Standard disclaimer:The characters aren't mine. This should come as no surprise. I am simply a teller of stories that occasionally claw their way desperately out of my head.

Setting:Sailor Moon R, between episodes 61 and 77.

Notes:15-ish years ago, I was deeply into Sailor Moon. Time passed, attention shifted, life happened as it's wont to do. Recently I decided to go back and rewatch the show from beginning to end, just as a lark. Imagine my surprise to discover that it was even better than I remembered, and I fell in love with it all over again. Of course accompanying that love is my brain hauling out all its old dusty favourite toys and playing with them non-stop. Result: my first Sailor Moon fanfic in over a decade.

This came about as a result of being frustrated as hell by the lack of Senshi involvement during Usagi and Mamoru's break-up. I simply can't accept that they stood idly by and watched Usagi's heart break week after week.

So I say they didn't. I say they were anything but passive spectators. This is that story.

(1 December 2012)

Operation: Heart Angels

Usagi walked across the courtyard of the Hikawa Shrine, headed toward the massive flight of stairs and the bustling street beyond. Her shoulders were slumped and her long blonde pigtails nearly brushed the ground. Yuuichiro stopped sweeping and gave her a friendly wave, but if Usagi saw the gesture, she ignored it.

Her four best friends watched her go, their faces broadcasting concern. Then varying levels of embarrassment as she collided with another teenage girl visiting the shrine. The girl immediately began bowing at the waist and begging forgiveness; Usagi merely waved distractedly and plodded onward as though the interruption never happened. Soon she was descending the steps and was out of sight, free to cause unobservant havoc on the world beyond her shoes without the watchful and, in some cases, disapproving eyes of her protectors.

"That girl's gonna kill herself," Minako said in bright conversational tone as she stood by the open doorway.

"Worse," Rei replied with a sigh. "She's going to kill someone else and then we'll have to hear about it for the next six weeks."

Makoto looked at her friends and frowned thoughtfully. "Is it bad that I'm almost hoping she does, just to get her mind off of Mamoru? That's bad, right?"

The general consensus agreed that this wasn't exactly an ideal solution, no.

"It's clear that this can't continue," said Ami. Her homework lay in front of her, only partially completed and temporarily forgotten in this most dire of situations. "It's already affecting Usagi's concentration and grades. With high school entrance exams around the corner, every day she isn't studying could be doing grave damage to her future."

Ami was suddenly aware of the extreme scrutiny she was now under and somehow managed to keep from completely shrinking away from it.

Minako shook her head. "It's so cute how you think she'd be studying."

"Also she looks so sad and I don't like it," Ami confessed, suddenly finding her hands fascinating.

"Right there with you," agreed Mako with a vigorous nod.

Minako left her vigil in the doorway and joined her friends around the table in the center of the room. "Okay then, so how do we fix this?"

"Hands up for violence?" Rei asked the group, her arm already in the air. It was quickly joined by Makoto, who seemed to feel that this was perhaps the most ingenious solution to a problem ever devised by humankind.

"Violence is NOT an answer," Ami chastised. Minako quickly redirected her extending hand to scratch thoughtfully behind her head.

"It is when you ask the right question," Rei said with a grumble as she lowered her hand. Reluctantly, Mako did the same.

Ami continued as though she hadn't heard Rei. "They just need to talk. I'm sure whatever misunderstanding—"

"Yeah, I don't think it's that simple," interrupted Mako. "You weren't there at that charm store. Mamoru looked like he couldn't even be in the same ROOM as Usagi."

Minako was in agreement with Makoto. "Short of tying him up and forcing him to stay put, I don't think talking is just going to happen." She shot a sidelong glare at Ami. "And since apparently violence is a big no-no ..."

"Gods, what did she DO?" Rei suddenly exclaimed, her frustration plain on her face.

Instantly, the other three leapt to Usagi's defense.

"Hey it's not HER fault!"

"That's not fair, Rei."

"Rei, Usagi made it clear that Mamoru—"

"I know, I KNOW!" said Rei, thrusting her hand up as though to ward off the protests. She sighed then looked at her friends in earnest. "I know it wasn't her. I just ... If it was her, we could fix this, you know? Tell her what to say, or what NOT to say. If it was Usagi then we'd know this was just some stupid thing and we could put it all back together. But if it's Mamoru ..."

She let her sentence trail off, but each knew the others were thinking the same thing. They had spent all this time fighting alongside Mamoru, yet none of them could claim to be close to the man. Their longest conversations with him tended to consist of addled non sequiturs punctuated by demonic destruction, and that just didn't leave much opportunity to coolly slide in a "Hey, so about your thousand-year old romance ..."

If Mamoru was causing the problem, then that was where they had to start.

But how?

"I'll talk to him," Mako said, drawing herself to her full height. Even seated, it was pretty impressive. Still, the way Mako said "talk" made it sounds like her definition might vary slightly from Mamoru's, despite agreeing to the violence embargo.

Minako had a better idea. "I think it should be Ami."

Ami blinked several times in quick succession. "Me?"

"You," Minako confirmed.

"But that doesn't ... My last conversation with Mamoru about this wasn't exactly fruitful."

Mako brushed the idea aside with a wave of her hand. "That was what, less than a minute weeks ago?"

Minako eagerly recalled the conversation. "I think you said it went something like:" She raised her voice slightly in a fair imitation of Ami. "'Mamoru-san, about Usagi—'" Her tone dropped to a stern gruffness. "'I don't want to talk about it.'" Back up to Ami's voice. "'Oh okay then.'"

A frown creased Ami's forehead. "That's not entirely accurate. Besides as I recall I was fairly distracted trying to race from the airport to save you all from freezing to death."

Rei favoured Minako with a smirk. "She's got you there."

"Well maybe next time some of us will remember what our powers are," Minako said haughtily.

"Oh my god, let it go, Minako."

"You're FIRE, Rei. Honestly."

"SO ANYWAY," Mako said, forcibly steering the conversation back on track. "Ami is the best one to talk to Mamoru because...?"

Turning away from Rei as though their budding argument never happened – and thus missing the daggers Rei was glaring directly into her brain – Minako happily picked up the thread. "Ami's the best to talk to him because they kinda get each other, you know? It's like some sort of Smart People bond that is SO beyond me."

"Imagine that," Rei muttered, not really trying not to be heard.

"Plus she's so sweet and nice he won't have time to get all defensive." Minako shot Makoto an apologetic glance. "I mean no offense, Mako-chan, but you're pretty intimidating."

Mako grinned and shrugged. "I am fine with intimidating, none taken."

"Loathe as I am to admit it, that makes sense," Rei said.

"Ami-chan it is then!" agreed Mako with a decisive nod.

Ami didn't look entirely confident, but she did look determined. "All right then. I'll do my best."

"All we can ask," Mako told her, placing a reassuring hand on shoulder.

"All right!" Minako exclaimed, surveying the room with a jubilant smile. "'Operation: Heart Angels' is go!" She enthusiastically pumped her fist into the air.

Jubilant smiles were not received in return. Holding her position, Minako inclined her head at her arm and gave her friends expectant glances.

"'Operation: Heart Angels'," Rei repeated in a flat voice.

"Is go!" Minako agreed, again pumping her fist. She peered at them, waiting.

One by one, with varying degrees of reluctance, three more fists rose into the air.

"Yay team!" cheered Minako.