Continuing Tales

First Truths

A Sailor Moon Story
by Lilac Summers

Part 10 of 15

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First Truths

Monday afternoon...

Usagi chewed the end of her pencil until it became an unrecognizable lump. Glancing at it with disinterest, she threw it over her shoulder and rummaged through her book bag for another. Once she had the trusty #2 in hand, she happily began to chew on it, too.

"Usagi-chan, I don't think wood is one of the four food groups," observed Minako. She and Usagi were doing math homework underneath the leafy canopy of a tree in the center of the park. Well, they were trying to do math homework. In reality, neither had made it past the first half of the first problem. And with Ami off in her cram school, Rei busy at the shrine, and Makoto at some after-school cooking classes, there was less than dubious hope that they would get farther than that.

"I dunno," slurred Usagi around a mouthful of pencil. "Wood cud be conshidered a grain." She took out the pencil, spit out some wayward wood shavings, and shoved it back in her mouth.

"A-ha!" shouted Minako, index finger pointing accusingly at Usagi, "so you were paying attention in nutrition class!"

"Eh?" mumbled Usagi, eyebrows raised quizzically. She removed the pencil once more. "I resent the implication that I might have been paying attention in class! I'll have you know that Makoto taught me what the four food groups were."

Minako slumped back and resumed doodling on her homework. "Oh. I thought I had you there."

"Hah! You'd have to get up pretty early in the morning to catch Tsukino Usagi paying attention at school!" crowed Usagi, lifting a victorious fist into the air.

"I don't see why; you're never up early."

"Ahhhhh...true." The victorious fist sagged sadly. Usagi rolled onto her back, balancing her chewed pencil on her upper lip. "You know what I've decided, Minako-chan?"

"What?" asked Minako, copying Usagi's pose. The two girls looked almost identical, with their blonde hair intermingling in the green grass, both girls clad in their blue school uniforms.

"I've decided," philosophized Usagi, "that math was put on this earth merely to annoy me. Maybe it's a Negaverse tool in disguise."

Minako grunted in agreement, watching the sunlight filter through the leaves above their heads. The two continued to lie in companionable silence, both musing over the unfairness of mathematics. After a moment, Minako decided to broach the topic that the other girls had relegated into her realm of responsibilities.

"Usagi-chan?" she began tentatively.


"Usagi-chan, do you think you're ready to talk"

Usagi stilled from fiddling lazily with the pencil, letting it drop to the cool grass. She turned her head towards Minako, finding that the other girl had done the same. "It?"

Minako nodded slowly, eyes probing into Usagi's. "You know, about Tuxedo Mask and-and Mamoru-san." She gulped noiselessly. "We know something's going on between you and...them. Usagi-chan, you might feel better if you tell someone what you're feeling." She let the silence hang, giving Usagi ample time to offer information. When none was forthcoming, she cut in rapidly, "You don't have to tell me, Usagi-chan. You know any of us is here for you at any time. And-and we understand more than you realize."

Usagi looked away blindly, not quite sure she was ready to divulge Mamoru's secret, and her subsequent feelings, just yet. However, something in Minako's voice seemed to beg for a confession. "H-How much do you understand?"

They had already discussed how they were going to handle this. Minako had been chosen because, quite simply, she had a more advanced grasp on matters of the heart. The girls had unanimously decided that they would not pressure Usagi into confessing what she knew unless it became imperative that the entire story come out in the open. Granted, they were dying out of curiosity, but were now certain that, whatever came to pass, Mamoru would never hurt Usagi. He was incapable of it.

Minako sat up and gazed down at Usagi with poignant sympathy. "We'll understand as much as you want us to understand." Usagi seemed to brighten for a second, then seemed to withdraw, her eyes shuttered against Minako.

Heartbreaking sadness washed over her features and Minako scurried to reassure her in some way. "Usagi-chan, truly! You can tell us whatever you wish, and we won't judge, and I'll even keep Rei from calling you Meatball Brains if it makes you feel better, and Makoto can bake you a cake for every day of the week, and I'm sure if I set my mind to it, I can get Ami to do your math homework for you-"

Usagi couldn't help but laugh at her friend's babbling promises. "Minako-chan, if you could do all that, I would gladly tell you everything that's ever run through my mind. But..but right now I'm confused and I don't," Usagi gestured futilely with her hands, "I don't think it will really matter, because he doesn't feel for me like I..."

