Longing for You
A/N: So here it is! The last chapter! I'm so, so sorry that it took this long to come and I could go on and on about why, but I doubt you guys really care, so I will just say THANK YOU to all those who still stuck with it (if any of you guys are left) and to all those who put this on alert. I hope it doesn't disappoint.
Chapter Seven: Dawn
Sailor Moon raced down the slick Tokyo street as if the devil himself was after her. She was no fool; she knew that she had a limited time frame in which to take on Zoicite single-handedly. It was only a matter of minutes until Luna alerted the other senshi of her vigilante mission.
Except, Usagi noted bitterly, she hadn't exactly planned out how to go about challenging Zoicite. There was no magical door with the words "Portal to the Negaverse, enter at your own risk" flashing above the threshold, now was there?
Juuban Park was eerily silent. A splash of goosebumps cropped up on the back of Usagi's neck as she glanced behind her to make sure she was alone. The lone senshi couldn't help but feel the slightest bit creeped out being all alone in the desolate park. After all, she lived in Tokyo, where quiet was decidedly unnatural.
"Come out, come out wherever you are," Usagi trilled, feeling quite like she was playing a rather high-stakes game of hide and seek. Except she couldn't shake the suspicion that she was the hider instead of the one seeking.
Usagi headed over to the tree where Zoicite had last appeared at. Feeling stupid, she lifted a hand and gave the bark a few good knocks. "Is anybody there? Feel free to come and get me."
Suddenly, Usagi felt extremely silly. She had made a big, dramatic scene with Luna and walked out all so that she could go around knocking on trees. Everyone was probably worried sick, when in reality, all she had really done was take a stroll through the park.
Dejected, Usagi turned her back on the tree and aimed a swift kick at the nearest pebble. It ricocheted off the trunk of the adjacent tree and scuttled into oblivion. Sailor Moon sighed.
"You know, I don't normally do house calls."
Usagi whipped her head around to the source of that deep, cruel voice. "Zoicite," she sneered, holding the Moon Stick out in front of her. "It's good that you finally decided to show your face."
The general snorted and grinned malevolently. "On the contrary, I was waiting for the day when I would finally get to see your face without it being surrounded by your precious senshi bodyguards."
"Then I guess it's your lucky day, because I'm ready to end this. One on one."
"How sweet," Zoicite cooed, a stomach-churning sound. "You actually thought I'd play fair?" With a snap of his gloved fingers, three youma appeared in midair. "You know, Usagi, I will truly miss these little tête-à-têtes once you're dead."
One of the youma let out an inhuman shriek. Usagi was paralyzed. She had definitely not expected this. She stepped back as the three youma advanced, talons poised to strike.
"Crap, crap, crap!" Usagi leapt up onto a tree limb to avoid being sliced in two by a glistening talon.
"Not cool, not cool at all," she yelped as a second youma hacked at the very tree limb she was crouched upon, sending her toppling towards the ground.
This elicited a cackle from Zoicite, who was watching gleefully from afar. "It's too bad your boy Tuxedo Kamen can't give you a hand."
Her insides instantly tightened, and the senshi felt a bubble of anger crackle in the bottom of her stomach. With a swiftness she had never thought herself capable of, she flung her tiara into the gut of the nearest youma and delivered a bone-cracking kick to the head of a second one.
A giggle nearly escaped as the injured youma glanced around in a daze and another one crumpled into moondust. Amidst her joy, Sailor Moon was unable to notice the leathery vine that the forgotten third youma had released until she felt it slithering around her ankle.
"Ouch," she mumbled, as it knocked her to the ground. Unfortunately, it knocked the Moon Stick out of her grasp in the process. Usagi chuckled nervously. "Um, do you mind getting that for me?" The youma's subsequent roar was hardly encouraging.
As the injured youma recovered from its daze, Usagi realized just how helpless she was; she was corned with out a single weapon. Her initial glee at defeating the first youma dissipated.
She was going to die. She was going to die with Mamoru mad at her. The despair she had felt when Mamoru had first walked away from her increased sevenfold as she closed her eyes and awaited the inevitable pain...
