Continuing Tales

First Truths

A Sailor Moon Story
by Lilac Summers

Part 6 of 15

<< Previous     Home     Next >>
First Truths

Mamoru watched Usagi's face, his inscrutable mask in place, wondering how she would respond. Granted, as far as insults went, this one was more tame than the barrage they had been exchanging lately. The past two days had been filled with words that seemed to hit the mark on both targets each time, leaving one to reel and try to rally a better defense.

But she said nothing in return, only staring back at him with that same helpless, perplexed look in her eyes. He felt as though she were waiting for him to do something, say something.

"Well?" he asked, too flustered to try and guess any longer, "What? Aren't you going to insult me back? What is wrong with you today, Odango?"

God, if only you knew. "I-I just don't feel like putting up with you today, okay?" she said, for want of anything better to say. She knew the words were wrong the minute she uttered them. That couldn't be her voice, all wavery and unsure and...and pathetic. It sounded like she was whining.

Mamoru seized the opportunity as if it were the last glass of water in the desert. Finally, something that would put them back on the ground on which they belonged. No more of this staring at her lips, jolting at her touch. He felt almost giddy at the relief and then frowned. No, Chiba Mamoru could not possibly ever feel anything so flighty as giddy. Why on earth should Odango Atama have that power over him? Well, quite simply she couldn't possibly. Therefore, he was not giddy.

"Odango Atama, maybe you should have thought of that before you sat down at my table. Hmmm, if I didn't know any better, I would think that you suddenly couldn't get enough of me." He strove to grin infuriatingly at her, sure she would go into a tantrum at the mere idea of what he had proposed.

To his dismay, her reaction was exactly the opposite. The color bled from her face all at once and her gaze turned all the more searching. What? What did I do wrong?

Usagi felt her lungs constrict painfully, felt the blood leave her face. Lord, if he knew what thoughts were running through her head, he might just realize how true that statement was. No doubt he'd head for the hills if he knew that she was a hair's breadth away from marshaling all her courage and just doing it. Of course, she knew she was just scaring him witless as it was. She wasn't acting as he generally saw her. She doubted he believed there might be a single serious thought in her head. After all, he thought she was a mindless, uncoordinated, carefree teenage girl. Come on, how is he going to take you seriously as anything other than Sailor Moon? The Usagi he knew did not stop and study people carefully, weigh her words and plan a course of action. The Usagi he knew reacted first and thought later, if at all.

"Yeah," she managed to croak out, "I haven't sold my soul to the devil just yet, Satan. And that is the only way I wouldn't be able to get enough of you." Usagi pasted on a wide smile and stuck her tongue out at him.

Big mistake. His eyes zoomed in on that fast, little pink tongue and his insides danced a mad jig. This is wrong...this is all wrong. Why can she do this to me? But more importantly, why hadn't he noticed before that she could do this to him? Were their meetings so brief that the pleasure became buried under the constant quips about grades or flying shoes? Perhaps that soul-searing kiss Sailor Moon had bestowed upon him had shaken loose some dormant hormones. He didn't want to believe he was so shallow, but how else could he suddenly find himself falling for three girls at once? A princess, a superhero, a student-You don't ask for much, do you Mamoru?

He was doing it again. He was staring at her with a singlemindedness that was scary. And his eyes had suddenly gone so dark again, so mysterious and deep They were hot, those eyes of his. She wanted to turn around and check to see if some good-looking girl had walked by behind her, causing Mamoru's usually ice-blue eyes to turn so deliciously navy. Then she wanted to strangle said girl.

This is it, I'm tired of waiting. Tired of pretending. Who cares what he thinks of me. Right now-right now...I want him to look at ME that way. I want him to kiss me. I want to kiss him. She placed her palms abruptly on the table, leaning over and easily covering the inconsequential width between them. She refused to look at his face, refused to see the amusement, puzzlement, or-worse-revulsion he might be feeling as it finally registered what she was going to do. Her world closed in, much as it had in the school, on the curve of his lips, parted slightly as he drew in air.

If he was Tuxedo Mask, then she would know. If he wasn't...then her problems would only be that much greater. Because she knew, with a certainty, that after this kiss she would never be able to turn back. She would never be able to deny that she just might be falling in love with Chiba Mamor-

"Ohmygod!" -swoosh!-

Mamoru blinked. That was all it had taken. He blinked and he'd woken up from whatever daydream he must have been weaving because suddenly-suddenly Usagi had disappeared right before his eyes. Yes, he mused dazedly, I must have been dreaming because I could have sworn that she was leaning forward, ready to kiss me.

