course, a super big bucket of thankies to my fantastic beta Moosagi :) Her email of fpraise made me mushier than an Alicia Blade FF (well....they tied! ^^)
Disclaimer: I own everything in the world, under various alias' - in this case; my persona of Naoko Takeuchi has all rights to the characters below. All clear?
The senshif cheered as the monster from the Negaverse was destroyed. All but one, who smiled tiredly at the others before jumping into a nearby leafy tree, fleeing from the scene. Her remaining team looked at each other, puzzled expressions mirrored on each others faces. Sailor Jupiter made to follow, but didn't know which direction her leader had taken.
Sailor Mars just shrugged,
"Come on guys, I'll bet she's just going back to bed. You know how Odango is. I suggest we should all do the same".
As the others quickly agreed and broke off into the directions of their respective homes, Sailor Mars narrowed her eyes at the tree, as if willing it to give her the answers she sought. There was something off lately about Sailor Moon, but she couldn't pinpoint what. If Usagi really had been going home, she would have gone out the south gates of the park, not somewhere to the north eastern direction... How strange. But maybe it was Odango being Odango. Trust her to forget her way home! After one last hard look at the tree, she gave up and headed back home, behind the others.
Sailor Moon ran. She ran as fast as she could down the dark and empty streets, towards an unknown destination. As her legs protested any further movement, she pumped them still, her determination fuelling her escape; her escape from the familiar surroundings of Juuban, and to find somewhere to just...think.
As she neared the city's docks, she leaped high into the air, again and again and again, pushing off from crates and small sheds until at last she reached the top of the tallest building, the one overlooking the water. Sailor Moon stood for a moment, catching her breath as her chest heaved from the exertion of her run, gazing listlessly ahead before walking over to the edge of the roof and looking down. Her eyes refocused as she bent her knees and --- suddenly she was grabbed roughly by the forearms from behind and a harsh voice demanded in her ear.
"Just what do you think you're doing?!"
Sailor Moon gasped, and was immediately grateful that she hadn't detransformed, because if she was about to get herself into some trouble- she stopped midthought as her mystery attacker spun her around to face...Tuxedo Kamen?! 'What? But how? Why? Wha-' her mind spluttered before she found her voice and cried in surprise
"Tuxedo Kamen? What are you doing? Let go of me!" But his ocean blue eyes just continued to bore angrily into hers as he demanded, "Were you just about to jump?"
Sailor Moon's eyes unfastened themselves from his gorgeous ones to shout in shocked anger,
"What?! Nooo! Why in the love of the moon would I do that?"
His eyes searched hers carefully, but after only finding total sincerity, he replied, "You...You weren't just about to...you know...jump off that edge? "
Sailor Moon howled in outraged embarrassment –he thought she was suicidal!- and struggled in his grip to free herself.
"I was going to SIT ON THE EDGE you jerk! How could you think I'd...I'd...Aaaaargh!"
His expression softened slightly as he let go of her and said slowly, "And why would you want to be up here anyway? Shouldn't you be safely tucked into bed? It's well after midnight you know." Sailor Moon's mind tugged at the familiar taunting tone, yet she couldn't place her finger on why it seemed so familiar.
"Then why are you here? Do you usually follow innocent, young girls in the middle of the night?" Her eyes bugged out of her head as her retort just slipped right out of her mouth. Surely she'd never say anything that rude to anyone...Unless it was to Mamoru-baka...
But to her surprise, he laughed, long and loud and smiled.
"You could say that. But then again, you're not an ordinary innocent, young girl are you? Who would need the protecting out of us two?" Sailor Moon gulped as he loomed closer and closer over to her, but in the blink of an eye, he was gone. Looking around, and then down, she found him perched on the building's edge, right where she'd been about to sit. He gestured beside him and she slowly lowered herself on the ledge next to him.
"So do you want to talk about it?"
Sailor Moon, caught off guard, stared at him openly before turning her hard gaze to her right knee, indecision clearly written on her face. Her mouth opened and closed a few times before she could find her voice.
