AN: Here is the final chapter. I have a big headcold right now, so I'm not even sure if it makes sense since I'm surrounded by so many drugs and my head is pretty heavy and crazy right now *crazed grin* I made sure to leave the story with a possibility of an epilogue, but also that it can go without one. I'm hoping/I'd prefer not to write an epilogue, but if some of you feel the story is unifinished, I suppose I could whip something up.
Usual disclaimer applies. I don't own Hannah Montana, Sailor Moon, Disney movies, any scientific discoveries... Nothing. :C Not even a piddly biology patent. Bah!
T plus ...
She took herself to the temple. She didn't know why. She didn't think about it. Her body had just taken her somewhere where she felt safe. And that was at Rei's.
She stumbled into Rei's room and slammed the door shut, causing the frame to shudder dangerously. Sobs that felt ripped all the way from the pit of her stomach to her throat filled the room as she sank to the floor and leaned against Rei's low, flat bed.
She didn't want Mamoru to be Tuxedo Kamen.
She didn't want Tuxedo Kamen to be Mamoru.
She didn't want to be Usagi, the silly girl playing dressup to a hero that all of Japan looked up to. She wasn't fit to take care of anything, and now her saviour knew it.
Everything becomes so complicated when you live a double life! Glamours and shields and identities and possible-allies-possible-enemies! It was stupid. She was stupid. He was stupid.
Everything was stupid.
And then the tears stopped. Usagi had a massive and throbbing headache, one that threatened to split open her forehead and spill her brains to the world, right there on Rei's floor, she couldn't see anything and the world stung her eyes in all its brightness.
The pain only fuelled the anger though, and Usagi went from desperately-depressed to blazingly angry in a matter of seconds.
How dare he make her feel bad about being Sailor Moon? He was the one who wasn't even needed on the battlefield. He was useless. His stupid roses did nothing except crack the pavement and distract the youma whilst the real soldiers fought it off and wore it down.
Usagi heard the door slide open and close just as quietly. The brief tiptoe of feet padded across the floor until the body slid down against the bed beside her own.
"He's stupid," Usagi spat without turning.
"He's stupid," Rei agreed, still facing the door .
"I am a good Senshi!" Usagi continued vehemently.
"You are a good Senshi."
"He…" Usagi trailed off, eyes wide as she realised she didn't know what she wanted to say.
"Disappointed you?" Rei whispered in the quiet room.
"Yeah," Usagi whispered just as quietly.
"Is it really that bad? Mamoru is a responsible, attentive young man. So is Tuxedo Kamen, who might I remind you, is the reason you're here today. Again and again."
"I know, I know," the blonde scowled deeply. "But he's still a jerk and he only saved my life because he didn't know who I was. Now he's not even going to bother!"
"Don't talk like that," floated Minako's voice as she hung in Rei's window, arms folded and holding her up. Usagi and Rei spun around to look up at her. "You're a great Senshi and an even great girl," she turned her head and called over her shoulder. "Bit higher, Mako. They've seen me now."
A jerk pushed Minako up high enough that she could get a proper grip on the sill and leap gracefully down to Rei's bed, which only sprung slightly from the impact. "Ta da!"
And then the door slid open again to reveal Ami and Makoto, who came in bearing encouraging smiles.
"I'm so angry with him," Usagi said to her newfound audience. She banged her hand on the hardwood floor. "He's a jerk. He made me feel bad about myself again. See? He can do that even when he's not here! Jerk," she added again.
"It's okay to feel like this, Usa-chan," Ami spoke after a while. "You have two separate relationships with this man and now they've been fused. We understand what you must be going through."
"I wouldn't say they're fused," Makoto said. "They're still two separate relationships, right?"
"Wrong," Usagi said in a hard voice. "They've fused and now I hate both of them just as much as the other." She banged her palm on the ground again, if only to keep herself from yanking on her pigtails to keep her frustration intact. "He humiliated me! He now knows who I am and he tried to tell me at a PARTY!"
During her outburst, Usagi felt a streak of energy run down her spine, and instantly knew what it meant. She sighed wearily and got to her feet, being eyed wearily by her friends.
"Let's go kill this thing before he turns up," she huffed, her words followed by the trilled beeping of Ami's youma-detector as she pulled it out of her subspace pocket.
The Senshi burst on to the scene six minutes later. The youma spun to them and let out an angry and surprised snarl. It was dark and hard shelled, whilst dripping slime from its mouth, fingers and slits in its neck.
"It's corrosive!" yelled Sailor Jupiter as they watched some of the pavement dissolve as if nothing more than cardboard. Sailor Mars jumped back just in time to avoid some of the flying spit the monster sprayed her way.
