Continuing Tales

First Truths

A Sailor Moon Story
by Lilac Summers

Part 8 of 15

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First Truths

"I-I'm seeing it...but I'm not quite believing it," breathed Ami from her place on the floor.

"Uh-huh," added Rei intelligently.

"Maybe this is a dream. Yes, this is a dream. See? I'm here, in a lingerie store, wearing a gold teddy, watching Usagi-chan kiss Mamoru-san like there's no tomorrow. Any minute now a circus elephant is going to walk through the store and a giant cake will appear out of nowhere and I'll find myself naked in the middle of class. A dream. Has to be." Content with her analysis, Minako looked wildly around for the appearance of baked goods.

"Doofus, this isn't a dream! It's a Kodak moment! I'd give my life for a camera!" bemoaned Makoto.

"Excuse me, ladies, can I help you find something else?" the four girls heard the saleslady call from somewhere outside the dressing room alcove, followed by rapid footsteps in their direction. With panicked expressions, they all jumped to conceal the scandalous spectacle Mamoru and Usagi made as they kissed inside a woman's dressing room, oblivious to the world around them.

The intent was good; the execution, however...

"EEP!" squeaked four voices as they all rushed to slam the dressing room door. It wasn't until they found themselves smushed against each other that they realized just what they had done.

"Aww, shoot."

Somewhere in the back of Mamoru's mind niggled the thought that the kiss had long ago surpassed the limit of what was decent. However, that thought was stomped down with vicious glee and the resounding shout of "I DON'T CARE!"

The girl in his arms was like liquid sunshine, so warm and soft, and the kiss was utterly blinding, like staring at the sun straight on. Her small hands had fisted around his neck to grip his hair tightly when she'd found that her feet were no longer touching the floor. During some heated moment, Mamoru had wrapped strong arms around her waist and simply hauled her up, bracing the rest of her weight against the wall.

She had not minded in the least.

Thus, lost in each other, they were quite surprised when they were pushed even closer together, as impossible as it seemed, and pushed hard.

Mamoru jerked his mouth away with a slight hiss of pain as his bottom lip protested angrily to the sudden movement. Damn lip had been giving him more trouble than he ever would have anticipated.

He turned still-dazed eyes to see what had bumped him from behind. He was met with an array of four pairs of different-colored eyes, staring at him with undisguised curiosity. Hell, that was one heck of a kiss if he was suddenly hallucinating.

Groaning softly, he let his head drop to Usagi's shoulder. She stiffened for a second at the unfamiliar feeling of having the weight of his head nestle close to her neck, but slowly relaxed and let her fingers play gently along the hard lines of his biceps, straining as they held her off the ground. With her eyes closed, mind spinning in dizzying circles, she thought she would like to stay like this forever. Not think about what her being here, with him like this, meant; not think about what the other Senshi would say if they ever found ou-

"Pssst. Usagi-chan! Er...are you really comfortable with your feet hanging off the floor like that?" Minako's whisper was absurdly unnecessary in the tiny room. Her voice was loud and clear for the six people crammed in that small place.

Usagi's eyes flew open in shock and bewilderment. Over Mamoru's shoulder she saw the anxious faces of her friends. They were all squeezed into the dressing room, arms and legs sticking out at various points and muffled "ouches" and "watch your hands!" erupting every other second.

Mamoru, coming to the realization that, unfortunately, he was not hallucinating, raised beleaguered eyes to Usagi's shocked gaze and reluctantly let her slip from his grasp. Her breath caught as she slid down the length of his body until she was finally standing, at which point she reminded herself to breathe. She looked up to find Mamoru's eyes dark and hot on her face, a finger reaching up to trace her lips. It came away wet with his own blood.

"That's the second time you draw blood from me, Odango," he murmured hoarsely.

"Third," corrected Usagi without thinking. She flinched as he stilled in sudden comprehension.

"That's how you knew...!"

Usagi turned her head away, unwilling to answer the questions she knew would come.

"Not that we don't appreciate this 'very important after-school special'," droned Rei, "but would someone mind telling me WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON?"

Mamoru tried to turn around to face the group of girls. He was halfway turned when he deigned to look down and see who was pressing him and Odango so unyieldingly close. He looked, blanched, and decided quickly that he'd rather have his back to the crowd, after all.

