Ladies and babies! Presenting the final installment of this (mis)adventure. Without further ado…
Usagi borrowed a nice brown pea coat from Luna and left Harue in the care of Luna, Artemis and Ami, to their delight.
"I don't want Chiba getting any ideas if I show up with him," Usagi told the family. She and Zoicite pulled up to the Chibas' house a little before 9pm. Usagi looked nervously at Zoicite.
"You don't think they're sleeping or anything, do you?" she asked him. Zoicite let out a long suffering sigh, but looked at her kindly.
"Don't worry," he said. "Just relax and we'll be in and out in less than twenty minutes. Thirty if he's offering pie." Usagi took a deep breath and tried to let go of the tension in her muscles.
"Thank you so much for doing this," she said for the fifth or sixth time. "I'm sorry I dragged you into this."
"Technically it was my mother who dragged me," Zoicite muttered to himself. He got out of the car and went to open Usagi's door. He helped her out of the car and offered his arm to lead her up to the door. He smiled and winked at Usagi. "We've gotta sell it, right?" Usagi smiled in return and took his arm, and then rang the doorbell. A short, stout, grey haired man in a black suit answered the door.
"May I help you?" he asked the pair. Usagi cleared her throat and fixed a smile on her face.
"I'd like to speak to Haru Chiba-san," she told the man. "It's really important that I see him immediately. My name is Usagi Tsukino." The man's eyes widened at her name and he ushered her and Zoicite in.
"Please, come in," he said. He went to take their coats, and Usagi realized that this man must have been the butler. He left them in the foyer and hurried to get Haru. Zoicite looked around the entrance way and whistled.
"Fancy place," he said. "They've got a butler and marble flooring. I'll admit, I'm a little impressed." Usagi smiled ruefully.
"Fancy or not, I'm not letting my son grow up here." Just then Haru made his way down the stairs, rushing up to greet Usagi and Zoicite.
"My dear, girl," he said, smiling sympathetically at her. "I hope my son hasn't blown everything out of proportion. I would have like to talk to you myself before him, but what's done is done. Why don't we talk in my study? The cook will bring us some coffee." He led them past the living room and into the study. Usagi and Zoicite sat in the soft, high backed chairs that faced Haru's desk, a simpler version of what was in his office at work. Haru smiled, but looked at Zoicite questioningly. Usagi took another deep breath and smiled in what she hoped was a slightly amused, but kind way.
"Chiba-san, I talked to Mamoru this evening and there seems to be some confusion about our baby," she said. Usagi reached out her hand, but it hung there for a second before Zoicite realized that she wanted him to hold it. He jumped slightly and snatched it, smiling at Haru.
"Yup, our…Junior is a great kid. I could see why you'd want him in your family," Zoicite said, chuckling nervously. Usagi furrowed her brows at him. Where was the bravado he had just minutes ago? Haru for his part looked stricken. His face paled and he moved his mouth a few times as he tried to think of what to say.
"Chiba-san?" Usagi asked, leaning forward. "Are you alright?"
"I-I'm fine," he said. He sank back into his chair, looking dazed. "I'm just embarrassed. Oh my gosh, the things I said to Mamoru…" Just then the door burst open with a solid bang against the wall.
"Dad! I'm not the father and I can prove it!" Haru looked up startled as Mamoru walked into the study with a mousy looking young man in thick glasses in tow. "This man is the father!" Haru looked stunned for a moment. Then he sat up straighter in his chair and smirked at his son.
"Oh, really?" he asked. "Because that's not what this young lady says." Usagi clenched her teeth and huffed in annoyance as she leaned around the high back of the chair and glared at Mamoru. Zoicite leaned around, too, looking astonished.
"She say's this is Harue's father," Haru told Mamoru triumphantly. Zoicite, still trying to play his part stood up to shake Mamoru's hand. Mamoru ignored the proffered hand and turned red with rage.
"So you're him?" he demanded. "Do you have any idea what you've put Usagi through?" Usagi leapt up and put a hand out.
"Mamoru, stop!" she yelled. The cook walked in just then, with the tray of coffee and a small metal pot. Mamoru snatched the pot and glowered at Zoicite.
"So you like throwing coffee pots, right?" He raised the pot up and smashed it on Zoicite's head. Usagi watched in horror as Zoicite crumpled to the ground, holding his head.
"Are you insane?" she cried, rushing to help Zoicite up. Mamoru was going to retort when a shrill whistle cut through the din.
"What is going on?" Haru yelled. Umino rushed up to the desk, looking frightened at the turn of events.