"Keep it busy!" But Sailor Mercury needn't have said anything, as the Senshi automatically slipped into routine. The minutes ticked by as the girls and the youma performed an almost tango-like dance. Give, take. Back, forth. Sent attack, retreat from acid.
"Mercury?" Sailor Venus called through gritted teeth as she clutched a rib, which had taken the brunt of a fall to avoid a hole in the pavement. "Diagnosis?"
"Where do I aim? Where do I aim?" Sailor Moon was squealing nervously as she held her tiara in front of her, eyes darting left and right to find an escape before she was cornered.
"The computer's broken!" Sailor Mercury yelled in response to both blondes. She was closest to Sailor Moon, so she said loudly, "I couldn't fix it!"
"Fix it?" Sailor Mars' head whipped over. "Did you know it was broken beforehand?" Her eyes held far more acid and heat that the youma could possess at this moment.
"So I just have to guess?" Sailor Moon squeaked.
"Hurry!" Sailor Jupiter called as she threw a handful of lightning at the youma's back. But it was a pointless attack. The back's shell protected it from any harm. It could only be hurt from the underside, where the shell was nonexistent.
Sailor Moon had a plan formed instantly. "Stay back," she warned her friends in a voice of steel. "This might get messy."
Her friends retreated, and Sailor Moon backed slowly into the wall behind her, eyes warily watching the corrosive slim that dripped from the monster. One false move and she really would be a pair of odangos on the sidewalk…
"That's it," she muttered to herself as her predator-slash-prey inched forward after her, eyes crazed and hungry looking. But it didn't want energy, from the looks of it. It wanted to destroy.
Behind her back, Sailor Moon traded her tiara for her wand, feeling the increased level of energy would be needed. She felt the tiara's weight settled once more on her brow as it disappeared from her hand, and gripped the handle of the Moon Wand tighter.
"Just a bit more," she whispered, eyes now locked on the youma, who leered at her, pleased to find its prey 'trapped'.
"Now!" Sailor Moon yelled as she threw her wand out before her and willed a channelled beam of energy into the underside of the shelled youma.
And just like she'd expected, the dark figure she'd seen from the corner of her eye was gone in a flash, now covering them both protectively with his cape.
When the final bang sounded, as well as the squelching sound of flying goo hitting pavements, storefronts and the occasional bin, Tuxedo Kamen ripped off his cape, where visible holes were being created and threw it to the ground.
Without a word of thanks, Sailor Moon stepped out from behind her human shield and began strutting back to her friends, which, unfortunately, entailed answering to Sailor Mars, who was carrying on about the broken computer.
"What," called a voice from behind the Senshi leader. "No thanks?"
"Do I need to?" she said coldly, turning back to him. "Formalities are just that now. Formalities. You never showed me any before you knew who I also was, shouldn't I return the favour?"
Tuxedo Kamen stared at her, disbelief etched deep into his face. "Are you serious?" he ended up spluttering out as Sailor Moon had made to turn back around. "I just saved your life. Again."
Further reminding of just how many times she owed him her life soured Sailor Moon's mood further. Like she didn't already feel stupid and reckless.
"Thanks," she hissed. "I didn't know you were keeping count."
"Why are you being like this?" he called as she began to walk away again in annoyance. "Why is it so terrible that I am who I am? Why can't you just be glad that I'm someone you know. Someone you can trust. I would protect you in both personas you know."
Sailor Moon spun back and in her anger, accidentally shot a blast of energy from her wand into the ground between them, leaving a scorch mark to accompany the caustic holes in the pavement.
"Because you're not a good person! You're not a good person in my books, and you want me to suddenly change my mind about you because you've kept me alive all these months? You think that's going to work? Because it isn't."
"I didn't reveal who I was for that." Suddenly, he was angry, and Usagi was tempted to take a step back. But thankfully, her body stayed put. "I was handing you my trust. I was showing you I was your ally. It was a spur of the moment decision, and I thought it best to be done not near a youma-fight where the Negaverse had the opportunity to overhear or see anything."
Behind her, Sailor Moon could sense her friends' heightening alert. She wondered if they'd step in soon, or let her have her beef with the man. She hoped they'd step in soon before she did something really impulsive and reckless. Like fry him to a crisp. "How can you be so selfish?" she asked wonderingly. "Who said I wanted your identity in the first place?"
"And you're saying you didn't want it," he laughed humourlessly with a cold smile. "What man uses Vanilla scented shampoo, Sailor Moon? Or should I say Tanaka?"
Sailor Moon felt her blood turn cold. Surely he wasn't saying what he was saying, right? He was only blindly stabbing at a guess? Randomly shooting the arrow, hoping to hit a bullseye.
"You're an idiot," she told him.
"I tried as well, you know. To figure out your identity. I'm not going to hold that one back, since you did the same thing. Tell me, do you know how hard it is for a private investigator to follow a superhero around town?"
