A Sailor Moon Fanfiction
By: Azurite - azurite AT seventh-star DOT net
a.k.a The Artist Formerly Known as Andi (or Andromida)
Site: seventh-star DOT net
Written for the WAFF vs. TAFF Day on the SMRFF Mailing List
lunap DOT com SLASH smrff
Disclaimer: Sailor Moon does not belong to me. It is the property of Naoko Takeuchi and is licensed by Toei Animation, Kodansha Publishing, and probably a bunch of other companies that I'm not 100 percent sure or aware of. This is a not-for-profit entertainment venture only.
Author's Notes 08-31-09: I edited this because whenever I think of an old fic of mine, I have to just take a look at it. If I see it's still formated in text format, wrapped to 72 characters per line and referring to old websites that aren't around anymore, I just can't resist the urge. Plus it's fun to be nostalgic every now and again to see how far my writing's come. In my original author's notes for this fic, I said I was a "Fencer," or someone who couldn't quite decide on whether I liked WAFF (fics with Warm And Fuzzy Feelings) or TAFF (Twisted And Fuzzy Feelings). Oh, how times have changed! Angst may not be my forté, but I certainly love fics with a good twist to them nowadays.
This was also written prior to the events of 9/11, which means that airport security wasn't as tight as it is now. The idea of Usagi getting trapped in a bathroom past the securit checkpoint at 2 A.M. was a lot more plausible in the late 90s than it was after 2001. As for how Shingo calls people in-flight, imagine he's using one of those built-in seat phones. It was common for first-class back in the day; now a lot of flights have them!
That said, this is an AU. That is, no Sailor Senshi, no youma, no magical powers.
Thanks: The thanks for the original story ideas remain the same as the original version of this fic - to Lady Baine (Bonnie) and Sailor Sista, who've put up with my weirdness and other strange traits over the years. Thanks, guys!
Usagi Tsukino grumbled and rubbed her red eyes for the umpteenth time that evening. She hated late nights. Mornings were her best time, when she could devote her full concentration and creativity to a task—such was the reason why she was an architect. She had the opportunity to work in a large, enterprising firm in downtown Tokyo, make a six figure salary each month, and watch ideas become reality before her very eyes.
But these eyes were bloodshot and red; she'd been up for eighteen straight hours without a wink of sleep, and only one cup of coffee—and that warm, spiced feeling pouring down her throat felt like it hadn't happened in years. And with her luck, all the airport cafes were closed at this time of the night.
She knew her parents didn't drink coffee anymore; they'd stopped once Kenji, Usagi's father, retired from his taxing job as a newspaper photographer. Not long after Usagi started pulling all-nighters at the firm and earned herself a top-position and an apartment of her own, the coffee machine broke. Usagi hadn't the time nor the desire to go out and buy one for herself—so when she'd left her parents' place this morning, she was tired.
Morning, you see, because it was 2:36 AM. Usagi Tsukino, rising star of the Tokyo Industrial Architecture Firm, was dead tired waiting for her little brother Shingo to come home for his spring break from his college in the United States.
"Damn brother…been causing me trouble since he was born," Usagi grumbled. She rubbed her eyes again, not caring if her eyeliner was smudged or her mascara highlighted the rings under her eyes.
Sadly, all the cafes were closed at this time of the morning. Aside from baggage security and the occasional shift guard, Usagi felt like the only person in the entire International Terminal. Even the normal P.A. system was quiet. All in all, it was unusual for such a big city airport to be so quiet…even at 2:38 in the morning.
Drowsily, the blonde looked around for a soda machine. She wandered the terminal for about ten minutes in either direction, knowing she would easily get lost—or likely find a comfy chair and fall asleep—in the expansive Narita Airport.
When Usagi finally heard the familiar hum and bright glow of the soda machines, she was overjoyed. She quickly rummaged through her purse, and with growing dismay, realized she had not taken her wallet with her. She had been so tired when she arrived at her parents' house earlier that evening that she'd dropped all her blueprints, her briefcase, cell phone, and her wallet—and when it came time to go and pick up Shingo, she'd sleepily grabbed only her car keys!
She cursed her stupidity twelve hundred times over against the soda machine, almost whimpering when she spotted a can of Pokka Coffee BM behind the glass.
"GRRRR!" Usagi regained her composure—though no one had been watching her bash her head against the machine, anyway—and walked haughtily back to the gate where Shingo was expected—Usagi checked her watch—in forty minutes. Why did she get here this early? Moreover, why hadn't traffic been horrible, like it was always supposed to be? At least, if Usagi was still in her car, she'd have some Black/White caffeniated gum in her glovebox, a radio to listen to, and other bad drivers to yell
Sighing, Usagi sat down and attempted to be interested in a discarded Flight magazine next to her. An interminable amount of time later, Usagi found herself drifting off to sleep, the words of the magazine coming together in a fine blur of blue and black dots. She jerked upward with a start, rubbing her eyes.