"Chiba-san, this is the honest truth. I'm not the father. He is!" Umino pointed to Mamoru, who then rushed up next to Umino.
"I'm not the father," he insisted. He pointed to Zoicite, who was still nursing the lump on his head. "He's the father. And from what I've heard, he deserves more than just a coffee pot to the head." Now Zoicite rushed up to the desk and glared at Mamoru.
"Wait a second, I'm not the father," he told them. "My parents are her landlords!"
"I don't care who the father is," Haru declared. "I'm the grandfather!"
"Dad, this is ridiculous! Let's just let Usagi explain!" All four men turned to Usagi, only to find an empty room behind them.
"She's gone!" Umino gasped. Haru looked around wildly.
"She'll take the baby!" he cried.
"She took my car keys!" Zoicite yelled, checking his pockets. Mamoru said nothing, but ran for his own car before the other three could really process what was going on.
-:- -:- -:- -:- -:-
Usagi banged on Luna and Artemis' door, checking over her shoulder like a fugitive. Ami opened the door and Usagi rushed inside, searching frantically for Harue. Luna came out of the bedroom carrying him in her arms. Usagi nearly burst into tears as she took the boy from Luna.
"We have to go," Usagi told the other adults. "Mamoru showed up with another 'father' and the whole thing blew up." She handed Artemis Zoicite's car keys. "Please tell him I'm sorry for taking his car." She ran up to her apartment, with Luna on her heels.
"Usagi! Wait," she called. Usagi didn't stop, but she left her door open. Luna wasn't sure if it was on purpose or not, but she went inside anyway. Usagi deposited Harue in his bassinette and ran to her room. "Usagi, where are you going?"
"Anywhere," she told Luna, throwing some clothes for her and Harue into a duffle bag. "I'll go up north for now, and try to get in contact with my aunt. I just need to get out of here before they come to take Harue." Luna looked as if she where about to cry, but bit her lip.
"I have some family in Akita," she told Usagi. "I can call ahead and see if they can't find you a place to sleep until you find a new place to live." Usagi froze in the middle of reaching for a sweater, and then threw herself at Luna, sobbing on her shoulder.
"You and Artemis have been so good to me," she said, trying to control her tears. "I don't deserve it, and i can't ever repay you, but I'll do my best. If you ever need something from me..."
"No, no, sweetie," Luna murmured, wiping the tears from Usagi's face. "You don't need to repay anything. Just promise that where ever you go, you'll do your best to be happy and take care of Harue, ok?" Usagi managed a shaky smile and nodded. She looked around the disaster area that had once been her bedroom. Clothes were strewn all over the place and she looked at Luna sheepishly.
"You can sell it if you'd like or give it to charity," she told her friend. "I'm sorry I'm leaving such a mess, but I have to leave before they get here."
"Don't worry about this. We'll store it up in the attic and send it to you when you can take it." Usagi was about to protest when they heard the downstairs door fly open.
"Usagi!" Mamoru yelled, running up the stairs. Usagi went pale and grabbed Harue, holding him tightly. She looked like she was contemplating climbing out the window, but Luna grabbed her shoulders protectively. Mamoru looked around the apartment wildly and found them in Usagi's bed room.
"I won't let them take Harue, Mamoru, I won't!" Usagi declared. "We're leaving."
"Usagi, please wait," Mamoru pleaded. He stood in the door blocking her escape. "I know how to fix this, ok. Just show my dad Harue's birth certificate. It has the father's name on it doesn't it?" Luna's face lit up and she nodded.
"That's right!" she said. "I don't know why we didn't think of it before!" Usagi sank down on the edge of her bed and started sobbing body wracking sobs to the surprise of her two companions. Mamoru immediately sat down next to her, and Luna reached to take Harue from her, but Usagi turned away from her.
"What's wrong?" Mamoru asked. He would have thought she would have been overjoyed at the simple plan. Usagi kept crying and shook her head.
"I can't!" she wailed. Harue started fussing in her arms and Usagi rocked him gently trying to calm him down, and herself at the same time. After a few deep breaths she could speak again.
"I can't show him Harue's birth certificate, because I don't have it," Usagi told them. Mamoru and Luna looked at her confused.
"Did you lose it?" Luna asked. "If that's all it is, we can get a new copy." Usagi shook her head.