...That didn't come.
"Tuxedo, the smoking bomber!"
A dazzling display of lights and the brush of cool fingertips on her waist was all that registered in Usagi's mind before she was swept away.
She blinked up at the cool, blue eyes from behind that infamous white mask. Perhaps it was her Sailor powers surging, or the adrenaline that was currently coursing through her veins after surviving a near-death experience, but for the first time in days, Usagi felt okay. In fact, she felt better than okay. Just looking into those dark eyes made the world, which had felt as if it was flipping, right itself once more.
Mamoru, however, seemed to have a much less placid view on things, for he ripped off his mask and grabbed her around the shoulders furiously.
"How could you be so stupid?" he demanded.
Usagi blinked, and felt the familiar anger bubble up again. "I wasn't being stupid. I was taking action."
"Yeah, without your other senshi or any backup. Hence the stupidity."
"I'm not incapable," Usagi glared. "I don't need bodyguards for every single thing I do. I can take care of things by myself."
"Obviously not," Mamoru said, gesturing to the youma, who was slowly advancing toward the pair of them.
Usagi remained stubborn. "That was...er...a minor misstep."
"A minor misstep that could have gotten you killed!"
Usagi looked, really looked, at his weary face and saw the lines of worry etched into his forehead. He was concerned. For her.
"Look," she began, "I'm-"
But she never finished, because the youma they had been so foolishly ignoring fastened a claw around Mamoru's leg and the warrior galvanized into action.
Usagi cursed and sprinted back to the tree to fetch her forgotten Moon Stick. Where had the dratted thing gone anyways? She crawled along on her knees, briefly wondering if one of the youma had eaten or something.
"Um, Sailor Moon," called Mamoru, as he wrestled the youma off him, "a little help?"
"Er," Usagi replied, still scrambling on the ground, "just a second!"
"We're on it!" came a voice that sounded like heaven to Usagi's ears.
In a streak of blue, red, orange, and green, the Sailor Senshi appeared before her. Never had Usagi been so glad to see them.
"Jupiter, supreme thunder!" One of the youma was thrown to the ground with a flash of light. As the senshi and Tuxedo Kamen put up a good fight against the two youma, Usagi found herself unable to tear her eyes away.
That is, until she saw the slash of human flesh and heard Sailor Mars's outraged scream, followed by the haunting cackle of Zoicite.
Sailor Moon's scrambling became more panicked and she resorted to throwing leaves in the air in her haste to locate the Moon Stick.
When her hand brushed smooth metal, her heart nearly stopped. It was the Moon Stick – a slightly muddy Moon Stick, but a Moon Stick nonetheless.
Usagi leapt upwards – dirty knees and all. There was a youma to her left just begging to be moon dusted and the Senshi needed all the help they could get. They appeared to have reached a stalemate.
Except...there was someone who had yet to be factored into the equation. The puppeteer of the entire production, the one who was content to sit from afar and bask in the destruction caused by their own two hands.
Almost in slow motion, Usagi glanced over at Zoicite, who was cackling gleefully as Tuxedo Kamen narrowly dodged a thorn-covered vine, gashing his leg as it brushed past him.
It was the straw that broke the camel's back. Usagi was hurled into an adrenaline-soaked fury.
Wielding the Moon Stick with a regality even Luna would have smiled upon, Sailor Moon advanced upon the unaware Zoicite.
Had Usagi not been so preoccupied with hurling all her power at her archrival, she would have noticed the senshi's heads whip around towards her or the whirlwind of colors encircle the deserted park.
What she did notice, however, was the shocked expression on Zoicite's face before he disintegrated into a pile of moon dust, along with the remaining youma.
For a moment, there was silence.
The senshi stared dumbly at the pile of ashed opponents. Usagi stared at the Moon Stick with a half-surprised, half-impressed look on her face. Tuxedo Kamen stared at her, his expression unreadable, but his eyes burning with something.
Was it just her or had the temperature suddenly gone up? Usagi shifted from foot to foot, the tension in the air unbearable.