She walked around and stretched, desperately trying to make the time go faster, but if anything, her attempts only slowed down the time.
Glancing at a digital clock on the wall nearby, it blinked…and, as Usagi waited, it seemed like another ten minutes before it blinked again and the digits changed.
Sighing, Usagi walked into the general vicinity of the bathrooms, not remembering exactly where they were. That was when she heard an all too-familiar voice—
"No, I don't have any bags with me…I'm here to pick up someone—" Usagi paled considerably, and ducked into the restroom, inhaling deeply when the door swung closed.
"Why is he here…NOW of all times?" Usagi murmured fretfully. "He" was the boyfriend she'd broken up with six months ago: Mamoru Chiba.
Just before she'd made it into high school, she'd met him. They'd met at a big party, actually, and…well, one thing had led to another. But not long after Shingo left for college, Usagi started seeing Mamoru's faults—like his callousness, inability to feel, his tightwad attitude, and above all, his arrogance. She'd broken up with him and never spoken to him again. But now…
"What am I doing?" Usagi chastised herself. This was Mamoru. She had decided that he wasn't worth her time, not the other way around. Sure, her parents and Shingo might have adored him, and he might have even been nice, polite, and well-off, but…but…STILL!
"Listen to me, I'm acting like a high-schooler. Even if no one else is out there, there's nothing stopping me from acting my age, being myself: calm, cool, confident."
Usagi stared at herself in the mirror and promptly adjusted her makeup to look her best, even at this ungodly hour. Her eyes were still red, but with her light blue eyeshadow accenting her cerulean eyes, the red faded. A simple application of lipgloss and…
Usagi smiled at her reflection, attempting to believe wholeheartedly that her knees weren't shaking simply because her ex was here. But the moment she pushed that swinging door open and Mamoru Chiba turned and locked gazes with hers—his eyes widening in surprise at seeing her, no doubt—Usagi's confidence bled out of her like helium from a balloon. She quickly dashed back into the confines of the bathroom and locked herself into the handicapped stall, where she stood slumped against the door, shaking.
'It's not supposed to be like this!'
A moment later, the swinging door into the restroom squeaked, indicative that someone had just come in.
Silence greeted Mamoru Chiba as he slipped into the seemingly-empty women's restroom—but at this time of the morning, and more importantly, under these circumstances, he was not afraid of someone screaming at him and calling him a peeping tom or a pervert. A tiny little fear in him was there, and it whispered little things about how a certain ex-girlfriend, upon sight of him, had run away.
'Yes, Chiba, you scared her. And that's not a good thing, now, is it? You used to think you didn't need anyone, but she proved you wrong…but your dumb arrogance got the better of you and you ruined a perfectly good thing…!'
'Oh shut up.' Mamoru cursed his idiotic conscience for making him think that way. He hadn't thought about Usagi for the longest time…or at least, it hadn't felt like a long time.
Only tonight, when Usagi's brother called him up and asked him for a ride home from a red-eye flight from the Narita Airport did Usagi fill his mind again. Shingo explained that he'd tried reaching Usagi on her cell phone, but kept on getting bumped into voice mail. He expressed his worry to who he thought was Usagi's boyfriend—a mistake which Mamoru "forgot" to correct—and then asked him for a ride home, assuming Usagi had business out of town, or an emergency had come up.
Neither of Shingo's parents drove anymore, and Shingo had no Japanese money with what to pay a taxicab driver or train fare. Mamoru, though tired himself from his twelve hour workday at the Legal Offices of Kotomichi and Chingu, agreed. He hadn't expected to see Usagi though—certainly not at the airport.
"Usagi?" he tried again. Well, at least, he thought, with a sigh, she was safe. All Shingo's unfounded fears about Usagi being in a car accident and such were wrong. Mamoru had told the younger boy Usagi was a perfectly good driver and she was no doubt just fine. He could offer no real reassurance as to the blonde's whereabouts, however, or explanations for why she hadn't picked up her cell phone.
"Go away," a muffled voice, accompanied by a soft sob came. Mamoru followed the sound, walking past the open stalls of the women's restroom, until he found the one where Usagi was—the locked handicap stall.
"Usa, what are you doing here?" he murmured, standing just outside the door. His hand gently pressed against the door, and as he closed his eyes, he willed himself to see her again…smiling. Not shocked, as she had been moments before, not angry as she had been when they broke up, and certainly not crying, as she no doubt was now…because of him.
"Don't call me that!" came a loud, obviously enraged yell at the pet name.
