Disclaimer: I don't own Sailormoon, the song, and all the rest of it :)
Just For Tonight
Author's Note: I have a friend who is mad for Japanese musical groups and shared the English translation of a song that she likes. It's "Shenkirou/Shinkirou" by Matenrou Opera. The writer is a guy named Ayame, who I believe is the pianist of that band. Now, I've never heard the song or the group – so I hereby invoke author's rights (is there such a thing? LOL) and took liberty with the lyrics/song since I have no idea how the original goes – but the lyrics just got to me and I liked it so much it continued running through my head before I slept... and suddenly, I realized that the song was just perfect for my favorite anime couple. And so here it is... I hope you like it. Muchos gracias to iamzie, who very nicely beta-read this and had awesome suggestions!
A/N: My apologies. I uploaded before I had a chance to edit. I fixed it as fast as I could then re-uploaded it.
I yelled your name louder than anyone, the name I've gotten used to calling...
"Mamoru-baka, really, in the four years we've known each other, do you think there will ever come a time when you'll stop calling me by that ridiculous nickname?"
Mamoru recovered from his surprise and grinned at the blonde, who was looking at him with a long-suffering expression on her face. "Why not? It suits you." He reached out to tug her pigtails and raised a surprise eyebrow when she didn't pull away, like she usually did.
"You're leaving tomorrow," she dryly said, to explain her deviance from their usual routine. "I figured I'd give you a break. I kind of doubt you'd find another girl in America with a hairstyle quite like mine."
He chuckled. "That's true." He turned his attention to the rest of the girls and smiled warmly at them. "Minako, Makoto, Rei, Ami, so good of you guys to come as well." He stepped aside to allow the girls to enter his apartment.
"Hey! You came!" Motoko yelled loudly when they entered the threshold. "That's just awesome! Come in! Come in! Drinks are that way, food over here and people – " He gestured widely with his arms to encompass the view of the entire apartment, which was filled with people, " – are all over the place!"
Her friends went off to mingle as they each saw someone they knew, but Usagi stayed and knew when Mamoru had reached her side. "I didn't think a jerk like you knew this many people. And certainly I didn't think they all liked you enough to drop by on your going-away party."
Mamoru looked down at her and rolled his eyes. "I'm so glad that we've outgrown all the bickering that has marred our friendship since day one," he said sarcastically.
Usagi scowled. "Oh please! Have we ever talked in any other way?"
Motoki chose this moment to shove his face between the shoulder blades of the two. "She has a point, you know. All of us who know you both have harbored the fondest wish that somehow, someday, you would outgrow it..." He slung a friendly arm around his two friends and maneuvered them deeper into the apartment. "And yet, here you guys are – Usagi and her friends have just graduated from high school and my best bud is fulfilling his lifelong dream of going to the States on a hard-earned scholarship to learn how to save lives. Yet nothing about the two of you has changed at all!" He gave a sidelong glance at the blonde. "But I must admit, Usagi, that I, and the rest of Juban area, I am sure, are immensely relieved that you have gotten over your unfortunate habit of shrieking shrilly and yelling your insults at Mamoru whenever he riles your temper."
Mamoru added drolly, "Sure, now she just hisses under her breath."
"She still turns red, though."
Mamoru nodded. "True. And she still cries."
"True. But not as often and not as fast as before."
"True. But her temper is still as easily riled as ever."
"True. But – "
Usagi groaned, interrupting whatever Motoki was about to say. "Ugh. I cannot take any more abuse. I'm leaving you people before you ruin the party for me."
The men watched her leave, not unaware of the admiring glances some of the guys in the party gave her, although she was oblivious to them. Mamoru had to admit that he and Motoki were also probably included in the number of guys who watched her appreciatively. One had to be blind not to notice her appeal, but for some reason, that appeal was far stronger for Mamoru, who had watched her grow from child to woman.
"Are you going to tell her?" Motoki asked, tearing his gaze away from Usagi only to see his friend still watching her back.
"What?" He tore his gaze away from Usagi's disappearing back.
"It is your last night, right? Why don't you tell her how you feel?"
Mamoru scowled. "What do you mean, tell her how I feel? What are you talking about?"
Motoki laughed and slapped his best friend in the back. "Dude! I know you never said anything, but I do have eyes you know! You've known her for four years and I've known you for five, and in the past three and a half years, you look at her... differently. Besides, you've always treated her differently and you've always been different when you're with her. As this is your last night, I figured, I might as well clue you in that I've known for the longest time that you're crazy about her."
Mamoru frowned. "You could've just asked me?"
Motoki snorted. "Like you would've answered!"
"Yeah, I'm sure you would – to deny it!"
Mamoru had no answer to that, other than to agree, which he didn't want to do, so he just scowled.
"So." Motoko, who ignored his best friend's scowl, playfully hit Mamoru on the arm. "Are you gonna 'fess up?"
"Of course not!"
"But it's your last night! You'll never have another chance again!"
"I could tell her when I come back!" Mamoru snuck a glance and saw that she was smiling and nodding to whatever some girl was telling her.