"What makes you think there's something to talk about?"
His hands motioned around them, "Were you not out here for some quiet, alone time?"
"Well yes, actually, but that doesn't mean that there's something wrong"
"So you're here for the scenery?"
"Yes-I mean no! No!"
"Which is it? Because I've got to say, if you wanted a pretty view, you sure picked the wrong end of Tokyo."
Sailor Moon was starting to get agitated at his know-it-all tone, which again, was familiar.
"Well it's not alone time unless you're alone" she pointed out.
He turned to grin at her and she found herself locked to his gaze. 'He has magnificent eyes' she thought, 'like a stormy sea'.
"Well, as much as you'd like that, I'm afraid my ethical views prohibit it. Young girls should be tucked up in bed at this time; you never know who might be out there."
Sailor Moon couldn't help but smile at him.
"Like superhero's who dress in dark tuxedos and masks?"
He flashed a wolfy grin back at her. "Exactly."
Sailor Moon looked down at her hands, folded in her lap and sighed. If he persisted in staying, she might as well talk to him about a little part of her problem. Twiddling her thumbs, she thought of a way to bring up what she was thinking without seeming too direct or scaring him off. Finding no subtle way, she decided the direct path would suffice.
"Do you ever just get sick of it sometimes?"
Tuxedo Kamen looked up at her, aware that the joking mood had transitioned into something more serious. Could this be what was troubling the young heroine?
"Sick of what?"
"Everything... Life. Superhero business. School. I take it you're still in school?" When he nodded, she continued, "friends. Don't you ever just get sick of it all?" Tuxedo Kamen chose his next words very wisely.
"Well, sometimes I do. Most of the time, actually. But I know I have a purpose in this world, a destiny...As do you. I hope that one day, I can be something to someone, even if she is a total idiot to care for me. People like you and me, Sailor Moon, are here to protect everyone else. We must have good, and bad, things come our way. I know I believe in karma. But I do know what you mean."
Sailor Moon gave him a funny look.
"Do you want to talk about it now?" He asked again softly. Sailor Moon stared at him for a moment, trying to decipher just how trustworthy he was. He was after the rainbow crystals after all. And he did have his own agenda for wanting them. But he didn't seem evil. And he'd had more than enough chances to kill her if he'd wanted to. But no, he'd always gone out of his way to save her. Always. It was at this moment, that Sailor Moon decided that she trusted him completely; with her life.
"How often does being Tuxedo Kamen interfere with your civilian life?" she asked quietly. Tuxedo Kamen froze. So this is where it was headed? Superhero life? He thought to how he never had to explain to anyone, save Motoki once or twice, about where or how he got his scars. He thought about how he never had to worry that a loved one would be killed or get caught in a cross fire with the enemy, because he had none. He thought about how his flexible class hours, how being a senior, meant he could gallivant off into a fight and be back before the bell went. He thought about how no one would ever notice if he didn't come home one night, or disappeared for hours at a time. Before he'd been thankful for these kinds of situations, but now, reflecting back on them, he just felt hollow. Realising that Sailor Moon sat next to him waiting for his answer, he put on a blasé voice and replied
"Ah, not that much to be honest, why do you ask?
But Sailor Moon could only gape at him. 'Not that much?' she internally echoed. 'Not that much?!' Recovering, she pressed on, eager to discover how to create such a life.
"Not that much? How come?"
"Well, why should it? It's all about learning what to do with the cards you've been handed in life, isn't it? Tell me about life as Sailor Moon then. Is it as glamorous as all your fans think?"
Sailor Moon looked grimly at him before turning to stare out at the still waters before them, a watery moon reflecting up at its real counterpart.
"Far from it. It affects everything I do."
Tuxedo Kamen was surprised to hear that. "Really?"