"That's not it." She turned to Mamoru, though she couldn't meet his eyes. "I told you the truth before. I'm really not Harue's mother." Luna gasped, but Mamoru was stoically quiet. Face burning in humiliation, Usagi forced herself to continue. "I tried to tell everyone, but everyone kept insisting that I was and I had no way to prove otherwise. And then the guy from the orphanage threatened to call the CPC and…and then you told me my job was on the line…I didn't know what else to do…so-so I took him. I was saving to get a blood test to prove my story, but….but I don't want to give him up! I'm so sorry I lied to everyone, but please, don't take Harue from me. Please." Usagi stared at the ground and willed her tears to stop. Luna and Mamoru were quiet, and she couldn't bring herself to look either of them in the face. She felt Harue's tiny hands grasping at her and almost started crying again. Then she felt Luna's slender arms encircle her as the older woman pulled her towards her and stroked her hair.
"Well, this is an entirely different problem," Luna said. "But now that we know the truth, we can work it out." Sniffling Usagi looked at Luna bewilderedly.
"You'd still help me? After I've lied to you like this?" Luna gave her a look of consternation.
"Of course Artemis and I will help," she said. "You should have told us the truth, but under the circumstances, I can understand why you didn't . It wasn't right, but it was understandable. Now I think you two, have a lot to sort out. I'll go let Artemis know what's going on, ok?" Luna looked at Mamoru pointedly and hugged Usagi once more before leaving the apartment. Mamoru had said nothing, and he stood up and paced the room.
"I think most of this is my fault," he said. "I practically forced you into it. I'll help you, too." He stopped pacing and went back over to Usagi. "If you let me, I'll fix everything. I'll get my dad off of your back and I'll make sure you and Harue are going to be ok."
"Mamoru, why are you doing this?" Usagi asked furrowing her brow.
"What are you talking about?" Mamoru asked.
"Why are you working so hard?" Usagi set Harue in his bassinette and ran a hand over her face. "We can prove that Harue isn't yours. It'll be easy, and your dad will stop, right?"
"If it's so easy, then why are you so ready to leave the country?" Mamoru challenged. Usagi leaned against the wall, feeling suddenly drained, and looked at Mamoru sadly.
"We can prove Harue isn't yours," Usagi explained. "But we can't prove he's mine. Not legally. If it gets out that Harue isn't mine, the government might take him from me. Do you know how hard it is for a child to be adopted here? I looked it up once. The kids in these orphanages are pariahs. They need families to take care of them, but most don't want to, and the people that do want to can't most of the time because the Japanese adoption system is so screwed up…I'll leave the country before I put him through that. I might not be able to afford to give him as much as the orphanage can, but I can guarantee that he'll be loved." Usagi's cheeks were flushed with the heat of her impassioned speech and she stood over Harue protectively. Mamoru looked at Usagi in admiration. She was a far cry from the scared young woman she had been a few weeks earlier, and Mamoru knew that for better or worse, Harue couldn't have wound up with a better mother. He felt an ache in his chest as he watched them.
If I were the type, Mamoru thought, I might cry. He realized, then, that they had both somehow become important in his life. He couldn't sit by and watch them suffer like this. Mamoru pursed his lips and thought a moment. Downstairs, they heard the front door open and Haru bellowing for his son. Usagi took Harue out of his bassinette and clutched him to her chest and looked at Mamoru worriedly. Mamoru pulled them into his arms and kissed Usagi's forehead
"Trust me, ok?" He stood and went to go catch his father before he got to the room. He stopped at the bedroom door and looked back at Usagi. He looked like he was going to say something, but the sound of shouting in the hallway stopped him.
"I want to speak to my son, and now!" Haru yelled from Usagi's living room. Luna and Artemis were in the doorway trying to get him to leave.
"Sir, you can't just barge in like this!" Luna insisted. Mamoru had never seen her so angry. He went into the living room to try to calm his father down.
"Dad, is this really necessary?" Haru spun around to his son, his eyes flashing angrily.
"I knew I'd find you here!" he said, glowering at his son. "You have a lot of explaining to do, young man. I don't know what you were thinking, smoking or drinking when you came up with that idiotic idea, but please believe me, we will have words about that later. But first, I want my grandson!"
"Dad, you're being ridiculous. Calm down, you'll disturb the baby!" Haru's face flushed a deep purple in anger. Usagi peeked out of her room fearfully, but resolved to knocking Haru Chiba out cold if he came near her son. Haru saw her and tried to calm himself down.
"I'm sorry, dear," he said. "But you must understand, I only want what's best for the little one." Usagi looked at him coldly, and folded her arms.
"And, of course what's best is not being with his mother, right?" she asked.
"Alright, that's enough!" Mamoru said, stepping between them. "This is getting entirely out of hand. Dad are you really prepared to take Harue from Usagi? She's his mother and you have no proof that I'm his father."