"Aha! So you do like her! And you do plan on telling her! You're just being chicken and delaying when to tell her!"
"I am NOT a chicken!"
Motoko began making chicken noises under his breath until he caught sight of Mamoru's expression. "Geez, Mamoru, lighten up. Just tell the girl how you feel. Stop loving her in silence, that's so overrated. Look, it's your last night, right? So, what's the worst that could happen? You confess, she laughs, you leave tomorrow. You confess, she feels the same way, you go on long-distance relationship bliss, then you're together when you get back after a year. Something to look forward to, right?"
"Long-distance relationship?" Mamoru looked at him skeptically. "That's kind of hard, isn't it? Especially as our fictitious future relationship is just beginning and she's going to start college?"
Motoki grinned. "So? You've been friends, close friends, for four years. A little distance is not likely to hurt that, especially since you can write, e-mail, and call each other. Besides, knowing Usagi, she's as loyal as they come and she loves with her whole heart, so no fears there." He shot a glance at Reika, with whom he had a 3-and-a-half-year long-distance relationship in the four years they've been together, and said in a soft, somehow, wise tone of voice, "Besides, sometimes there's just a girl who will be worth all of that. Don't you think Usagi's that girl?"
Mamoru could only nod.
Motoki slung his arm around Mamoru's shoulder again. "So think about it, wouldja?"
And Mamoru did. The whole night long.
I yelled your name louder than anyone, the name I've gotten used to calling,
Because I understand your pain and your loneliness better than anyone else...
Usagi watched them over the rim of her glass, noting with satisfaction Mamoru's open expression and how he looked at Motoki with an open face. They were good-naturedly arguing over something, although Mamoru looked irritated then finally, resigned. Motoki laughed again and slapped Mamoru on the back before joining the party again. Mamoru watched him leave with an affectionate expression on his face before his gaze slid to the rest of the people in the party and Usagi watched as his expression became less open, less... expressive of his emotions. He probably wasn't aware that he did that, Usagi knew, but over the years, she noted that he had slowly allowed himself to... be himself with a handful of people.
Usagi thought back to the first time they met... she had throw a test paper over her shoulder only to have it hit him on the head. He had mocked her for her very low grade and she had responded rather predictably, for her that is. The next time they 'met', she had lifted her foot in a too-high kick and her shoe flew off and hit him on the head, and he reacted predictably (Usagi highly doubts that someone would react kindly to literally having been brained), which got her hackles up. It was only later, when she caught Mamoru with Motoki that she learned who he was. And how she noticed, when they didn't have direct contact/conversations with each other, how he was always... proper. Reserved. Quiet.
When he was happy, he smiled. When he was angry, his eyebrows met in the middle of his forehead. And that was pretty much the sum of his emotions.
For some reason, it was only when she irritated him that he showed an honest to goodness big enough amount of emotion to reflect in his facial expression, eyes, and voice. When she irritated him, his eyebrows did their ritual meeting but his eyes also grew stormy, his voice bristled, and he scowled. When she did something stupid that amused him to no end, he laughed. Not even a manly chuckle or anything, but actual laughter.
And she yearned for that.
For reasons unknown, she couldn't stand how he was so reserved, so contained, all the time. She, who wore her emotions on her sleeve and gave full vent to whatever she felt at the moment, grew crazy wondering how he could live without, well, living. First, he was her enemy... but as she slowly got to know Motoki and, by relation, him, it later became a game, with her trying to crack his infamous shell. How much would he be willing to take before he cracked? Sure, she was still irritated (who wouldn't be, with the amount of abuse he heaped upon her?) but she had something new to distract her and every single time, she felt a surge of accomplishment whenever she made him lose his temper.
They slowly grew to be friends – how could they not? What with the daily bickering and being friends with people who were friends with each other – and Mamoru grew less and less reserved and could even be seen joking with Motoki, with her friends, and, as Motoki once confessed to her, his classmates. Although the arguments were still a big part of their friendship, it soon became something that they just did because they couldn't be anything else.
Still, she was glad. And she also made it a point, always, to irritate him whenever he got that closed look on his face, whenever his eyes grew shuttered. She couldn't stand his loneliness, his apart-ness.
"Girl, if you don't stop staring, he's going to melt."
Usagi turned, face already breaking into a wide grin, and faced Rei's mischievous face. "Oh, please, you're just jealous 'cause you had your chance and you blew it!"
Rei laughed good-naturedly. Although she made a play for him when they first met, she soon gave up when she realized that (1) Mamoru wasn't interested in her and (2) he was never really, well, open with her that she soon gave up trying to figure out what he was thinking and feeling.
"Are you going to tell him how you feel tonight?" Minako asked, suddenly coming up beside Rei, and was soon followed by Makoto and Ami.
"Yeah, it is his last night here," Ami added.
Usagi looked at her friend in disbelief. "What are you, insane? Of course not!"
"He's going to be gone for one whole year, Usagi," Makoto argued. "This is your last chance!"
Usagi snorted. "Oh please! Even if he'll be gone for a year, he's still coming back after that! And as he lives in the area so it's not likely that we'll never see each other again."