Of course, that would mean that he was going quite stark, raving mad.

That would mean that he had been having a conversation with no one for the past ten minutes. That would mean that the newspaper in front of him had appeared out of thin air. And that would mean that the warm body pressed up against his leg was purely imaginary.

He was shocked still once more, his brain trying to furiously figure out just what the HELL had happened, his heart interrupting at odd intervals to scream in his ear that "YES! USAGI IS UNDER THE TABLE!" and, consequently, his brain trying to fight off all the somewhat embarrassing images that brought to mind.

All in all, it was quite understandable that he didn't hear his name the first few times it was called.


Mamoru sat upright hastily, heard a muffled "ow" from under the table, and flushed to the very roots of his hair. "H-hai! Gomen, Rei, I didn't hear you."

Rei was standing over his table, foot tapping a staccato beat impatiently as she had called his name various times. Makoto, Ami, and Minako rallied behind her, casting odd glances his way. It was unusual to find Mamoru flustered. Although none could claim knowing him very well, from the many times they had seen him and Usagi cross swords, he had seemed to be coolly collected in the face of Usagi's rage.

"Yes, well, we were just wondering if you've seen Usagi around anywhere. Her mom told us we could find her at the mall," explained Rei, examining his table. Her eyes immediately fell upon the open newspaper.

"Actually, I know exactly where she is. And maybe you girls can explain to me WHY she is where she is," drawled Mamoru, sufficiently recovered from his shock.

Four pairs of feminine eyes turned to him. "Well?" queried Makoto.

"She is currently under the t-yeow!" Usagi had ruthlessly dug her elbow into his shin. She then proceeded to methodically pound on his knee with her knuckles. He grunted in pain, witnessed the four girls turn to look at him as though he were insane, and muffled the subsequent curses that threatened to spill forth as Usagi decided to use his ankle as a scratch post.

"Excuse me, Mamoru-san," Ami interjected, stepping forward and squeezing the bridge of her nose between thumb and forefinger. "Did you just say she is at the Tyeow? Just where IS the Tyeow?"

Mamoru gripped his coffee cup tightly, promising himself he'd get to kill Odango Atama later. He did NOT enjoy sounding like an idiot. "I-I don't quite know. Odango Atama," and here Usagi thanked him for the endearment by pinching his calf as hard as she could, "just mumbled something about this new restaurant they were opening and left. I thought she said it was called the 'Tyeow'."

Though a paltry excuse, the girls seemed inclined to believe him. And why wouldn't they? What reason would he have to lie? What reason, indeed. In fact, they seemed much more interested in Odango's forgotten newspaper than in anything he had to say.

"Thanks, Mamoru-san." Rei's hand itched to grab the paper that had caught her attention whole-heartedly. "Er, do you mind if we borrow your newspaper?"

"Go right ahead." Anything so I can finally murder your friend in peace.

"Thanks again." Rei snatched the paper in a thrice and the girls were off, crowded around the paper as they walked.

"Well, good grief! Guess you guys weren't lying! Dear heavens, check that out. The little brat beat me to him," he heard Rei exclaim as they walked off, to the chorus of the other girls' laughter. He shook his head and began to gently extricate his leg from Odango's grasp.

"Are you quite satisfied? Could you now tell me what the hell is going on, right before I beat you senseless?"

He peered under the table, saw two huge, blue eyes peering back at him from the darkness beneath, and almost had the urge to laugh at the ludicrousness of it all. Almost.

Usagi was still dangerously close to hyperventilating. It had been such a close call! If she hadn't glanced over Mamoru's shoulder right before trying to k..k...kiss him, the girls would have caught her in a very compromising position. She would have had to tell them everything. Usagi knew she would not be able to confess her suspicions about Tuxedo Mask's identity, nor her growing feelings for both men. If they are two men...

Usagi plucked at the fabric of Mamoru's slacks in nervous reflex, unaware that the small movement was driving Mamoru to distraction. "I didn't want them to see me. I've been hiding from them all day."

Mamoru, figuring he couldn't take much more of her fidgeting, stilled her hand by trapping it beneath his own. Her hand rested warmly over his knee, smooth under the touch of his palm. He wondered if that had been a good idea, after all. "Why are you hiding from them?" he asked gently.

Imploring blue eyes looked up uncertainly. "I-I 'd rather not talk about it yet."

Mamoru could not think of a single thing that could possibly put such a look of abject misery on Odango's face. Some dark, jealous corner of his brain jeered that it had to be something totally trivial, like school gossip or such other fluff. After all, how many problems could a middle-school girl have? She had a loving family, good friends, no worries, no cares...

