"ALONE ON VALENTINE'S DAY"
A Sailor Moon fanfic
By Bill K.
Sailor Moon and all related characters are (c)2002 by Naoko Takeuchi/Kodansha and Toei Animation and are used without permission, but with respect. Story is (c)2002 by Bill K.
As always, for those only familiar with the English dub:
For continuity buffs, this story occurs between Sailor Moon R and Sailor Moon S.
Finally, Haruka and Michiru are NOT cousins.
Ami and Makoto checked their watches simultaneously. Glancing at each other, they flushed slightly in embarrassment, then broke each other up with laughter.
"Are we getting predictable or what?" grinned Makoto.
"Should we go up and knock?" Ami asked, glancing through the gate to the front door of the Tsukino house.
"Give her five more minutes," Makoto said. "I love the gal like a sister, but I'm not standing in the hall with the buckets for her. And I'm definitely not serving a tardy detention - - tonight of all nights!"
"You have plans?" Ami probed gently. Makoto nodded smugly. "A date?" Makoto nodded again, her smile growing broader. "Do I know him?"
"I doubt it. I met him at the market."
"Does he look like your sempai?" Ami teased.
"Oh Ami, I am so over that," Makoto blushed. "Hiroshi's a cutie-pie, but they're like night and day." She turned to Ami. "How about you?"
"Just my books and me," Ami replied, her tone just slightly bittersweet.
"Well that's no way to spend Valentine's Day!" Makoto gasped.
"Valentine's day is just another day to me."
Before Makoto could respond, they turned to the loud clatter emanating from the Tsukino house. The girls saw Usagi burst through the door, satchel in one hand, pulling her jacket on with the other. Her lunch box dangled from her teeth by its cloth wrapping. She stumbled over the mat, nearly fell, then barreled down to the gate.
"M'nng, g'yzz," she mumbled.
"Good morning, Usagi-chan," giggled Ami.
"You're slipping, hon'," smirked Makoto. "We're actually going to make school with time to spare." Usagi wrinkled her nose at Makoto because it was the only appendage that was free. At the end of the block, Usagi finally got her jacket on. She took her lunch bag out of her mouth.
"You suppose Haruna's gonna go easy on us today?" Usagi wondered aloud. "After all, it is just the most important holiday of the year."
"Depends on if she's got a date," mumbled Makoto. "If not, we're going to have to haul our homework home in a wagon." She glanced at Usagi. "So what did you get Mamoru?"
"I got him some wonderful cologne and I put it in a pretty wrapped box with a love haiku in it. And I wrote the haiku myself!" Usagi said proudly.
"Usagi, you write haiku?" asked Ami.
"Well - - technically it has twenty-five syllables. But it's the thought that counts!"
"Damn right," Makoto nodded.
"Is Mamoru taking you out tonight?" Ami inquired.
"He has to work," scowled Usagi, "which is so totally not fair!"
"Too bad," sympathized Ami. "Did he at least get you a present?"
Usagi's mouth spread into a broad smile. "That's how I woke up so early this morning."
"He got you an alarm clock?" Makoto asked, puzzled.
"No, silly!" Recalling the memory, Usagi calmed. "I was sleeping - - dreaming of being in his arms. Then I felt someone kiss me, right on the lips, just like 'Sleeping Beauty'! I woke up and I found this on my pillow." Usagi pulled a single red rose out of her satchel.
"Awwwww!" sighed Makoto. "That's so beautiful!"
"It is sweet," Ami agreed. "But how did he get into your bedroom?"
"Well," Usagi smirked cynically, "Luna's not talking, but I can tell by the look on her face that she let him in."
"Hey, it's just nice that he thinks of you," Makoto told her.
"Yeah," Usagi sighed. "He's my sweetie."
As the trio reached the corner, Minako whizzed past them on her way to her school.
"Hi, guys!" she gasped, waving as she ran down the street. "Bye, guys!"
"Who was that blur of yellow?" Makoto asked. "Must have been the mysterious 'perpetually late woman' everyone talks about." The trio giggled and continued on to school.
The three friends reconvened at lunch in the cafeteria.
"I don't think I've ever seen Haruna-sensei so happy," marveled Ami.
"She must have hit the romance jackpot," Makoto postulated. "At least that clears the deck for me tonight."
"Tonight?" Usagi perked up. Her eyes narrowed and shifted to Makoto. "You have a date?"