"But he'll be gone for a year!" Minako insisted. "Even if you say something now and he laughs at you, you have one whole year to recover and get over him! And when he comes back, you can pretend you forgot all about your crush over him!"
Ami suddenly randomly wondered aloud, "Is it still called a crush if she's had it, and had it bad, for the past four years?"
"Three and a half!" Usagi snapped.
"Yeah, don't forget that, for the first six months, we crushed over Motoki." Makoto snickered. The girls all shot looks at their ex-crush, who was busy gazing adoringly into the eyes of his long-time girlfriend, Reika, at a relatively empty spot on Mamoru's couch.
You pretend that you don't notice... I like your ambiguous glances...
Usagi's gaze travelled towards Mamoru as he conversed easily with a few friends she assumes are from his college. He smiled at them as they talked. Usagi saw the upward turn of his lips, the relaxed stance, but noted, also, how his eyes were... shuttered. Again. His companions all laughed and he chuckled as he sipped his drink. Somehow, his eyes flickered around the room and met hers.
On cue, almost instinctively, Usagi pointedly looked at her surroundings and shot Mamoru a look that plainly said 'how can a guy like you live in a place like this?'
It's still okay to smile... I'm the only one who suits you...
Mamoru burst out laughing, correctly interpreting her expression. He turned to his companions with a more open expression on his face. Usagi watched as he excused himself then walked towards her, with a smirk on his face and a mischievous glint in his eyes.
Her friends somehow saw the change in her expression (although she has repeatedly denied that her face looks any different because of him, her friends begged to differ) and all looked behind them to see Mamoru walking towards them. When he was only a few feet away, Minako chose that moment to hiss teasingly into her ear, "Don't forget to wipe the drool off your face!"
She turned to scowl at her just as Mamoru said, "Are you guys enjoying the party?"
Ignoring Usagi completely, Minako smiled brightly at Mamoru. "We are, but Usagi's irritated about something."
Mamoru raised an eyebrow at her. "Odango? Is there something in my apartment that you disapprove of?"
She looked up, into his eyes, into the teasing glint she saw there and how she saw no trace of the guarded expression she used to see in his eyes – and her heart melted, like it always did.
"Yeah. It is way too nice for you. I always kind of pictured you crawling out of whatever hole you live in. I am disappointed, very disappointed, to see that you live almost like a normal human being."
Mamoru smirked. "I am a normal human being. Unlike – "
"Mamoru, for heaven's sake, can't you stop teasing Usagi for one night? One night! Yeesh!" Reika affectionately reprimanded him as she joined their group.
She waved a dismissive hand. "I know, I know. She always starts it. Whatever. Mamoru, you're four whole years older than she is, I'd expect you to be much more mature than she is."
While Reika was busy reprimanding Mamoru, Usagi stuck her tongue out at Mamoru in the universal 'ha ha I win!' way. Unfortunately, Reika caught her. "And you, Usagi, for all that you have grown and matured, I don't quite know how to feel knowing that Mamoru is the only one who can still reduce you to the young teenager you once were!"
This time it was Mamoru's turn to smirk at her in the 'ha ha I win!' kind of way as Usagi fought desperately to win her losing battle with her blush.
Reika beamed at the girls. "Which reminds me, I am terribly sorry that I never got around to congratulating you girls, I can't believe you've finally graduated high school! Have you finally decided on a college and a course?"
And soon, the girls began talking animatedly about college and courses and careers, and Usagi (whom Reika quizzed first) and Mamoru sort of ended up drifting to the side (especially when Reika began quizzing Ami on her plans, which have been formed and laid on stone since Ami was around 5).
Even when I blink, I want to meet you in a dream...
Mamoru and Usagi watched, in companionable silence, looking affectionately at their friends. After a while, when Usagi was sure that all her friends were busy with the conversation and that nobody was paying them any attention, she gathered her courage (her friends' "it's his last night!" playing non-stop in her mind) and cast a sidelong look at Mamoru. Somehow feeling her gaze, he turned to look at her.
"I'd like to thank you, by the way," Usagi began, sounding nonchalant even though her palms were sweating and she was gripping her glass tightly so he wouldn't notice her shaking.
Mamoru's eyebrows rose in surprise. "You're thanking me?! Will wonders never cease! Odango, are you sick or something?" He peered down at her.
Usagi groaned. "Shut up, baka! This is what I get for trying to be nice!"
"All right, all right! I'm sorry." Mamoru put a serious, intent expression on his face. "Okay, what now?"
Usagi burst out laughing. "Somehow, baka, you can't quite pull off that look with regards to me. I know you too well. Geez, baka, stop pretending, especially when you're with me."
Mamoru, his faux serious/intent expression falling away to reveal a smiling, carefree face, but Usagi somehow caught the seriousness in his eyes. His mouth formed words, but his voice was too low or the music was too loud, either way, Usagi wasn't sure if what she heard was correct: "I never pretend, especially not when I'm with you."
Usagi looked away, suddenly confused and unsure. There was something in the way that he looked...
Usagi turned back, relieved to see Mamoru's mocking face back in place.