"Sorry," said Minako breezily as she struggled to keep her balance where she'd been smashed up against Mamoru. "I was trying this little number on when we found you two playing tonsil-hockey in here...ouch!" Minako glared at Makoto as Makoto retracted her elbow in warning.

"What she means," amended Ami hastily, noticing that Mamoru's ears were dangerously flushed red, "is that she was trying on that teddy when we noticed you two settling your emotional differences."

"Yeah...that's what I meant."

"Uh-huh." Usagi had long ago resigned herself to the situation. "Well, Minako-chan, it looks great on you, anyway."

"You think?" preened the blonde as much as was possible, squished as she was between Mamoru's back and Makoto's elbow. "I think gold is really my color. Granted, it's a little expensive."

"If you save up for the next week or two, maybe ask your parents for an early allowance, you ought to be able to cover it. But, don't you think it's a little...revealing?"

"That's the point!" exulted Minako, tugging a drooping spaghetti-strap over her bare shoulder. "This baby is for special occasions."

"My god, I cannot believe you two dolts are talking about this. FOCUS, people!" raged Rei.

"And anyway, you need occasions, any occasions, before you try making them special, Minako-chan," snickered Makoto.

"That's it, one more joke about my love-life, or lack thereof, and I'm gonna start beating your heads in!"

"You might want to get dressed first before you try anything, Minako-chan," added Ami.

"Et tu, Brumus?" Minako accused Ami.

"You mean…oh, forget it."

"Whatever. Look, all I'm saying-"

"ENOUGH!" roared Mamoru. They all jumped in their respective, if somewhat crushed, places. "First of all," he seethed, "this is a private moment and I would appreciate it if you four girls would kindly leave us alone. There are a few things Odango Atama and I need to discuss."

"Amazing," Rei intervened. "I can't believe you have been in this dressing room ravishing our best friend for who-knows how long, and you still call her 'Odango Atama.'"

"You still call her meatball brains, Rei, even after all this time," said Ami reasonably.

"That's different. I don't sneak off into dressing rooms with her, now do I? And since when..."

Mamoru closed his eyes, letting the sound of the girls' squabbling fade, and wondered at what point, exactly, the day had decided to do him in. And if the nails digging into his arms were any indication, the day still had a long way to go.

"Yes, Satan, exactly WHEN are you going to stop calling me Odango Atama?" hissed Usagi under her breath.

He managed to tower over her threateningly and hissed right back, "When you stop calling me Satan!"


"Odango Atama!"

"Satan, Satan, Satan!"

"Odango Atama!"


"Odang-aaaargh! You are impossible!" shouted Mamoru.

"I'm impossible? I'm not the one who got us cornered in a dressing room!"

"Well, if you hadn't kissed me in the first place-"

"I DIDN'T KISS YOU! You kissed me!" replied Usagi hotly.

"You kissed me the first time!" argued Mamoru.

"I didn't know it was you! You think I would have kissed you?"

The words were out before she thought them through. Usagi watched Mamoru flinch away from her and she felt absolutely horrible for it. It seemed that they were destined to hurt each other with insults.

Oblivious to the silent, intent gazes of the four other girls, Usagi gripped Mamoru's shirt and pulled gently. He looked down at her blindly. "I didn't mean that," she murmured.

"Didn't you?" he asked quietly. She found, to her dismay, that she could not meet his eyes. She turned away.

"I thought so." There were angry, hurt undertones to his voice, but his face was impassive. He wrenched away from her grip and waded through the stunned mass of Minako, Makoto, Ami, and Rei. With one hand on the door, he turned to regard Usagi steadily. "We'll have to talk about this. Later." And then he had walked out, the saleslady freezing as the tall man exited the dressing room.

Warily she walked over to the dressing room, cringing when she caught the startled gazes of the girls she'd been talking to and who, she thought, had disappeared from the store earlier. With nothing else to say, she mutely stared, and they stared back.

After a few failed attempts, she cleared her throat and croaked out the first thing that came to mind. "Miss? Are you going to take that negligee?"

Minako fought her way out of the teeny room and rushed for her own clothes in the other, empty cubicle. "No."

"Oh," said the sales lady, then spun on her heel and took refuge behind the counter, far away from the dressing alcove and any other people who might decide to pop out of the dressing rooms.