Her words trailed off and Makoto could only stare, disbelief obvious on her face. Not feel the same? Is that what Usagi thought? By the strength of their pure attraction alone, Makoto doubted Usagi had any inkling just how deep Mamoru's feelings really ran. Their kind of link could span lifetimes, timelines, dimensions.

"Usagi-chan," she began, wanting to reassure her friend, "regardless of what you think, I'm positive that-" and then she broke off, realizing that she would reveal how much the girls already knew if she made the statement that Mamoru-san was already bound to her. And do I want to tamper with their fate like that? They should find out on their own, realize that their love has caused the link, and not the other way around. As Senshi of Love, Minako suddenly experienced this certainty. She wondered at herself silently, amazed that she should see the threads of Usagi's and Mamoru's relationship so clearly. A love had to be very strong for such a novice to be able to be so sure of it. It was as if a little voice was guiding her, telling her how to maneuver the two lovers so they would realize their own feelings without falling into misconceptions.

Minako emerged from her introspective foray to find Usagi waiting for her to finish her sentence. "Positive of what, Minako-chan?" Usagi queried softly.

Minako smiled brightly. "I'm positive that everything will work out fine, if you just let it happen, Usagi-chan. Now," she stated, flexing slim biceps, "let's get back to work!"

Usagi sighed, almost too happy to abandon her current sad thoughts for the amazingly less-depressing subject of math. She rolled onto her stomach and plucked her abused pencil from the grass. "Yeah, yeah. The devil's tool, I tell ya. Math surely began somewhere in hell. I wonder if they make you do math equations there. I can see it now: an eternity of 'if train A leaves from Tokyo at 2 pm, and train B leaves Kyoto at 4, and the wind is blowing at 35 kilometers per hour while a sparrow flies 50 meters overhead, how long will it take the old, three-legged man who lives on 10th street to get to the corner store...without his shoes on?"

Minako broke out into a fit of giggles. "It sounds like torment enough for me. Math sucks!"

"Math is actually a vital component of a well-rounded education," intoned a deep voice as a shadow fell upon them.

Minako's eyes got impossibly wide and she huddled next to Usagi. "Oh my god, I think the devil actually heard you, Usagi," she hissed fearfully.

Usagi, however, was less impressed. "And speaking of the devil," she sighed, "ladies and gentlemen, Satan himself." She craned her neck upwards, bitter that, no matter what, her world did seem to revolve around this man. "Satan, how do you do it? You always pop out of nowhere at just the right times."

"Call it a gift," he laughed, relieved at the easy banter. He had debated for more than twenty minutes whether he should intrude upon the two girls. He'd watched them from the solitary safety of a park bench, trying yet failing to keep his attention on his physics book. In the end, he'd been drawn as unerringly as a horse to water.

Meanwhile, Minako had emerged from her hiding place, berating herself for her flight of fancy. Anyway, her senses were already thrumming like crazy. Ever since the incident with the youma a few nights ago, she could feel the increasing strength of their attraction. Sheesh! I'm amazed that these two don't just go up in flames from sharing the same general space! She stumbled to her feet and nodded her head politely at Mamoru. "Hi! I'm not sure we've ever been truly introduced. I'm Aino Minako. Usagi's friend? The one wearing the silk teddy?"

Mamoru flushed at the reminder while Usagi stifled guffaws from her place on the floor. He decided to turn the tables. "Ah, yes. I know. I'm supposed to be madly in love with you; at least, that's what Odango told me after she climbed onto my lap."

Minako raised an interested eyebrow and Usagi's giggles turned into indignant choking. She stood between them, Mamoru standing before her and Usagi reclining on the ground behind her. As Mamoru laughed at Usagi's protests, Minako felt the world close in around the two. The atmosphere seemed laden with hidden innuendoes and feelings, sparks of awareness arching from one to the other and vice versa. I think I'm going to faint... She hastily moved away from them, her movement abrupt enough to have the two falter in their bickering.

"Minako-chan?" Usagi looked up at her with surprised eyes.