Sailor Moon nodded, tears springing to her eyes. "What do you want to hear about first? How my late nights make me sleep in, and I get a detention for being tardy? Or how I spend the rest of the class falling asleep because I'm too tired to keep my eyes open? No. No, you want to hear about my failing tests, right? Because that always gives people a kick. Or is it the disappointment I give my family and friends for doing so poorly? I disappoint myself when I disappoint others. It's not right. I hate doing it to them, and myself! But what can I-" Tuxedo Kamen cut her off by placing a soft, gloved hand over her mouth.
"Hey. It can't be that bad. What about your Senshi? How do they do at school?"
Sailor Moon looked down at her lap again, and when she looked up again, her eyes were full of angry tears.
"No one gets it, do they? I'm not like the other Senshi! I'm different! I'm their leader! I'm the one with the most responsibility! I'm the one with the most weight on my shoulders! I'm the one who has to make all the judgments! I'm the one who has to actually destroy the monster!" Sailor Moon stood up angrily to walk around the roof, her hands gesturing left, right and centre as she gained her stride. "I'm the one who has to spend the most energy at these fights! I'm the one it costs the most! I'm the one who never has her energy levels full, which makes me extra clumsy, which gets me yelled at, which-" she angrily grabbed at the gloved hand that made its way over her mouth again from behind. Spinning around she shouted
"What?! You asked-"
"I know what I asked" he said kindly, "I just wanted a moment to process it all. You say all this now, to a total stranger in the open night, but have you ever explained this to someone else before?"
"No! How could I? I'm careless Senshi leader Sailor Moon! I'm not allowed to have FEELINGS!" When she started to cry, she stood there, letting him comfort her by holding her close. He gently soothed her with soft noises and stroking her hair. "Hey now, you're not careless, you're brave! And you're smart! And you're-" This time it was Sailor Moon who cut him off. In an instant, she was out of his arms and staring at him with strange eyes.
"How would you know that? I'm NOT brave, and I'm NOT smart! I'm not anything but a failure! I'm clumsy and whiney and always late. I eat like a pig because I need the energy, and I wail when I'm hurt because no one expects me to cry. Now do you have a picture of what I'm like?" In a hard voice, she said, "If you knew me in civilian form, you'd hate me. And rightfully so".
Sailor moon stared hard at Tuxedo Kamen, relieved that she was finally getting something off her chest; guilty that she was losing her temper and taking it out on him; and wary, had she said too much?
"That," he started slowly, "didn't sound like you. That sounded like someone else." He paused for a second as he drew his conclusion. "Has someone said this to you?" He thought back to someone it reminded him of, and he almost smiled as the differences between the two stacked up, a thousand to one, before returning to the present.
While in thought, he had subconsciously lead her to a pile of abandoned crates, and motioned for her to sit on the most stable looking one, as he took the air vent for his seat.
Sailor Moon, on the other hand, was shocked that he'd picked that up.
Nodding, she said, "Everyday."
That made Tuxedo Kamen angry. Internally, he was fuming, and plotting murder against whoever had made this sunshine feel so dim; but he made sure to keep his face calm and soothing to urge her on.
"Well, there's Sailor Mars of course. She has a fiery temper as you've probably seen, and if you catch her in the wrong mood..." Sailor Moon trailed off grimly, before fixing a smile on her face, which Tuxedo Kamen saw through immediately and continued. "But she's not that bad. It's this guy I see. Everyday. He's the one that loves pointing out my flaws".
'I knew it! It was a boy!' Tuxedo Kamen's inner voice cried triumphantly, before sobering slightly at the realisation that he too, had someone he wasn't very nice to on a daily basis. "Go on" he urged seriously.
"Well. His name is Mamoru. And he's two years older than me, a 12th grader. He goes to one of those really smart schools, which is probably why he thinks I'm so dumb, because he's used to being surrounded by super smart girls." She peeked sideways to gauge his reaction, but he appeared to be staring transfixed at the moon. Pensive almost.
He startled her by saying, "I'm listening," without even looking at her, but she pressed on, not willing to let her slight scare be obvious.
