Episode 117

Recap: Hotaru, Usagi, and Chibiusa pay a visit to jump-over-the-bar-thing athlete Hayase-kun. So does Mimet. Crazy Daimohn at one point pushes Hayase across the track going "ROLL THE HUMAN." I died. Also, Hayase was at one point frail like Hotaru. How sentimental. You get the picture.

Oh, and also at the beginning there's this nice intro with Tux narrating how the Outers are more powerful than the Inners. Whatever.



She put on her angriest face and rapped at his door.

Five minutes and no response later, she clumped back down the hall to the elevator. Punching the lobby button, she chewed on her pigtail and glared at her reflection in the metallic door.

She oughtn't take out her frustrations at her own failings on him, but it was easier to be fake-angry at him than real-guilty at herself. And it was just… scary. Things were scary. Staring at Mimet and the Daimohn sprinting away with a pure heart. What they'd do with it – what would they do with it, if they'd really escaped? And that blast of power – from Hotaru-chan…

She'd seen Haruka, Michiru, and Setsuna watching Hotaru from afar. She knew they were thinking what she was thinking. The difference was they wanted it to be true, while she didn't. If Hotaru was the Messiah…

She shook her head, scattering – dispersing, Ami-chan, there, wasn't that impressive? – her thoughts with the flapping of her hair. As she left the apartment complex, her stomach grumbled loudly, and she fished in her bag to see if she had any cash. She beamed at the money she found there, and decided perhaps it had been too long since she'd had a burger at the Crown. And beat the entire Sailor V game in one sitting.

Her guard was down as she clumped into the arcade, strands of hair caught on her lips and bangs raked across her forehead, still deeply immersed in her musings. She frowned between the games and the food, caught in a treacherous rift of decision-making. As she mulled over her growling stomach and twitching fingers, a laugh jumped toward her, and she looked up, alarmed by its familiarity.

Her eyebrows snapped down in a sharp V. "Baaa-kaa," she muttered to herself, stomping towards him, game face on once more.

Motoki noticed her first and shoveled his handful of Mamoru's fries into his mouth before waving enthusiastically. "Usagi-chan! It's been a while, hm?"

She winked at Motoki in response and quickly replaced her glower as Mamoru turned in his seat, grinning. "Hey, Usak-" He cut off abruptly, registering her expression. "Ohhhkay, someone's on the war path…"

"What did you do this time, Mamoru?" Motoki laughed, stealing a few more fries and swirling them in mustard.

Usagi leaned forward, one hand on her hip, jabbing her finger into his shoulder. "Why," she demanded, "are you always in the last place that I look for you?"

Motoki choked.

"I'd have a difficult time being in the second-to-last place you looked, now wouldn't I?" Mamoru replied, nonplussed.

"Why's that!" she cried.

Motoki choked again.

"SHUT UP!" Usagi screeched at him, and he cowered back, solemn-faced.

Usagi turned back to Mamoru. "Why's that, baka?"

"Usako," said Mamoru blandly, "if you found me, you would stop looking."


He exchanged a Look with Motoki. Usagi fumed.

"Seriously, Usagi-chan, what's bothering you?" Motoki seemed to have recovered from her attack and leaned forward across the counter on his elbows.

She grumbled incoherently to herself and dropped onto a seat next to Mamoru.

"One of those days," said Mamoru, to no one in particular, with an air of great wisdom and no small amount of facetiousness.

He really knew how to make her feel better, didn't he. "No thanks to you," she spat.

Motoki mumbled something about feeling thirsty and shuffled away.

Affronted, Mamoru turned to her. "What did I do? Besides being somewhat unintentionally elusive?"

Lord, the way he talked could drive her up the wall sometimes. Did he understand how pretentious he sounded? "You weren't – you weren't there!" she shrieked, as loudly as she could without compromising anything important, like her identity or Mamoru's ear drums.

"You've been doing well lately," he shrugged. "You can handle it fine on your own."

She fumed at him. When had this stopped being for show and become real anger?

Maybe when he opened his mouth and she realized he was an asshole. That might have something to do with it.

"Yes," she seethed, "yes, clearly I can handle it, when Mimet and her Daimohn are running away with a pure heart, that is an obvious sign that I can handle it."

Horror washed over Mamoru's face. "Mim – they – what?"

"Oh, now he's concerned," she said loudly, "now he cares enough to focus less on making smart little comments and more on…" She would have been quite explicit with what he should have been caring about, exactly, but remembered just in time that they were in public.

"So she got away?" he whispered, his face gone pale and sweaty.

"She was about to," said Usagi shortly.

Mamoru withered in relief. "But she didn't."

She bristled at how easily he was reassured. "And do you know why?"

He frowned at her, uncertain.

"Hotaru-chan," Usagi murmured.

His eyes widened. "She…?"

"I destroyed the Daimohn," said Usagi. "But I only got the chance to because of – because of her."

Mamoru groaned and dropped his head into his palms, massaging his scalp with tetchy fingertips. "Not one of those things that goes away if you ignore it, I suppose…"

"No," said Usagi simply.

He shook his head, mute for a moment. "If I hadn't had an exam today – I would have noticed, I would have come, I just… I must have been focused too hard on studying to realize what was happening." He lifted his eyes to hers. "Usako… I'm sorry…"

"Murmfgumbr," she said, her face buried in her arms.

"What?" He lifted a pigtail away from her face.

"It's my fault," she repeated, her voice still muffled. "I just never… I never get it right, I can never do it by myself… I can never do it right."

She heard Mamoru sigh quietly, and felt him release her pigtail. "Do you remember the first night you fought a youma?"

Ugh. Drawing on memories that seemed so brittle and taffy-stuck to her brain made her head feel funny – stretched, distorted. "Yeah." She smirked a little into her wrists. "I cried a lot."

"There's an understatement," Mamoru chuckled. "What else do you remember?"

"Not a lot," Usagi admitted, turning her head to look at him sideways. "It all blurred together, I was so scared, I had no idea what to do."

"But it worked out alright, in the end."

"Sure," she said gruffly, "because of you. Without you I'd've been youma meat."

"That doesn't make sense."

"Sure it does. Meat that the youma eats."

"That would make you meat that the youma eats, not meat of a youma."

She rolled her eyes. "So what?"

"Oh," said Mamoru. "Well, I guess all I mean is… even those first few nights, without Ami, you weren't alone."

She blinked at him, her eyes big and wide and soft.

"It's funny," he said with a dry laugh, "how we can all feel so detached from each other – when our strength lies so obviously in our numbers." He set a hand between her odangos and rubbed her hair gently. "You were never meant to do this by yourself, Usako. Even from the start."

He was always there. She stared at him and he stared at her and she felt herself fall in love with him again. It was too easy to forget how much he could get on her nerves; that all vanished when he spoke like this.

"I love you," he said quietly, "and I'll be there next time. We'll fight this together, the way we were supposed to." The way we always have, he didn't say, but that didn't keep her from flinging her arms around his neck and burying her face in his shoulder.

"I love you too, Mamo-chan." So, so much.

I wanted to incorporate something from the first episode because I just rewatched it and I was like HOLY SHIT WAS USAGI EVER OBNOXIOUS. And I think she grew tremendously to arrive in the third season, so yeah. That.

Thanks for waiting for me, you guys. 3 All the loves. ALL OF THEM.

~ SB