It's his last night, it's his last night, it's his last night!
Usagi took a deep breath, avoided looking into his eyes, and said, as nonchalantly as possible, "Thank you for continuing to tease me and irritate me and nag me about my grades. Although Ami is largely responsible for my being able to pass high school and even get decent grades in the last 2 years of my high school life, I have to admit – grudgingly – that a small part of my passing – probably, somehow, with a very thin connection, really – is owed to you."
"You used me as an inspiration." Mamoru clutched his chest. "I am touched, awed, by your adoration of this humble face."
"Oh shut up!" Usagi rolled her eyes. "I only meant that you pissed me off so much I swore to prove you wrong!"
Mamoru burst out laughing.
"Ugh! That's the last time, I swear, baka, that's the LAST time I'm ever going to thank you for something!"
"I'd like to thank you as well."
For a moment, it didn't register, what he said, then… "What?!"
He shuffled his feet slightly and coughed self-consciously. "Um... that is... I know I ragged on you for your grades but when you started improving and I could see you really applying yourself, I just... I just figured it'd be really embarrassing if I was the one to flunk, so I worked extra hard as well."
Usagi continued to gape at him.
"What?" he said defensively.
Usagi sputtered. "But... but... but you always got good grades! It wasn't like you had to try very hard!"
Mamoru rolled his eyes. "Have you been to college?! Oh, never mind, you soon will be. But the courses there are really hard! I mean, I know I could've passed even without studying, but I had to work extra hard to get the grades that I did."
Usagi threw her hands up in the air. "Finally! The world makes sense again!"
Mamoru looked confused. "I beg your pardon?"
Usagi dryly explained, "For a minute there, I thought the world would come at an end. First of all, you and me, acting nice to each other – while not an uncommon event, it is certainly one we don't engage at very often. And another, I really, really thought you'd manage to conduct a conversation which is not at all egotistical and you go and say something that just reeks of over self-confidence!"
There was a moment where Mamoru had to think back to what he said before he realized what she meant then he burst out laughing.
The continuing pulse in my chest sings and melts with the pulse in your chest...
"Somehow, Odango, in a really weird way, I'm kind of glad you bring out the worse in me." He offered his glass, as if to toast.
"Likewise, baka, likewise." She clicked her glass against his before both drained the contents.
Even when I blink, I want to meet you in a dream...
"Just 'cause it's his last night here (how many times has she heard and thought that the entire night? A million times? A gazillion times?) doesn't mean anything! I don't have to do anything!" Usagi grumbled to herself, glaring at her inoffensive alarm clock which was glowing numerically right back at her.
"It's 2-freaking-a.m! Usagi, get a grip!" Usagi groaned and threw the covers up to cover her head. An angry yowl told her she accidentally displaced her cat, Luna. She threw the covers down. "Sorry, Luna! I forgot you were there!" But the dark blue cat just gave her a baleful glance before stalking outside her room with her tail up and an air of the severely affronted.
"Oh great!" Usagi groaned, tossing the blankets over her head once again. "The love of my life is leaving tomorrow morning, I am pondering a life-altering decision, and my cat hates me! It's a good thing the rest of my family isn't home or they'll wonder if I've gone insane at 2-freaking-a.m.!"
Her father had another out-of-town business trip and decided to bring her mother along. Her brother had a big group project due for school and they decided to spend the weekend at a member's house to finish it.
Usagi closed her eyes and willed herself to sleep, only to keep seeing Mamoru and all their memories in the past four years in her mind's eye.
After everything you've been through, a small voice said at the back of her head, accompanying her Mamoru slide show, this is your last chance. Are you going to grab it or spend the rest of your life regretting that you never did?
"Argh!" She shoved the blanket aside and sat up on her bed. For some reason, her favorite line from the "Transformers" movie suddenly played itself in her head and she could hear Shia tell Megan, "Fifty years from now, when you're looking back at your life, don't you want to be able to say you had the guts to get in the car?" Of course, when she remembered that, she also remembered that when she watched the movie, she was seated between Mamoru and Ami. She, the girls, Motoki, Mamoru, and Minako's boy-of-the-moment had watched that movie together and Mamoru and Usagi somehow ended up seating together.
She caught sight of herself in her mirror and glared. "I must be insane!"
We'll create a world, only for two people... I wonder if I could live only for you...
Mamoru had just finished setting the alarm on his clock when the faint knock sounded. Since his clock said it was almost 3am and he wasn't expecting anybody, he thought that perhaps someone was just knocking on the wrong door. Or maybe he was just hearing things.
He looked around his now-bare bedroom, satisfied that he had not left anything behind. After the party, he, Motoki, Reika, Usagi, and the other girls cleaned up but the girls left early since they still had curfews. After a lot of hugs and kisses and a few tears (girls really cry easily, don't they?) with promises to keep in touch, Reika volunteered to drive them home and when the two friends were left alone in the apartment, Motoki suddenly got all sentimental and began reminiscing about their friendship. Although there was much eye-rolling on his part and groaned, "dude, you're embarrassing me! Be a man, for Godsakes!" Mamoru had been kind of glad to know that Motoki cared that much about him. Still, no matter how much Mamoru cared about Motoki or how close the two best friends were, he was infinitely relieved when Reika arrived and forcibly dragged Motoki away. Since Mamoru had insisted on going to the airport alone, they knew it was the last time they would ever see each other for Mamoru's scholarship didn't exactly leave a lot of free time for visits back to Japan.