"It's impossible," Sailor Moon spat, before realising her slip up. "Do you know what happens when people try to use a body recognition scanning system on another superhero?"
"Was the glamour still effective?"
"Then the system, which I'm assuming is Sailor Mercury's computer, would have blown up." Sailor Mars let out an angry splutter at this. "A glamour protects those from trying to figure out the identity of its owner, particularly without the owner's knowledge or permission. My turn, do you know difficult it is to hide a voice recognition system in a subspace pocket and have it working to the full effect on unsuspecting middle school girls? Girls who wail a lot?"
Sailor Moon did know how difficult it was to look under a disguise by way of voice recognition, as she had done just that. But instead, she said "Do you know how irksome it is to know some guy has gone and got himself another girl friend to bump into every day, leaving the old one behind?"
The blonde clamped her mouth shut, realising how her speech could be immediately misinterpreted. And when in doubt, stop talking and admit nothing.
"I don't have a girlfriend…." Tuxedo Kamen said slowly, a small crease forming between his eyebrows above his mask. "And even if I did, who are you implying is the old one?"
Sailor Moon remained silent, willing her friends to step in. They didn't. Useless girls, she thought grumpily to herself.
"Are you saying you've expended energy into trying to figure out who Tuxedo Kamen really is in civilian form? That you had an inkling of whom it might be? That you were hopeful?"
"I never said that," Sailor Moon said through tight lips. "And I don't want to talk about it anymore."
She stalked over to where Sailor Venus was, ready to march home to Rei's with her friends when she was called back.
"Why did you react the way you did? At least answer me that."
His voice was softer, more quieter, and when she glanced over her shoulder, he was standing much closer than he had been before.
It was like the tango with the youma all over again. One step forward, two steps back, one step forward, repeat.
She stalked up to him and poked him in the chest with a hard finger. "Because you made me feel like a loser! You made me feel like I wasn't good enough to be Sailor Moon, now that someone who knows what a failure I can be in civilian, knows who I am when I'm not her."
She resisted the urge to punch him as she glared up into those familiar sapphire eyes, regarding her with… something behind that white mask. That white satin mask that she had held in her own two hands this very afternoon.
"Why should you feel like a loser?" he asked, confused. "It only shows that when you put your mind to it and focus, you can be as brave and powerful and great as you want to be. As you need to be. Can't you see that?"
Sailor Moon felt her anger drain out her body. Slowly, like a full bath emptying cup by cup down the small drain until there were nothing but dregs.
"But you don't believe that," she said with a small smile. "Do you?"
"Of course I do. Confidence is the key in life. And you already know you've got it when you apply yourself. Why not always apply yourself? Be the best you can be?"
"Always one for the corny speeches," Sailor Moon heard Sailor Venus whisper to the girls. "Isn't he?"
"And you don't have any ideas as to what might suck any confidence I might have right out the door?" Sailor Moon asked, tilting her chin up defiantly just a bit.
"My apologies for that will last a lifetime. I've learnt my lesson, believe me."
"Because you now know that your victim can turn you into dust if she feels so inclined?"
Tuxedo Kamen tipped his head slightly. "Perhaps. But also because I've realised there's more to the girl that I thought, and I want to get to know her better. The real, whole, packaged deal her. The beautiful, happy, carefree girl that can make bring sunshine and life into a room, and more."
"And you're not just saying that because Tuxie has the hots for Moonhead, right?" Sailor Mars asked testily. Sailor Moon turned to look at her friend, who was regarding the man before them with crossed arms and a wary expression. Her eyes flickered to meet Sailor Moon's, who smiled greatfully at her friend. Mars winked and Moon turned.
"Tuxie may have had had the hots for Moonhead," the man said solomly, a hint of a grin spreading. "But someone else he knows might have a bit of a crush on a friend of a friend. I think you might know her?"
"You don't know if she's free," Sailor Moon pointed out, crossing her arms and smirking at the looming superhero before her.
"Then you'll just have to tell her my friend will meet her at their usual place at ten A.M. tomorrow morning for milkshakes, his shout. Think you can pass on that message?"
"She isn't up at ten A.M. on a Saturday," the blonde said, shaking her head. "Make it eleven thirty and I'll see what I can do."
"Deal," Tuxedo Kamen said, holding out a hand. Sailor Moon reached forward and shook it, noticing too late the wide grin that spread over her companion's face. He tugged her hand, and she stumbled towards him, immediately being enveloped with his other arm as he leaned down and kissed her.
Sailor Moon smiled into the light kiss as she heard her friends gasp (and in Venus and Jupiter's cases, squeal and woop) in surprise.
When the pair separated, Sailor Moon was still grinning dazedly. "My friend will see your friend tomorrow at ten."