"Don't toy with me, Mamoru!" Harue warned his son. "I'm not going to allow my grandson to grow up in such squalor-no offence, Tsukino-san- and I will not allow it to get out that my son is an irresponsible philanderer!" Mamoru sighed, then squared his shoulders.
"Fine, in that case, I am the father," Mamoru declared. Behind him Usagi gasped and started to protest, but Mamoru kept talking. "I'm the father and I'm going to take care of my son, myself. Starting with taking care of his mother, if she'll let me." Mamoru turned to Usagi hopefully.
"Mamoru what are you doing?" she hissed as he got closer. Mamoru could see surprise and anger battling in her eyes. He took her hands and lowered his voice so only she could hear.
"You asked me earlier why I'm working so hard to help you and Harue, but honestly, compared to what you've done, I don't I am working that hard. This is probably the worst possible time to say this, but I love you, Usagi. I love you both, and you would make me the happiest man alive if you'll agree to marry me." Usagi's eyes filled with tears and she looked away from Mamoru.
"Are you doing this out of pity?" she asked him.
"Trust me, pity is the last thing you make me feel," Mamoru snorted.
"You irritate me," Usagi told him. Mamoru grinned impishly.
"And you irritate me. Perfect match." Usagi smiled weakly, then looked down at their intertwined hands.
"You haven't known me long enough to know you love me." Mamoru let go of her hands and tilted Usagi's chin up. Tears were streaming down her cheeks and she tried to look away again, but Mamoru made her look at him.
"I know you well enough to know that you are the most loving, giving, self-sacrificing, and creative woman I've ever met. You're stubborn and sarcastic, sure and you always have to challenge me, but I love that about you, too. If there's anything else I don't know yet, well, I don't mind spending the next 50 or 60 years finding out." Usagi laughed and pulled back. She wiped the tears off of her face, and realized for the first time that Zoicite, Umino, and Ami had joined the party upstairs. Everyone was watching intently, trying to figure out what was being said. Usagi laughed a bit at them.
"Everyone's watching us," Usagi whispered. Mamoru glanced back, and grinned again.
"Well, are you really going to turn me down in front of all these people?" he asked her. Usagi laughed outright at that, then pulled him into the bedroom and shut the door. She leaned against the door, rocking on her feet.
"You're the most annoying man I've ever met," she said. "And you always have to be right about everything! But, you've become one of my best friends. I do love you, and I believe you love me, but…" Mamoru's face fell, and he let his hands fall to his sides. Usagi looked at him sadly. "Mamoru, are you sure you want to do this? You don't have to get involved like this. You're a good man. I don't want you to regret this lat…" Mamoru pulled Usagi to him and kissed her firmly on the lips.
"Marry me?" Mamoru asked her again. "I promise the only thing I regret is not asking you yesterday."
"It won't be easy," Usagi warned him. "I'm extremely difficult to live with. I like weird music, I eat a lot…and I don't fit in with your friends."
"I don't care," Mamoru insisted. "I love you, and you love me, right?" Usagi nodded without hesitation. "Then what else is there? We're going to make each other angry, and have to get used to each other, but we can work through all that. Just say you'll marry me." Usagi looked at Mamoru solemnly, and shook her head.
"Unbelievable. You managed to put a hole in all my reasoning," she said. "I guess I don't have any real reason not to marry you." She smiled widely and threw her arms around his neck. Mamoru let out a loud whoop, drawing curious gurgles from Harue, still in his crib. Mamoru swept Usagi into his arms and carried her out to the living room.
"We're getting married!" he declared to the small crowd in the living room. Loud and hearty congratulations erupted. Luna and Artemis enveloped Usagi in a hug, pulling in Ami and a slightly reluctant Zoicite and Umino in as well. Haru slapped his son on the back and laughed heartily.
"I knew you'd do the right thing, son," he said. Mamoru smiled at his father.
"I guess you're officially a grandfather now," he said. . "Hey, Dad. You really believe that Harue's my son, huh?" Haru frowned at his son in a mix of confusion and consternation.
"Yes, of course." Mamoru threw an arm around his father's shoulder.
"Haha," he murmured, patting his father's back. He got up and went to join the knot of human affection surrounding his fiancée.
Wow, this is the first multi-chapter fanfic that I've ever completed, which is cool even though it technically isn't my story. I hope you enjoyed reading it! Now go watch the movie Bachelor Mother with Ginger Roberts and David Niven, and please keep an eye out for more (original) fics from me!