He lied down on his bed and put his arms behind his head, thinking back on his life and how he had reached this point. Although he was very nervous about moving to halfway around the world, he was also looking forward to the challenge. He will definitely miss all his friends here, especially Usagi. His heart wrenched at the thought. He had loved her for years, she was the one constant in his life... and he never told her how he felt (Motoki decided to give him a lecture on that immediately after Reika and the girls left).
It's your last night, it's your last night, it's your last night!
Mamoru groaned. At 3-freaking-a.m., he knew very well that he couldn't just call Usagi to confess his undying love, but... but...
"Think about it, wouldja?"
Damn Motoki. The whole night Mamoru thought and thought and thought and thought. He thought during the party. He thought while he was hanging out with Usagi at the party. He thought while he was hanging out with his other friends during the party. He thought while they were cleaning up (there were a few moments they were along together but somehow, the words always got stuck in his throat). He thought when each girl hugged him and kissed him on the cheek. He especially thought when it was Usagi's turn and he had half a mind to just grab her and kiss her and hold her tight and never let her go.
He almost did, actually. When he and Usagi hugged, he tightened the hug and held her longer than he held anybody else. He felt Usagi's hands clutch his shirt at his back and somehow fancied that she was also affected. When they finally separated, Usagi smiled at him brightly, but he could see that her eyes were shining a little too brightly, her smile was a little too big. He had stared at those eyes, at those blue eyes that he has stared at every day for the past four years and a pain like he had never known seized him as he thought about the next year when he would not be able to see those eyes again. Unconsciously, instinctively, he had bent down, his lips aimed at hers, his eyes continued to stare at hers... then the banging of the closet door as Reika slammed it shut after getting her jacket jerked them apart.
And Usagi ended up leaving without him being able to do or say anything.
Mamoru sighed, a half-formed idea in his head of passing by Usagi's house before heading to the airport so he could... what? Confess he loved her but apologize because he had to leave at once after? Kiss her senseless then explain everything in a letter/email/phone call/video call? He groaned. His best bet, really, was just to come back early. He knew he had some days off and he computed that if he didn't take any of them and lumped them together into one, he'd have one week off three months from now. It was too long, of course, but certainly better than the rushed fantasy he had.
He groaned. After four years of knowing her, three and a half of loving her, why is he only NOW thinking about confessing his feelings for her? Couldn't he have done it ages ago? But he knew very well why he didn't... the truth was that she scared the beejesus out of him. She, who could make him feel, made him alive, broke down every barrier he had every single time she turned those eyes on him... she represented everything he loved and feared.
He again heard someone knock on his door, this time more insistently. With a frown, he stood up and, after a moment's hesitation, decided that, at 3am, he was certainly allowed to answer his door in nothing but a pair of shorts.
Mamoru opened his door...
Even when I blink, I want to meet you in a dream...
... And gaped in shock at the person on the other side.
She was nervous and scared to death, pale and practically shaking with fear. Yet there was a determined look on her face, in her luminous eyes. She looked at him, into his eyes. And, like always, he just fell for her.
There was trust in them, and something else. And somehow, that something else in her eyes gave him courage. It wasn't that he feared the consequences or how she would react but suddenly, it seemed the easiest thing to tell her how he felt. Every time he saw her face, looked into her eyes, every time he was with her... he was home.
"Usagi, I – "
"No, don't say anything." She shook her head firmly and Mamoru noted, with some shock, that her hair was tied in a slightly messy ponytail instead of its usual style. He was so taken aback that he didn't really register what she was saying until she called his name again.
He turned to look at her, at the determined expression on her face, in her eyes. With her, it had always been her eyes. His weakness and his strength.
"Please," she begged him, "Don't say anything."
She looked around behind her then entered his room and leaned on the door, locking it behind her. He knew she locked it because he dimly heard the lock click, but all his attention was on Usagi, on her eyes. There was just something in the way she was looking at him... he couldn't turn away, couldn't do anything else but try to read what her eyes were saying.
At the corner of his eye, he saw her kicking off her shoes. His eyes widened as she shrugged out of her coat and he saw that she was wearing the dress that she had worn at his party, except without the tights underneath and lose gauzy over-shirt thing... and while he still had the presence of mind to think, he was fervently grateful she wore the tights and over-shift earlier that night, because the dress was really short... and fitting...
"Mamoru," Usagi started firmly, intending to say everything, do everything in the crazy half-formed planned she had put together on her way back to his apartment. She had only this one night. She bravely pushed away all doubts, insecurities, worries...
Just for tonight...