"The first time we met was ironically the day I first became Sailor Moon," she gestured down at her fuku. "And I accidentally hit him on the head with a failed test. When I saw how pathetic that test score was, that very day I vowed I'd do better. Oh but little did I know! Anyway, after that...fateful meeting, I've run into him twice a day –literally!-, and he'd make a snide comment about my hair." Her hand made its way up to her hair without her realising it, "or my grades, or my laziness, or my eating habits, or my supposed 'crush' on the local arcade worker Motoki, -who is just a FRIEND!- or anything really! He loves it when I fall over, because I hurt myself, and he loves it when I embarrass myself in public, because then he gets to have others laugh at me with him. He's so frustrating I want to cry!" Sailor Moon said fiercely. When Tuxedo Kamen looked over at her, she added quietly, "and most days I do", and his heart broke.
This strong, brave warrior, was none other than little Usagi Tsukino, the girl he'd taunted day after day for months on end. She'd had the strength, and the bravery mocked out of her by none other than the one that saved her. 'Oh Usagi' he thought sadly. 'What have I done to you?' Was it too late? Was HE too late? Had he pummelled her self esteem so much that there was no chance of fixing it? He'd make it up to her. Somehow.
When he pulled himself out of his reverie, he noticed Sailor Moon staring at her boots, trying not to cry. Leaning forward, he planted his elbows on his knees so he was within a metre of her face, and said, "Sailor Moon? You know what I think?"
Not even looking up, Sailor Moon shook her head very slowly, eyes fixed on her boots.
"I think that you're an amazing girl. You're strong. And you're brave. I know you are. You're a light that shines in this otherwise dark world. You're more than you think you are. This planet is lucky to have you as its defender! But as for those who put you down, who are they to say what they do?" Reaching out a hand, he placed it under her chin, and gently forced her head up to his level so he could speak directly to her, and look her in the eyes. "Pointing out your flaws? Who doesn't have them! Flaws are what keep people from hating us." As she tried to look away, he held firmly to her chin. "Sailor Mars? Jealous. This...Mamoru? Jealous. If you want to know what I think, I think he likes you. I really do. You know how they say in elementary school that if a boy picks on you, he has a crush on you? This Mamoru sure has it!"
Sailor Moon found this hard to believe. "And how would you know he's not just some bully who likes to see me miserable for his entertainment?" Tuxedo Kamen almost smiled sadly at the thought of her opinion of him.
"Because, little bunny, believe it or not, there's something I'm not proud of either. I'm not exactly the world's most polite gentleman to a girl I know. And it wasn't until a little while ago, that I realised that I was in love with her." Sailor Moon felt her heart sink sadly at the thought that Tuxedo Kamen was in love, for she'd always had a little thing for him. But she was happy nevertheless that at least someone was getting their happily ever after.
"I think tomorrow –not today, you should spend today in bed recuperating your lack of sleep-, you should give this guy another chance. He might surprise you." When Sailor Moon looked at him sceptically, he shrugged and said, "If not, you can come back here every night and talk to me about whatever's on your mind."
Sailor Moon nodded and stood up. Before she could run off, Tuxedo Kamen grabbed her wrist and looked seriously into her eyes. "And I want something else from you, Sailor Moon". Her heart started pounding as the rational part of her brain argued 'but didn't you just declare you loved another girl?'
"I want you to tell one of your Senshi how you feel. Alright? Doesn't matter who, whether it be quiet little Mercury, or paranoid, overprotective Jupiter, or even that strange purple cat of yours I've seen you uh, talk to. Just. Talk. Ok? Just talk. You shouldn't ever have to feel this way."
When Sailor Moon gazed into his caring eyes, she couldn't help but lean in and kiss him softly on the cheek. "Thank you" she whispered smiling gently, before melting into the shadows and leaping off to who-knows-where.
Tuxedo Kamenf, putting two gloved fingers to his cheek smiled. "You're welcome... Usako".