"I do," Makoto said cautiously, noticing Usagi's 'matchmaker' grin.
"Is he nice? Is he cute? How long have you known him? Do you like him? Do you love him? Does he love you? Are you two . . .?"
"Usagi, whoa! It's just a date!" Makoto said, embarrassed. "If it develops, great, but I'm not printing wedding invitations or anything. Hiroshi's just a nice guy that I could possibly get to like and we're just going to spend Valentine's Day together."
"Hiroshi, huh?" Usagi smiled, eyes twinkling. Makoto rolled her eyes in helpless defeat.
It was then that the three girls noticed the boy standing near their table, just to the right of Ami. It was Yuki Hirata, from their class. He was an average student, kind of quiet, with average looks - - just one of those boys that quietly skated along the edge of everyone's perception. However right now he was looking at Ami like he was looking down the barrel of a gun. The three girls quieted and looked inquiringly at him.
"Um," he trembled, struggling not to hyperventilate as he gazed at Ami, "uh - - these are for you!" Violently he thrust a bouquet of violets at Ami.
"F-F-For me?" Ami gasped in shock, feeling the rash welling on her skin. Makoto nudged her and Ami took the bouquet with quaking hands. "Um - - t-thank you. Th-They're - - lovely."
"Um, I, um," Yuki swallowed. "I was wondering, if you weren't, um, well, weren't d-doing, um, anything, if, um, if you'd like to, um, well, go out - - with me - - tonight."
Usagi struggled to keep from laughing, because she truly sympathized with poor Yuki. Then she glanced at Ami. Ami was just sitting there, staring at him - - paralyzed.
"She'd love to, Yuki-kun," Usagi smiled.
"I would?" Ami squeaked. "I-I mean, I would! Yes!" Now Ami was struggling to keep from hyperventilating.
"Great!" beamed Yuki. "That's great! You won't regret this, Ami-chan! I promise! This is just . . .!"
"Great?" Makoto asked.
"Did you want to meet her somewhere or were you going to pick her up?" Usagi asked.
"Oh! Oh yeah!" gasped Yuki. "Ami-chan? Which would you like?" Ami's eyes grew to saucers and she looked to Usagi.
"Why don't you pick her up," smiled Usagi. She glanced at Ami and the girl quickly nodded.
"OK! Great! Fine!" Yuki nodded, then sobered. "Where do you live?"
"Um," Ami panicked. "I forget!"
Usagi wrote down an address and handed it to Yuki.
"Thank you!" Yuki bowed, clutching the address in a grip of steel. "I'll be there at seven." And Yuki floated off.
"What just happened?" Ami asked, shell-shocked.
"You got yourself a date for Valentine's Day," Usagi smiled at her.
"Yeah, the poor guy didn't stand a chance, you smooth-talking seductress," joked Makoto.
"I hope I don't disappoint him," moaned Ami.
After school, Ami and Makoto excused themselves and hurried home to prepare for their dates. Usagi waved happily to them as they left, then ambled home. Every step she took, though, reinforced her solitary status that much more clearly to her. She understood Mamoru had to work. She understood it was unavoidable. She was grateful for her present, grateful that he thought of her, and she knew he loved her and would be with her if he could.
But right now she was alone and she didn't like it. Seeing Naru and Umino walking hand in hand just ahead of her only reinforced her isolation more. Stopping by a pay phone, she dialed Minako's number. Perhaps, she thought, Minako had some time they could spend together commiserating about being dateless.
"Hello? Ryoichi?" Minako answered hopefully.
"No, it's Usagi. Who's Ryoichi?"
"A guy," Minako replied coyly.
"A cute guy?"
"I'd say so."
"A cute guy you're going out with?"
"I've heard rumors to that effect."
"Why yes, I do believe he's taking me out tonight. What else would the earthbound goddess of love and beauty be doing tonight, hmm?"
"So what can I do for you, Usagi?" Minako asked. "And make it quick, huh? I'm expecting Ryoichi to call me any minute."
"Oh! Oh - - then forget it," Usagi said quickly. "It's not important. You've got a date to prepare for."
"Oh, OK. Well then, gotta run. Pray for me, Usagi. Pray that my stunning beauty doesn't drive Ryoichi mad with desire - - at least until he pays for dinner."