"I know it's your last night, Mamoru, and you're leaving tomorrow and you're staying in America for one whole year and I'm not sure if I'll see you again. I mean, I most likely will, when you come back after a year, but who knows what the future holds, right? So this is my last chance, my only chance... and since you're leaving tomorrow... I mean, we've known each other for four years. Four years, Mamoru! And for all of that, I..."
Why, oh why, can't she say the words?! She tried again...
"I... Mamoru, if you could just... look, I know you don't care about me, at least not in that way, but for one night, for one moment... Mamoru..."
Ah, damn it! She was never good with words anyway. Time for plan B, or the second stage, or whatever.
And before she could have second or third or fourth, or even first thoughts, really, she hooked her arms around his neck, pulled him down, and kissed him.
I won't tell anyone, I won't disturb you... Cover me up with your lips...
Mamoru was having a hard time trying to make sense of what Usagi was saying. It didn't particularly help that, what with everything he had been thinking of the entire night, her lips were distracting him as he fantasized what it would be like to kiss her. He had half a mind to just grab her and kiss her to shut her up when her arms went around him like a vise and suddenly, she was kissing him. Without even thinking, with barely a second of frozen surprise, he was kissing her back.
He wasn't sure why they were kissing, only that they were. He had no idea what she had been saying, but what he was about to say, he said in his kiss. She didn't give him a chance to confess how he felt but they were kissing and he took this chance to show her how he felt.
Your skin, your breath, your warmth, your voice,
Why don't you touch me, even though I want you to…?
She was DEFINITELY not an experienced kisser but what she lacked in experience, she made up for with emotions. She had one chance, one chance to tell him how she felt and she blew it. This was her last chance of showing him how she felt.
And maybe he understood her, because he always did. And maybe she knew him, because she always did.
When breathing became necessary, they separated slightly, breathing hard and staring at each other. Midnight blue eyes on cornflower blue eyes, each with depths that the other was afraid to see, each with depths that they were only now showing.
She kissed him, hard, then pulled back before he could kiss her back. "No, not tonight, Mamoru, no words tonight, please."
Mamoru grasped her chin, stared at her, hard. She didn't know what he saw there, but she was relieved when all he did was give a single, determined nod.
"No words, Usako."
Then he kissed her...
Treat my body as you please, paint it with your colors...
I want you to love me, I want you to love me
With your heart, your fingers, with the tip of your tongue
More, more, even if it's only this moment's pleasure
Look at me, look at me, fulfill me with you, only me...
Very, very careful not to wake him up, Usagi sneaked out of his apartment a few hours later, not quite knowing how to feel.
Of course, she was happy. She was exhilarated and high and madly in love and all other happy emotions associated with love... she was sure reality would come crashing in after a while, but for the moment, she was just... happy. So very happy, in a way she has never been in her entire life.
Yet at the same time... not.
She entered her room and changed, wincing slightly at certain tender parts of her body that she never thought would become tender. Certainly not now. As she crawled into her bed (even though she knew she would not be able to sleep), she tried to figure out how she was feeling.
Was she happy? Definitely!
Was she disappointed? Certainly not!
Did she regret it? No. She couldn't.
Usagi ruefully admitted that perhaps that was the source of her... not-ecstatic side. Yes, she did go to his apartment with every intention of trying to admit how felt and maybe even try to kiss him. She had not quite intended... nor expected... that he was going to kiss her back... or that her brain would stop functioning when he did... or that they would get so caught up in emotions...
She smiled dreamily at the thought, at the memory, of him kissing her, kissing her as passionately as she was kissing him. She vaguely recalled that he carried her... then he was laying her on something soft (it was only when she woke up that she realized, to her immense embarrassment, they were in his bedroom)... then his hands were so gentle on her skin...
Usagi fell asleep with a dreamy smile on her face.
We'll create a world, only for two people... I wonder if I could live only for you...
Mamoru automatically rolled over to hit the snooze button when his alarm went off. Then he rolled back and reached for the warm body he knew was there...
Except she wasn't there.
He jerked awake immediately and looked around his room, suddenly disoriented. At first he thought it was a dream, a really, really vivid dream that was equal parts good (heck, his subconscious was not that good with the imagery and emotions) and bad (to have her in his arms then realize it was just a dream). Everywhere he looked, there was no sign that she had ever been there, so he grabbed the pillow next to his and inhaled... and smelled her scent...
Immediately, he felt better. With a smile on his face, his world felt right once more. It was real. Last night was real. Although last night certainly went beyond anything he expected or planned (how could he have planned for something like that?) but... he had no regrets. He may have had some regrets about Usagi's request that no words be spoken, as there were many words he wanted to say but all in all, he thought they did pretty well expressing themselves non-verbally.
"Usako?" he called, thinking that maybe she was just outside his room. He stood up and grinned, anticipating the pleasure of seeing her again this morning. He automatically began to fix his bed but froze when he saw a small rusty-red spot in the middle of the sheet.
For some weird reason, it was at that moment that he just knew that Usagi was not in his apartment anymore.
Still, call him stupid, but he just had to check. Twice. Just to be sure. He was about to go on his third prowl around a really small living space when he finally forced himself to stop and sit on his couch with his head in his hands.