Mamoru's eyes shot open and he sighed. Yes, things were the same with her all right—she was still mad at him. It wasn't as though he'd taken any steps to do otherwise—but there was truth in the old adage that said that friendship often leads to love, but love to friendship never. He'd never called Usagi back, never visited her apartment, talked to her friends, or even wished her a Merry Christmas or Happy New Year when those holidays came and went.
He hadn't even told Shingo when he'd called earlier in the evening that he'd been broken up with Usagi for nearly six months. He could barely admit it to himself, let alone others.
"I-I'm sorry, Tsukino-san," Mamoru said softly, reverting back to the most honorable name he could find for his ex. Unlike other men who had been dumped, Mamoru could find no reason to be angry at Usagi. She was totally justified in her reasoning for their breakup, and it wasn't until after the fact that Mamoru realized he had to change his attitude to 'win' her back.
But things had just stagnated. A sniffle, and then a sucked in breath: "Forgiven." It was too bad it was only forgiveness for a simple faulty tongue, rather than all the horrible things he'd said and done to her when they'd actually been together.
Now, here they were, in a women's restroom at Narita Airport at 2:59 in the morning, alone. Together. It didn't seem as if Usagi was making any move to unlock the door and talk, so Mamoru settled himself on a nearby countertop and spoke.
"I didn't expect to see you here tonight," Mamoru began, hoping the topic would lead into why she hadn't answered her cell phone, thus causing so much grief for her little brother, and for Mamoru himself, who'd had to fish around for answers about why Usagi wouldn't answer.
"Ditto," Usagi mumbled, but she didn't say anything further.
"Why are you here tonight?" Mamoru finally asked pointedly.
"Why shouldn't I be?" Usagi demanded gruffly, "It's a free country."
"It was just a question, Tsukino-san," Mamoru murmured. He glanced at his watch. Ten minutes before Shingo's flight was due to arrive.
"Damn it, you make me sound like my mother. Call me Usagi." Usagi swallowed once more and sniffled, wiping her face with a paper towel. Stupid Mamoru. Stupid, stupid…!
"Usagi-san." Usagi growled at this, but accepted it. It just felt weird…having her ex call her Usagi-san, like her co-workers, rather than Usako, which had been his pet name for her when they first started going out. She missed the sound of it. Since it was such a private and intimate nickname, Usagi never heard it from anyone else. It wouldn't have sounded right, anyway, coming from anyone else's lips.
Even her closest friends called her Usagi-chan, or just plain Usagi.
'It's my fault. I could have pursued relationships with other guys, but I didn't. Even though Mamoru was a foolish, rude, idiot…he made me…he made me l-l…'
"Usagi? You never answered my question," Mamoru's voice brought the blonde out of her stupor, and she nodded slowly, allowing herself the proper arm leverage to stand up, if on shaky legs.
"I'm here to pick up Shingo…he's here for his spring break from college in the States."
"…That's strange. Shingo called me about two hours ago from the plane. He said you weren't answering your cell phone, so he asked me to pick him up," Usagi pressed her hand to the door and pretended to see Mamoru through it. Confusion clouded her own eyes as she wondered about why he would simply agree to pick up his ex-girlfriend's little brother at such an ungodly hour of the morning.
"I left it at home…I was so tired when I left the office this—I mean yesterday—evening that I must have forgotten it when I left my parent's house earlier," Usagi mumbled, her hand sliding towards the locking mechanism.
"'The office?'" Mamoru questioned, seriously wondering. The last he knew, Usagi hadn't worked in any sort of an office or kept late hours doing anything but going out to karaoke with her friends. His eyes became fixated on the figure behind the door, and he wondered when she'd emerge so he could finally see her after all this time.
"Yeah…I, uh, work for Tokyo Industrial Architecture firm."
"Really?" Mamoru started, his interest piqued, "Kotomichi and Chingu have a few cases with them later this month…"
"You work with them?" Usagi asked, leaning against the door. It would be better if she just stayed in the stall, wouldn't it? Not have to face him again? She was sure her resolve—or what little of it she'd managed to build up once more—would crumble. What little she'd seen of him in that short glimpse had nearly made her heart stop—standing in front of him and talking to him surely would…!
Silence reigned for a few moments, and then the lock to the stall where Usagi had locked herself opened. Usagi stood there, one hand still on the door handle, her eyes downcast.
Mamoru didn't smile, but he did speak: "You look good."
At the unexpected compliment, Usagi looked up, and she did smile, highlighting her face brilliantly, "You too."
"I guess we better get out there…five minutes until his flight arrives," Usagi mumbled, out of words to say.
"Yeah. I'll…uh, say hi and then just go home, I guess." Mamoru gave her a lopsided grin that threatened to make her heart beat double-time, but that expression quickly faded when he tried to open the swinging door that led back out into the terminal.
It wouldn't budge.
He pushed, he pulled, he banged, kicked, and otherwise bashed the door—but it didn't move.
They were trapped.