Usagi giggled again and hung up. She was happy for Minako. However, that didn't help her and the girl found herself wandering over to Hikawa Shrine.
"Rei?" her grandfather said as he swept. "She's not here."
"Is she on a date, too?" Usagi asked.
"Date? Well, Yuuichiro took her up to his family's lodge for an evening of skiing. If it were another man, I'd say it was a date. Since it's Yuuichiro, well . . ."
Usagi smothered a smile.
"How about you, Usagi?" Grampa grinned. "Want to go paint the town?"
"I've already got a boyfriend, Grandpa," Usagi grinned at him. "And he's very jealous, so if you're not careful, he's going to come around here and beat you up."
"It's a risk I'm willing to take," chuckled Grandpa. He winked at her. She patted his head and skipped down the stairs. Usagi was half way down before the melancholy sigh escaped her lips.
As the sun began to set, Usagi sat on the bench in the park she had designated as "their bench" - - the one overlooking the pond. In her hands was the photo of Mamoru she always carried in her purse. She didn't move. She just looked at the picture and sighed occasionally as the world passed around her. Finally the sun settled beneath the horizon and there was on longer enough light to see the picture.
Usagi's key turned in the lock. She opened the door and found an empty house.
"That's right," Usagi scowled. "Mom and Dad went out to dinner. And Shingo's staying with his friend." She closed the door. "I hope they have fun."
Luna padded into the kitchen a little later, attracted by the light and the occasional sound. She found Usagi at the table, alone, silently munching on Soba noodles. The girl's melancholy mood hit Luna like a swung hammer.
"Usagi?" Luna asked, hopping up on the counter. "Is something wrong?"
"I'M HOME ALONE ON VALENTINE'S DAY! WHAT COULD BE WRONG?!" Usagi barked. Then, unbidden, a tear trickled down her cheek.
"Usagi," Luna sighed sympathetically. "You know Mamoru has to work."
"I know," the girl whimpered. "I do understand, Luna, I do. And I know I'm a lot better off than a lot of girls. I have a wonderful man who loves me dearly." She wiped her tears. "But it's still Valentine's Day - - and I'm still alone."
"No, you're not," Luna said softly, a gentle smile in her voice. "I'm here."
"Ohh, Lunaaa," Usagi cried, spreading her arms out. The black cat leaped over and Usagi caught her, hugging the cat to her breast. "Thank you!"
"You're quite welcomed, Usagi," Luna said softly, rubbing her forehead on Usagi's chin. "Now why don't you go upstairs and look in your room. There's something waiting there for you."
"Really?" Usagi squeaked.
Carrying Luna up the stairs, Usagi peered into her room. She didn't see it at first. Finally Usagi noticed something on her desk. It was a plush pink bunny. It held a single rose in one paw and a small cardboard heart that probably contained candy in the other paw. Usagi put Luna down and picked up the bunny. A sudden urge overcame her and she hugged the bunny tightly.
"It's been sitting there since this morning," clucked Luna gently. "But you were in such a hurry, you didn't notice it."
"I wonder who gave me this," she cooed.
"Well it certainly wasn't Shingo," Luna replied acidly. "Who do you think gave it to you!"
"I know," Usagi smiled. "I'm just teasing. Did you let him in?"
"As if I have nothing better to do," Luna told her, feigning indifference. "Go ahead and open the candy. I know you want to."
Usagi shot her tongue at Luna and opened the cardboard heart up. There was, however, no candy inside. Instead, there was a small white box and a folded note. Curious, Usagi opened the box. Inside were two heart-shaped gold earrings. Fumbling through her shock, Usagi opened the note as Luna sat and watched, smiling knowingly.
My dearest Usako,
Forgive me for leaving you alone on your favorite day. It pains me to hurt you so, even for a moment. Please accept these as a token of my regret and of my undying love for you.
Luna watched as Usagi's lower lip began to quiver.
It was late - - after midnight - - when Mamoru got home. As he entered his apartment, the exhausted man glanced at his answering machine. He hoped the light would be blinking and he was not disappointed.
"M-Mamo-chan!" he heard Usagi sob on the recording. "It was - - so wonderful! It was the best present I've ever gotten from anybody! Thank you! I love you so much! Thank you, Mamo-chan!" A gigantic sniffle punctuated the statement and the recording ended.
"You're welcomed, my love," he whispered, tenderly caressing the answering machine and smiling happily.