Did he do something wrong? Say something wrong? Was last night too much? Too little? Should he have chained her to his bed and never let her go?
His phone rang suddenly and he leaped across the couch, immediately tripped, and fell flat on his face. Although he has lived in the same apartment for more years than he cared to remember, he has never quite been this intimate with his carpet and he didn't think he wanted to repeat the experience. His hand, however, somehow attached itself to the handset and, after lifting his head off the carpet, he was able to answer the phone.
"Sir?" a confused male voice asked hesitantly.
Mamoru closed his eyes, his heart protesting tiredly at the extremes of emotions Usako had driven him in the past (he glanced quickly at the clock) four hours. Still, he would not regret it for the world.
"Mr. Chiba?" the voice asked hesitantly.
The caller sounded relieved. "Ah, sir, the taxi you requested just arrived. The driver is asking if you need any help with your bags so he can go up in case you need assistance."
He gaped at the phone. His taxi? His bags? How could he leave after the night he shared with Usagi?
Then his gaze fell on his luggage, the bags he packed the day before, the clothing laid out today with his acceptance letter in his coat pocket.
How could he not leave when everything he has worked hard for, everything he has ever dreamed of, was now at his fingertips?
He stared at his coat, his eyes burning the pocket that held his ticket, his visa, his scholarship details, his acceptance letter... then he glanced back at the bed, at the pillow that still had the dent of Usagi's head.
Was there even a contest?
"I'll be right down."
I yelled your name louder than anyone, the name I've gotten used to calling,
Because I understand your pain and loneliness better than anyone else...
Anybody who knew Usagi knows that she is the soundest sleeper imaginable.
Usagi can sleep through a test, a lecture, a storm. In fact, Usagi slept through the alarming sway of the branches. She slept through the sound of the tree outside her window scrape the side of their house. She slept through Mamoru's ungraceful leap into her room. She slept through his muffled "oof!" as he introduced himself, intimately, to her carpet. She even slept through his three calls, in increasing volume, of "Usako".
And until Mamoru got to see this first hand, he did not believe that someone could sleep through all that racket and not even stir. And he now cannot believe how someone who sleeps as deeply as Usagi does could get up before he did and sneak out of his apartment at such an early hour, all without him – a light sleeper! – knowing.
And so Usagi slept... and she ignored the way her blanket lifted slightly... ignored the way a part of her bed suddenly depressed... ignored the way her blanket somehow settled itself snuggly atop her... but when an arm snaked across her waist in a position that she has only experienced once in her entire life, she bolted upright. Unfortunately, the aforementioned arm was a lot stronger than she previously remembered it being and she immediately got jerked back to her bed. Almost fearfully, she turned to look at her side. Midnight blue eyes stared at her cornflower blue ones with an almost angry intensity.
You pretend that you don't notice… I like your ambiguous glances...
"Good morning, Usako." There were undertones to his voice that Usagi refused to listen to. He sounded like he was waiting for a reply and seemed almost challenging, daring her to not say a thing as his expression said clearly that he was willing to wait until forever if she was going to be stubborn about it.
"G'morning," Usagi squeaked.
It's still okay to smile… I'm the only one who suits you...
"So explain to me, if you will, what exactly happened last night?"
Usagi, memories of last night suddenly playing in her mind's eye, blushed furiously.
Mamoru suddenly grinned at seeing her blush. "I mean, other than that."
She glared at him.
He chuckled back. "You know, between the two of us, you have always been the talker and I have been the doer. Now, you're the doer and I'm the talker. That suits me fine. So, last night, or rather, very early this morning, you said no words and I agreed but apparently actions were not enough to convince you of anything else you wouldn't have left my bed before I had woken up. Correct?"
Usagi had no idea what to say to that and even if she did, for some weird reason, even though she knew the timing was highly inappropriate, she was suddenly worried about morning breath...
"Usako?" His voice turned gentle. "Do you still have any doubts?"
Honesty seemed the best bet. And he seemed to expect it as well. So, after only a moment's hesitation, she gave one short nod.
Even when I blink, I want to meet you in a dream...
"Was I that bad?" Mamoru chuckled at the vehement way Usagi shook her head. "Okay... do you... regret what happened?"
Another vigorous shake of her head.
Usagi hesitated... then she figured that after everything they have been through, her worry about morning breath really was ridiculous. And considering the fact that she hasn't been asleep long, she probably doesn't even have it.
"Mamoru, in all the time we've known each other, we've done nothing but argue and bicker. Even when we have moments when we're... nice to each other, we always go back to the arguing and bickering."
Usagi sputtered. "So? What do you mean, so? Well... it's not like... I didn't know how you felt... how was I to know... I mean, duh! I didn't know how you felt!"
"I didn't know how you felt, but after last night, I think I have a pretty good idea."
The continuing pulse in my chest sings and melts with the pulse in your chest...
"Oh," she said weakly.
"Do you doubt my feelings?"
Usagi had no idea what to say, as she was still trying to assimilate what he was saying. Or what he was trying to say...
We'll create a world, only for two people.