"Eh...I'm going to get something to drink, Usagi-chan. Either of you want anything?" she asked, already edging away from them. Usagi shook her head and Mamoru politely declined, both obviously content with the excuse supplied. Minako took one last look at them, and got the hell out of Dodge.

"Soooo," Mamoru drew the word out, self-conscious now that they were alone. "I wanted to know if you had had a chance to ask the Senshi anything about the link," he supplied, because it was the only thing that popped to mind. He decided not to mention that he had easily deduced the true identities of the "Senshi." After all, once you found one out, the others were pretty obvious. The fivesome was inseparable, after all.

Whatever she might have been expecting, shoptalk was not it. Usagi's spirit threatened to deflate, but she rallied with characteristic mischief. "Not yet, Satan. I haven't even told them who you are...Er, I can tell them who you are, right?"

Mamoru sunk down to sit beside her, running through various repercussions in his head. In truth, he was surprised she hadn't told the others already. He figured it couldn't hurt his mission; it might even make them more open to trust in him and, thus, help him find what he sought. "Guess so."

"Hmmm." Usagi toyed with a blade of glass, pencil forgotten in her right hand, as both wracked their brains for something to say. Usagi bit her lip, wondering why it was that she was so aware of him, attuned to every movement, to his clean scent. How can I let him go if I feel like he's in the very air I breathe?

After a bit of silence, Usagi concentrated on scribbling on her homework. Finally, Mamoru leaned over her and peered at her open Algebra book. From there, his gaze shifted to her mostly-blank paper, then noticed that the space that was taken up was covered with various doodles. Only the first problem had been begun, and half-heartedly at that.

"Odango, don't you think you should be doing your homework instead of...of," he squinted his eyes, trying to make out the forms she was drawing, "of drawing your cat in pajamas?"

Usagi tilted her head, looking at the sketch. "She's wearing an astronaut suit, you dummy. It's perfectly obvious. Why would I draw Luna in pajamas?"

Mamoru nodded in abject surrender. "Of course, what was I thinking? My point, Odango, is that you are ignoring your homework. No wonder you don't pass your tests."

Usagi debated about feeling insulted, but was chagrined to realize that she was wont to let practically any comment pass without truly getting angry anymore. Love sucks. It doesn't even leave you your pride. She mustered a nonchalant shrug and decided to answer lightly. "Why bother? It's not like any of this is vital. Who knows, I might even die before I get a chance to use any of this. If I'm lucky, some youma will make me kick the bucket before tests start. Can you imagine wasting such a gorgeous day as today on math homework, then? Goodness, I'd be pissed if a monster got the drop on me after finals. But I'm such a klutz, I might not even do dying right!" Her pencil snapped in two as Mamoru suddenly grabbed her hand fiercely.

She turned, a startled gasp escaping from half-parted lips. "Mamor-"

"Don't! Don't. Talk. Like. That," he enunciated sharply from between gritted teeth. His gaze bore, seething hot, into her eyes. "I don't want to hear you say that. You are NOT going to die. Not soon, not EVER. I won't let you." If something happened to her...I wouldn't survive it.

His grip tightened almost painfully and Usagi cried out softly. "Sat-Mamoru, you're hurting me." Immediately, his hold gentled. Still, he did not let go of her hand. "Mamoru, it was only a joke," she whispered.

His eyes shut briefly, breath coming in harsh gasps. "Don't joke like that, Usagi." For a second, she thought he might leave it at that, his hand slipping from hers in minute degrees. He seemed to be debating something within himself, however, and when he opened his eyes his grip was once more implacable. "Promise me. Promise me you won't die."

Usagi felt her world dissolve into crazy circles. Surely he realized that what he was asking was illogical? She never knew when her luck would run out. If he only knew how often she had wanted to kiss her parents and even-urgh!-her little brother goodbye lest she not make it back...But she tried to stay positive, and she never went into a fight thinking she would fail. Still, though, she wasn't exactly the most graceful person. Sooner or later, she'd klutz out and it'd be too late. "But, I can't promise something like that! You've seen my fight, for goodness sake!"

"Promise me! By god, I'll protect you if that's what it takes, but you promise me!"