It was only natural that it would be Rei to cut right through it.
"Usagi, what the hell?" she demanded, ripping off her mask and converting back to her civilian form. Had the situation not been so somber, Usagi would have giggled at the curlers still wedged in the priestess's hair.
"You didn't have to give yourself away!" Jupiter proclaimed, gesturing towards Tuxedo Kamen.
Rei waved her off. "I'm sure he's been able to put two and two together. What I haven't been able to comprehend is why Usagi thought it was okay to take on three youma without backup."
"Zoicite was something I needed to take care of myself. I don't always need to be babysat," Usagi snapped.
"You were almost killed!"
"Almost!" Usagi said stubbornly, "but I'm still alive, aren't I?"
Rei looked furious. "The end doesn't always justify the means!"
"Guys!" Mina interceded, "There's no point to this. You're both too stubborn to agree on anything. Let's take some time to cool down, maybe figure it out in the morning?"
"Technically, it is morning," Ami said dully.
"I don't know about you," Lita interjected, "but as far as I'm concerned, it's still night and my bed is calling my name."
That said, the senshi agreed (grudgingly on Rei's part) to reconvene in the morning. Casting Usagi significant glances, the senshi filed out of the park, looking exhausted.
Usagi realized there was nothing left to distract her from talking to Mamoru, and, consequently, the nerves kicked in. She looked down determinedly at her feet.
"So I guess we need to talk," he finally said, running a hand through his dark locks.
"Uh, yeah, I guess," was Usagi's unenthusiastic reply.
They stared at one another.
Usagi could take it no longer. "I'm sorry okay? I was being stupid, not telling you my identity. I just... I didn't want things to change, you know?"
Mamoru looked as if he were considering this. "I suppose...I can accept that."
"Let's just...start over. No lies." She extended her hand. "Hi, my name's Usagi and I'm a schoolgirl by day and a crime fighting superhero by night."
He grasped her hand and Usagi instantly felt a shock of tingles. "What a coincidence, Usagi, because I too fight crime after dark."
"How strange that we haven't run into each other before," she quipped.
They laughed, but once again dissolved into silence.
"Well, Usagi," Mamoru said, "it was nice meeting you and I'm sure we will be very good friends." He gave her a warm smile. "I'll see you around."
"Yeah," Usagi smiled back, "I think I'd like that." He gave her one last grin before walking away, but Usagi remained immobile. Everything felt a bit...anti-climactic.
After all, she'd defied Luna, run off into the night by herself, defeated her archrival, and now she was going home to sleep off her exhaustion and perhaps watch some cartoons in the morning? It didn't seem right. Sure, she felt pretty content at the moment, but maybe she was ready to feel something more than contentment. Maybe she owed it to herself to at least take a shot in the dark. That's what this entire night had been about, hadn't it?
His dark head whipped around, his eyebrows raised questioningly.
She began to walk over to him. "I take back what I just said." He looked confused, but she kept walking. "I want to be more than just friends."
The shock in his eyes was apparent, but slowly, it melted into something else entirely. Something that gave her the shivers up and down her body. His lips curved into a gorgeous grin.
That was enough of answer for Usagi. Without preamble, she flung herself into his arms and kissed him for all she was worth. He responded almost immediately, wrapping her up into his arms as if she was his, all his.
The sky was lightening and the sun was threatening to come up, but all was lost on Usagi as they kissed and kissed and kissed.
"I never stopped thinking about you," Mamoru said, when they breathlessly broke apart. "When I was in America, I mean."
Despite their previous intimacy, Usagi blushed. "Same here," she admitted.
They smiled at one another –goofy grins- before Mamoru encased her hand in his. He pecked her cheek once more. "We should probably get going."
Usagi looked up, startled, at the rapidly lightening sky. "I suppose so."
So hand in hand, they walked home, smiling, because this is what being happy felt like.
Please tell me what you guys thought. And in case you were wondering, I still have a few ideas for some more SM fics that will hopefully be coming your way soon. I'll post updates on my profile so head there if you have any questions or anything. -G