"I can't tell you yet. I promise to tell you everything soon."

Rei twirled the straw in her soda idly and regarded Usagi with uncertainty. "Are you sure?"

Usagi nodded vehemently. "It's not just for me to share. I-I have to know that it's okay."

Makoto leaned forward, concern evident in her eyes. "Okay for whom? Usagi-chan, if this is important, we need to know. It's dangerous for you to get so close to Tuxedo Mask like that. You don't know what he's after."

Ami cut her off. "Makoto-chan, I'm sure it's not like that. If anything, Usagi seems to be getting involved with Mamoru-san. She wouldn't be two-timing either of them." She patted Usagi's hand, smiling kindly.

Usagi fought off the panicked instinct to laugh hysterically. "Guys, I don't know what's going on between Sata-I mean, Mamoru-san and me. But I do know that Tuxedo Mask would never hurt me." "You know I'd never hurt you," Mamoru had said when she had offered to let him punch her. And, even then, she'd believed him implicitly.

She dropped her forehead to the cool surface of the booth they appropriated, not far from where she and Mamoru had sat earlier that morning. "I just need some time to think. But everything will work out." At least, she prayed it would. It had to.

Makoto opened her mouth to argue again, but Minako stopped her with a sharp shake of her head. Instead, she tugged on one of Usagi's pigtails playfully. "Usagi-chaaaan, you've been a busy girl today! You look drained, girl! How do you hope to catch yourself a man if you look like you've been run over twice by an ice-cream truck? Go home, take a nap, give Luna a hard time if you feel up to it. Later, we can meet up at Makoto's and she can cook us all dinner, okay?"

The thought of the three things she loved to do most-sleeping, eating, and giving Luna a hard time-cheered Usagi immeasurably, as Minako knew they would. "Hai, Minako-chan, that's a great idea. When you're right, you're right. I'll go now, if it's okay with you." Minako obligingly slid out of the booth and let Usagi pass, smiling sunnily as she noticed the renewed bounce in her friend's step.

"Bye, Usagi-chan! Don't forget dinner. Makoto'll be making chocolate cake, too," called Minako to Usagi's retreating form. After Usagi had disappeared in a throng of shoppers, Minako slumped back into her seat.

"So, since when was I going to cook dinner for you guys?" demanded Makoto.

"Yeah, Minako. We're not as easy to fool as Usagi-chan. You practically offered to carry her home, yourself. Why'd you want her to leave?" Rei assessed Minako from across the table and Minako seemed to shrink into the booth.

She dropped her head in her hands and sighed gustily. "Guys, you aren't gonna like what I figured out."

"Go on..." urged Ami.

"Well, I let Usagi go cuz, first of all, she wasn't going to tell us anything, and, second of all, I think I know what her secret is, anyway."

"WHAT? How do you know?" exploded Rei.

Minako smoothed her hands over the slight rise of goosebumps over her chilled arms. "I don't know. It was a feeling...Rei, you know what I'm talking about. I know you felt it that night when Tuxedo Mask ran off with Sailor Moon."

Rei straightened in her seat. "You mean...?"

"Uh-huh," whispered Minako miserably.

"Okay, I am completely missing what you two are talking about, and I don't like not understanding," complained Ami.

"That makes two of us. Will you girls please make sense?" ordered Makoto.

"It goes like this: I'm the Senshi of Love, right?" Minako paused while the other girls nodded their agreement thus far. "And because of this, I can sometimes tell when two people are bound, through destiny or fate or whatever you want to call it. At least, Artemis said that I would be able to tell, but only if the link was strong enough, and only when I'd grown a little more into my power, and if the two people were completely focused on each other, and yadda yadda yadda. You all know how he likes to go on and on. Anyway, I'd never really paid attention. I'd never felt anything. And then..." she fell silent, struggling to find the words that would describe her suspicions.

"You felt something?" prompted Ami. "Something that had to do with Usagi and...and Tuxedo Mask?"

"And I felt it too," added Rei. "Well, I felt something or other. It was like energy, flowing between the two of them. I don't know what it was, but it was powerful."

