I wrote this back in 2009, when I was trying to improve my short story writing. It's a little fluffy, fun piece, but I though some people might enjoy sharing it with me.

Usagi spun about, arms flung wide, head flung back, laughing up at the softly falling snowflakes. Her torso was bundled up in a sweater, a puffy down jacket, and a vibrantly striped scarf, giving her body an unbalanced appearance. Her long legs were clad in leggings under jeans and her feet were encased in sturdy boots. Gloves protected her fingers, but her cap had flown off almost as soon as she'd begun spinning. In a concession to the necessity of wearing a cap, she'd left her hair loose and it stretched away from her in a golden arc.

Laughing at her friend, Ami leaned back comfortably into the cold wooden bench. Thin icicles decorated the back and underside of the bench, thawing rapidly from her body heat and the relatively warmer air that had drifted in and changed the ever-present sleet of the past few days to powdery snow. Usagi had practically ordered her out of doors as soon as she'd heard the forecast for snow. They'd both been cooped up for far too long, due to both the weather and the regimented study schedule Ami had designed for them to catch Usagi up and to prepare them for the upcoming exams when the winter break ended. She smiled in appreciation at her exuberant friend, grateful to her.

Usagi's determination to do better in school could not compete with her desire to enjoy every pleasant thing life had to offer. That drive seemed to have increased since she became a senshi, her fear that she didn't have long to live a secret burden she shared with no one else, not even with Luna. She whirled one last time, feeling the effects of her rotations beginning to overwhelm her. The sky above swirled into layers of concentric blue and white, then slowly began to shift, including browns as she lost her balance and tumbled gracelessly to the hard-frozen earth. She closed her eyes and giggled uncontrollably against the nausea and pain, her happiness undiminished by her physical discomfort.

"I guess you aren't worried about her damaging the brain cells she has left, hmm, Mizuno-san?" a voice drawled mockingly overhead.

Ami glanced at Mamoru, defensive of her friend. "Please, not today, Chiba-san," she entreated, her blue eyes soft yet stern, "She's been studying very hard and needs to expend some energy and enjoy herself."

Mamoru flushed, unaccustomed to being scolded by the quiet bookworm who followed Usagi around. But he held his ground, peering down into Usagi's peaceful face. "Oi, Odango Atama, is that true? Have you really exhausted your mental faculties studying?"

The only sign that Mamoru was getting to her was a crease between her eyebrows. Her silly smile remained plastered on her face and she inhaled deeply, enjoying the crisp scent of winter.

Mamoru tried again, "Odango? You still in there?"

The crease deepened and Usagi slowly fluttered her eyes open, then blinked repeatedly in an attempt to focus on him. "You could hold still," she mumbled as she alternated between squinting and widening her eyes to sort out his figure.

Mamoru rolled his eyes and straightened, casting Ami a pained look. "I'm not sure the studying is paying off."

Usagi huffed indignantly, rolling onto her stomach and glaring up at him. "Why can't I enjoy a rare day without sleet or gusting winds without you coming along to ruin it?" Her question was rhetorical and they both knew it. She pushed herself off the ground and rose unsteadily to her feet, poking Mamoru in the chest with one gloved finger, her pressure barely registered by him due to the dark green parka he was bundled in. "You live to torment me, don't you?"

Ami clapped a hand over her mouth, trying not snicker at what she and Motoki had concluded only days after watching them bicker. Neither combatant paid her any mind and she waited breathlessly for Mamoru's response, hoping it would be something to take to Motoki. That young man's obsession with the relationship between Usagi and Mamoru was contagious, she mused with unrepentant glee.

Mamoru contemplated the pale blonde before him, weighing his reply. "Odango," he began, then paused, distracted by the absence of her usual buns. He reached out to catch a few strands of her tangled hair, the fibers clinging to the thick wool of his gloves. "Where are your odangos today?"

Usagi stared at the captive threads, her breath caught in her throat at the almost disappointed tone in his voice. "They don't fit well under a winter hat," she murmured. It took a couple of attempts to get her throat to work properly, not that Mamoru noticed. He was entranced by the sparkling of her golden hair against his black gloves.

Mamoru's eyes lighted on her bare head, then skittered over the lightly dusted ground before resting on a small heap of pink fuzz that was no doubt soaked through. "You mean the hat that is attempting to absorb as much melting snow as possible?" he asked, clinging to an arch tone, and retracting his hand.

She followed his gaze and looked at the damp article of clothing with no real regret. Then she laughed merrily. Mamoru didn't feel so carefree about the hat's fate. He cast another assessing gaze over her and decided that, as beautiful as her hair was when it was loose, it didn't have that same special draw that her uniquely flattering buns had. Ami, forgotten on her bench, could practically read his preference for the usual Usagi look from his face.

"Well, either way," Usagi chattered brightly, "at least you can't call me Odango Atama today." She watched his face tighten at her words and wondered what she'd done wrong. "Mamoru-baka," she murmured softly, "don't glower at me like that."

He leaned in closer and whispered back, "Like what?"

"Like I kicked your puppy."

Mamoru considered that comment for a moment, then leaned forward until his head was directly beside hers, his lips practically brushing her ear, then confided, "I love your buns, Odango." He paused at her sharp gasp, then plunged on, "In answer to your earlier question, though, I don't live to torment you." He straightened, burying his hands deep into the pockets of his parka, staring into her stunned eyes. "I live for you."

Usagi swayed on her feet, certain she was hallucinating. "Um . . . what now?" she muttered intelligently, her brow crinkled in cute yet irritating confusion.

Mamoru sighed, then pulled her against him, stilling the swaying girl about to make him seasick. "I don't feel quite so dense now. Mizuno-san and Motoki-kun have known how I felt longer than I have" he confided, liking the way Usagi was clinging to him for support, the expression on her upturned face the same wonder she'd exhibited when she'd first stepped into the clearing, before beginning to spin. His new-found clarity had struck him then, as he'd watched her from several benches away.

"So what you're trying to say is . . ." Usagi started, a teasing tone coming into her voice.

Mamoru wasn't in the mood for witty repartee. Instead, he pulled her up onto her tippy toes and captured her lips in a very soft, very gentle kiss.

Still forgotten on her frozen bench, Ami smiled serenely, wishing she'd thought to bring a camera because Motoki was going to be sorry he missed this.