"I'm sure that whatever fight you guys got into, it'll be okay," he assured her, not quite able to mask the condescending tone to his voice.

Her pout turned into a scowl upon hearing that telltale edge. She abruptly ripped her hand out from beneath his. "Oh, thanks. Good to know you're so sympathetic."

Mamoru cringed inwardly. It was unfair of him to pass judgment so quickly. Still, he had become rather jaded after his own lonely childhood; it was hard to let go of the old bitterness at times. "I'm sorry," he murmured, lost to the fact that, for all intents and purposes, it seemed as though he were apologizing to his lap. The conversation, notwithstanding the ridiculous scenario, had suddenly turned serious.

Everything had been getting progressively worse, thought Usagi. Nothing had gone right today. She had lost the nerve to try to kiss him again, could hardly do so in her ignoble position even if she wanted to. Once more she was hurting from his preconceived ideas about her. Her friends were out to interrogate her. And should he ever remember that she had been about to kiss him, she would just expire right then and ther-

"Odango...erm...correct me if I'm wrong, but where you just about to kiss me when the girls walked by?"

Usagi's forehead dropped with unerring precision to smack against the metal support of the table. Once, twice, before a large male hand reached under the table and kept her from repeating the process. Mamoru peered under the table, scrutinizing her face for answers. Usagi closed her eyes tightly lest he see too much and lied for all she was worth. "No, of course not! You are most definitely becoming deranged, Satan!"

Mamoru's hand stilled on her face and withdrew. "Of course not. Then what were you doing?"

Usagi giggled blithely and slapped his knee playfully, "Well, duh! I was trying to look over your shoulder!"

"Of course." It seemed to be the only thing he could say. The weight of his disappointment seemed disproportionately huge. But...but you COULDN'T have been wrong! Surely you don't believe her! But what else could he believe? That she was as attracted to him as he had discovered he was to her? Unlikely.

He rested his head in his hands, a posture he seemed to have to resort to much too often since he had met this Odango Atama. He was distantly aware of her efforts to crawl out from beneath the table. After a number of thwarted attempts, he reached towards her.

She scurried away to the far corner like a frightened animal. The gesture angered him immensely. "Dammit, it's not like I'm trying to hurt you! I'm trying to help you out!"

She peered at him from her safe niche, her heart softening as she realized she had managed to hurt his feelings. "I didn't think that you were going to hurt me," she informed him softly.

She had wanted to keep as much distance between them as possible, actually, but now it seemed that that option had been taken away from her. And anyway, why should she be nervous? She had already decided she had played the role of seductress enough. She would not try to kiss him. Too much of her pride was at stake. If he rejected her, she'd be crushed. She'd have to find another way to find out if Chiba Mamoru and Tuxedo Mask were one and the same.

Tentatively she reached for his proffered hand.

Her palm was settling comfortably, warmly into his when he asked her quietly, gentle amusement lacing his voice, "Are you ready?"

She was hurled back into memory, of her at the school ground, covered safely by his body. How he'd offered her his hand and it had been so warm, so warm against hers, then that wry question in a deep baritone: "Are you ready?" It clicked, unquestionably, into place. How foolish of her to think there was only one way to recognize her savior. How naïve to base so much on the physical. The voice, the touch, the gaze were the same as the battlefield at the school.

She froze in place, eyes flying to his as that final rush of recognition settled in, part of her psyche suddenly whole.

How foolish...her mind echoed back to her. How foolish to think that you would be the only one to recognize the signs.

His eyes had become alarmingly unfocused, his grip tight as iron. In an instant those azure eyes were suddenly on her again, piercing beneath her skin and reading all her knowledge.

"Are you ready..." he repeated slowly, tightening his hold on her hand even more as she desperately tried to pull away. He recalled a demure Sailor Moon, looking up at him as he surrounded them in his cape. And here she was, whatever magic that shielded her identity as Sailor Moon doing a poor job of disguising those shocked blue eyes looking up at his, the warmth of her hand and the surety of her grip, all just like the day before. He felt like an idiot, such an idiot for not realizing sooner. And he couldn't help but wonder if, the entire time, he had simply been playing into her hands.

His face and voice grim, he pinned her to the spot with a look and she stopped struggling. "I don't know if you are ready, but I sure as hell am."

He hauled her up from underneath the table.

First Truths

A Sailor Moon Story
by Lilac Summers

Part 6 of 15

<< Previous     Home     Next >>