"You felt the link. And not just any link, guys." Minako gulped and closed her eyes. "A soul bond. It's what connects soul mates, if you prefer that term. It can't be anything else. Nothing else would feel this strong and I sense it deep down in my bones. NOTHING is going to keep those two from reaching some ultimate connection. If something or someone tries to step between them, there's going to be a lot of trouble."

"Oh, my. Then...then what does this mean? What is going to happen to poor Mamoru?" asked Makoto, worrying the tip of her thumbnail. Rei and Ami nodded slowly, wondering the same thing.

Minako groaned and thumped her head against the table. "Ohhhh, don't you guys get it? In the dressing room just now, standing so close to them, with them so oblivious to us even though we were in the same freakin' four square feet. I felt the same link again!"

Three pairs of eyes widened. "You can't mean...!"

"Yes! Mamoru-san is Tuxedo Mask!"

"Mom, I'm home!" called Usagi as she stepped out of her shoes. She padded through the living room and towards the stairs, feeling the emptiness in the house and, therefore, not surprised when no one answered her back. Her parents tended to go out together on Saturdays since she and her brother usually spent the day with their friends. Her room was also empty. She was both relieved and disappointed that Luna wasn't home. On the one hand, there was too high a chance that she might have seen the infamous picture in the paper and, in that case, Usagi did NOT want to deal with her questions. On the other hand, teasing Luna mercilessly was just so much fun.

She flopped on her bed and stared at the ceiling. No matter how much she wanted to, she could not lose herself in sleep. Her mind refused to shut down.

You will never be the same after that kiss.

No, she didn't want to think of that. But how could she not, when the mere remembrance sent thrilling bolts of pleasure up and down her back?

You just kissed Satan, you know.

She frowned. If anyone had told her she was going to be clinging to Chiba Mamoru as if the very air she breathed depended on it, she would have been the first to consign them to the devil. But in the past twenty-four hours, she had managed to do exactly that. Not once, but twice!

I didn't know the he was Mamoru the first time.

Which made it even worse, because now she didn't understand even her own feelings. Liking Tuxedo Mask had been a constant in her life. The moment she had set eyes on him, she had known that he would always own part of her heart. Fighting, however, with Chiba Mamoru had also been a constant. Whenever he was around, it had felt like the very air around her was electrified. He scared her silly, he made her raging mad, he made her blood boil.

He turns you on.

Had that been it? Had she been fighting against attraction all this time? Had she been defensive merely because he had always been so mean to her? Would she have fallen for him the same as she had fallen for Tuxedo Mask if he had been nice to her from the start?

Why wasn't he nice to me from the start? Why was he always so mean to me?

Why, indeed. He had never liked her. Had that changed? And if it had, was it because he now knew she was Sailor Moon, or was it because she had scared him as thoroughly as he scared her?

Too many questions and, sadly, no answers. But now that he was in her blood, she would never be able to get him out. Did it matter why she felt like this? It mattered to her. She wanted to know if he was interested now in her only because of her alter ego. It was strange to think that he might be wondering the same thing.

Just admit to yourself what you feel. For once, stop lying to yourself about this. You may not know the answers to his feelings, but you know your own.

All right.

I love him. I don't know when, I don't know how. I know that when he looked at me as Chiba Mamoru, my stomach would clench and I'd want to see him smile at me, or talk to me, or anything that would bring me into contact with him. I confess, I even threw some of my shoes at his head on purpose, just to make him mad. I know that when he saved me, as Tuxedo Mask, my heart would flutter and I'd strain to see beyond the mask. I wanted to know the man behind the façade. And I fell in love with him, too. And when I found out Tuxedo Mask and Chiba Mamoru were one and the same, deep down I was so happy I could hardly hold it in. But I was confused. I was afraid. Mamoru seemed to only hold anger for me, amusement at best. I didn't want to get hurt. But I won't lie to myself anymore. I don't know how it happened; I never imagined it could take me so quickly but...I love the entire man, the upperclassman and the hero.

So at the very least, she would know her own feelings. No matter what he said, she would be true to herself. If-if he did not feel with the same intensity she did for him, she would take solace in the knowledge that, at least twice in her life, she had felt alive in his arms.

Now the question only you love me, too? Not just Sailor Moon, but the klutzy, ditzy, childish Usagi-chan, also? Will you love the entire woman...Mamo-chan?

First Truths

A Sailor Moon Story
by Lilac Summers

Part 8 of 15

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