Usagi shook her head wildly, pigtails flying back and forth, and wanted nothing more than to joke her way out of this solemn conversation. She brought her left hand to her right wrist, trying to pry Mamoru's fingers open, but made the mistake of looking once more into his eyes. They were desolate, desperate, panicked shards of ice. They were begging her to give her word, as if it alone could withstand whatever the future might bring. And they were lonely, so terribly lonely, the eyes of an orphaned child. Her own fingers stilled their vain work, settling warmly over his hand, instead.

"I promise."

His head dropped, hair shielding his eyes. Briefly his fingers tangled with her own before he carefully withdrew. "Thank you."

"You-You're welcome." What else could she say, after all?

Mamoru retreated from her, sitting back and breaking the intimate connection his emotion had forced on them both. He was embarrassed, almost ashamed, to look at her, yet strangely exultant. She promised! She promised. He leaned back against the trunk of the tree and closed his eyes. He felt her gaze on him for a moment, then heard the gentle sound of her pencil scratching the paper resume. He felt almost at peace now. Her silent company soothed him in a way he had never imagined she, of all people, was capable of doing. There were very few whom he could feel truly at ease with; Usagi seemed to be the very embodiment of them all. With her he was...happy.

The musical cadence of Usagi's beeper broke through his tranquility.

His eyes snapped open just as Usagi scrambled into a sitting position and flipped open her communicator. With one uncertain glance his way, she focused on a screen he could not see from his position.


"Usagi-chan," it was Minako's voice he heard, "of all the rotten luck. This is the last time I come buy soda by myself. At the convenience store...the big, the bad, the ugly."

"On my way. Hold it off and be careful, I'll call the others." Usagi broke the line, then opened mass lines and concisely told the other Senshi the location. By the time she had finished the task, Mamoru was already on his feet and holding out a hand to help her up.

"I guess it's sooner for a little link demonstration than we thought," he murmured.

Usagi nodded mutely, somewhat fazed at the thought of transforming in front of him. Together, they sprinted to a handy secluded area behind some bushes.

Mamoru gestured her forward. "You first."

"Okay," she muttered, inching her hand towards her broach. She was already reciting the henshin phrase when one thought seared through her head: Oh my god! I'm naked!

Mamoru had never known the process would be so involved...or so beautiful. And so -he gulped- provocative. Her school uniform dissolved in a flash of light as multi-colored ribbons of power danced seductively over the tantalizing silhouette of her nude curves. He tried to avert his gaze but the flash was really over in a matter of milliseconds and, let's face it, nothing short of nuclear war would have been able to tear his attention away. But soon enough, the clingy white bodysuit had formed over her body and the ribbons of light had coalesced into the remaining costume. Entranced, Mamoru watched as the rush of power painted a beatific smile on Usagi's delicate features. She looked invincible. In one final, elegant flourish, Sailor Moon spun adroitly to a stop.

He was so awed, the hot surge of demand nearly pushed him to his knees in surprise. Whatever he had felt before, being so near to Usagi upon transformation called to him immediately on some basic level. Before he was even conscious of it, he'd produced a rose and flung it away from himself in an effort to break the near-painful pulling sensation inside his soul. With little theatrics, he found himself caped and masked.

Sailor Moon was beside him when he managed to regain his senses, air heaving in and out of his lungs. "Well," he joked, "that was certainly...educational."

Sailor Moon came very close to smacking him upside the head in her mortification, but stopped when she remembered the agonized look on his face after she'd finished transforming. Whatever he claimed he felt, she could hardly deny it now when she witnessed the power it held over him. It scared her, that she could elicit such a response. It scared her yet thrilled her, all the same. Jeez, that's just sick. She frowned at herself. I don't care. At least in this, he is truly mine. Let's see his princess do that!

"Are you okay?" she asked.

He waved off her concern and straightened, pushing aside the last dregs of vertigo. With one last confused, hidden look at each other, they dashed towards the fight's location.

Sailor Venus was not doing so well. First of all, an idiotic group of curious onlookers had gathered too close to the fight scene, and, second of all, the damn youma was taunting her. The coward just wouldn't stop and fight. It flitted from one end of the sidewalk to the other, its form indistinct but blubbery and huge. Venus had the impression of a Jell-O mold, but that was about it. It attacked, on occasion, by sending some sort of shock wave, but it was generally easy to escape from. The friggin' thing was just annoying.