I wonder if I could live only for you…
Usagi felt him sigh. And it was a wonderful feeling really, to feel how his shoulders lifted, his chest expanded, how even his legs felt like it relaxed after the release of his breath. So this was how it felt like to be held against the one you loved, Usagi thought, in wonderment.
"Usako, I love you. I wish I could tell you that I fell for you the first moment that I saw you, but I didn't. But one day, it was just an ordinary day and I don't even remember when, all I remember was that one day, when you turned to look at me and I looked into your eyes, I just... fell. And since that moment, every time I look into your eyes, I fall for you every time."
Usagi's grew slack-jawed as she stared, wide-eyed, at Mamoru, a thousand emotions – mostly hope – shining in her eyes.
"I continue to argue with you because whenever I do, you glare at me and I can look into your eyes and I can fall for you, again and again and again. I irritate you because the alternative is to grab you and kiss and you hold you forever in my arms and it seems easier to let your irritation maintain our distance as I didn't trust myself to be strong enough to do so. I love you. You make me feel alive. You make me feel emotions I never thought I'd feel, never thought I'd welcome again. You make... you are my home, Usako, my life. Everything is all right in my world as long as you are in it."
Usagi, with tears in her eyes, cupped his face in her hands and leaned in to kiss him.
"Uh, no," Mamoru chuckled and gently took away her hands, but before moving it away, he kissed her fingertips. "Last night you told me no words and I agreed. Last night I gave you the actions and so much more. Today, give me the words... Please, Usako..." And he gave her the most loving smile she has ever seen on his face. And his eyes... she looked into his eyes and only saw everything he was saying in them, nothing hidden, nothing guarded.
She swallowed. "I love you. I've always loved you. You smiled and I wanted to make you laugh. You looked and I wanted to make you see. You make me want to be everything I can be, for you. At first it was a game... you always seemed so guarded, so reserved, and I wanted to take away the loneliness, even if only for a while, crack your shell, your cool reserve. And whenever I succeeded, I always felt so happy. After a while I wondered why your happiness was so important to me and I realized that I loved you. You... with you... With you, I don't have to be anybody else except who I am."
Why don't you touch me, even though I want you?
Treat my body as you please, paint it with your colors,
I won't tell anyone, I won't disturb you,
Cover me up with your lips...
"Usako," Mamoru said tenderly before leaning down slowly, gently...
"Wait!" Usagi yelped and, in her agitation, she accidentally pushed Mamoru a little too hard.
"Oh crap! Are you okay?" She peered at the edge of her bed to see Mamoru lying down on her floor.
"There's just something about today and me and carpets, isn't there?"
"Nothing, nothing." Mamoru stood up. "What was that for?"
"Your flight!" she shrieked, remembering. "What time is your flight? You're going to be late!"
Mamoru glanced at the clock at her bedside table. "I think it's safe to say that I'm already kind of late. Besides, I told the taxi to leave. You know it'll take forever to get to the airport if we have to commute."
Usagi gaped at him. "But... but... your scholarship!"
Mamoru shrugged. "I can catch a later flight. The semester doesn't officially start until 2 weeks from now. I had decided to go there early so I can familiarize myself with my surroundings but I can still leave next week and have time enough." He raised an eyebrow. "You didn't really expect me to leave you after... well, you know."
"Besides, if anything is worth missing my flight, you are it."
Usagi giggled, then scooted to one side of her bed in an unspoken invitation that he lie down again beside her.
Your skin, your breath, your warmth, your voice…
I want you to love me…
I want you to love me with your heart, with your fingers, with the tip of your tongue...
"So, what now?" Usagi sleepily asked as Mamoru rhythmically stroked her back. They had been lying down on Usagi's bed for quite a while, with arms wrapped around each other, simply content to be with each other.
"I... kind of overheard Rei saying that you and Ami took the SATs...?"
Usagi nodded, not bothering to keep any more secrets from him at this point.
"Well, how did you do?"
"We just graduated two weeks ago, remember? Ami and I took the SATs last week and we were told that the results will come out 2-4 weeks after."
More, more, even if it's only this moment's pleasure...
Mamoru chuckled. "I have to confess, then, that when I was applying for a scholarship, I was also looking for schools that you could maybe enroll in..."
Usagi smiled. "And I have to confess that I sent an application to all schools located near your university."
"Including my own school?"
A pause, then, Usagi wondered, "What happens if I don't get accepted into any school in the States?"
There was something in her voice... Mamoru leaned back and looked down, to see her looking up at him. And he realize that she was not asking because she was worried she wouldn't get in (although they both probably worried a bit about that since Usagi's high school grades weren't that... stellar), she was asking because she was worried how things would be if he was in the States and she was in Japan.
"Then I'll call you every day and visit whenever I can and when my year is up, I'll look forward to moving back here and being with you."
Look at me, look at me…
Usagi smiled at him and saw his eyes that had no loneliness in them, no guarded shutters, eyes that were open and honest and staring at her with his every emotion, every truth, in their depths.
And he smiled at her and stared into her eyes and felt himself falling for her. And knew he found his home, his place.
Fulfill me with you, only me...