"Watch out!" she screamed as some moronic bystander decided he wanted a picture of the event and wandered too close to a crumbling wall. With an oath, she directed a crescent beam towards some falling debris and saved his foolish brain from decorating the street. "Get back!" she commanded everyone.

Too late she noticed a shock wave coming her way and braced herself for the impact. Instead, she was shoved roughly out of the way when Sailor Moon tackled her knees. "I'm here!"

"I noticed," grunted Venus and fought valiantly to not rub her bruised posterior in public.

"What's up?" questioned Moon, trying not to glance at the rooftop where Tuxedo Mask had taken his position. He kept the youma at bay by flinging roses in its path.

"Gelatin reject over there was playing with me. So far, all I can tell is that it produces shock waves."

"Ah. Did you give the speech?" Moon turned to Venus as she slipped off her tiara.

Venus flipped her a victory sign and Sailor Moon took that as an affirmative. Well, with that taken care: "Moon Tiara Magic!" The discus whistled sharply through the air and pierced the monster, then passed right through and returned to Sailor Moon's waiting hand, covered in greenish gook.

"Ewwww," sniffed Sailor Moon as a green blob dripped onto the pavement unceremoniously. The monster stood none the worse for wear. "That's just plain gross."

Out of nowhere, blasts of fire and lightning joined in blasting the Thing. It seemed to open its maw and swallow the attacks. Sailor Mars and Sailor Jupiter dropped down beside Venus and Moon to watch the power fizzle and disappear within the gelatinous mass.

"Well, hell," commented Jupiter.

"Yuck, what is that thing?" Mars could not conceal her disgust.

"Don't know, but it's pretty impermeable. Good for us that it's pretty weak, too." Sailor Mercury was welcomed instantly.

"Mercury! Do your computer thingy and tell us how to beat it," commanded Jupiter. The five watched the Thing with little concern. It seemed happy to just slime up against a building wall and...bubble.


The Thing didn't seem to be going anywhere. Sailor Moon could even see Tuxedo Mask get impatient as he watched from the roof and waited for Mercury's plan of action.

"Okay, we've got a glucose and water-based organism with some negative energy thrown in for solvability. It's more of a plasma, actually. Hmmm, it looks to be most susceptible to cold." Mercury looked up from her computer, clicking her visor off in the process. "Looks like this one is all mine."

Bringing up her arms, she flung a slew of freezing bubbles towards the Thing. It gurgled unhappily as the ice formed around its bulging structure, finally fizzling out and melting into the floor.

"Well," blinked Mercury, "that was certainly anticlimactic, wasn't it?"

The others nodded, not quite sure what anticlimactic meant, but more than happy to agree, nonetheless.

The Senshi were already walking away; Sailor Moon assumed Tuxedo Mask was already making his escape, when she turned to leave. At the last second, she stumbled roughly to one knee. Frowning, she looked down at her boot, which seemed to be stuck to the floor. She stood up and pulled. It stuck dutifully to some slime leftover.

"Hey guys! Wait up! I'm stuck!"

The four turned and giggled to see their leader look so forlorn. "Ah, Sailor Moon, and here I thought you might have actually escaped at least one battle without making a fool of yourself," teased Mars.

"Har har har. Comment appreciated, Pyro. Can one of you please help me out of this?"

Jupiter sauntered over to Sailor Moon and grabbed her around the waist, braced her feet, and pulled. Sailor Moon felt her ribs shift unhappily and yelped. Jupiter flew back, landing on her butt a few paces away.

"You really are stuck."

"Your powers of deduction amaze me," grinned Sailor Moon at the truly befuddled expression on Jupiter's face. "Forget it. I guess I'm losing a boot today." She began to work her foot free from the confining boot, paying no attention to the burbling green junk encasing her feet.

Thus, she never noticed when it bubbled rapidly and surged around her like an enveloping cocoon.

"Sailor Moon!" shrieked Jupiter as she dove for her leader...

And bounced harmlessly of a solidified green structure. The other girls attacked it as one, punching and tearing at the structure with bare hands, even as Sailor Moon struggled feebly from within, rapidly losing oxygen.

First Truths

A Sailor Moon Story
by Lilac Summers

Part 10 of 15

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