Eleven Years Ago
The roses were so pretty and red! Usagi was sure her new daddy would love them. They smelled so good too. She giggled and covered her mouth guiltily, looking around to see if her mommy had noticed.
Ikuko smiled at her daughter gently and hugged her to her leg. She had such a lovely daughter, so pretty with her golden curls and big blue eyes. She just knew that Kenji and his son, Mamoru, would love her also. "Here they come, Usagi. Get ready." The blue-haired woman said softly, seeing a car pull into the driveway of their house. A tall brown-haired man exited the car and went around to open the passenger door.
A small boy with hair as dark as a raven's wing slid out of the seat to the ground and looked around curiously. He was dressed cutely in a little tuxedo with a sky-blue bow-tie and the expression on his face was of wonder, almost as if he couldn't believe he was really there.
Ikuko sighed in regret, hoping that Mamoru would accept her in place of his poor departed mother. Kenji had explained that the child had missed his mother terribly when she died two years ago. It had been a hard decision to remarry, but a good one. The two adults were very happy together and they hoped that their children would be also.
Usagi's father had died not long after she was born, so she had never known a strong male in the house-hold.
Kenji and Mamoru locked up the car and approached the front door just as Ikuko opened it.
Usagi clung to her skirts and glanced upwards shyly. "Are you going to be my daddy?" She whispered, clutching the roses to her like a life-line.
The man smiled and knelt down, placing a gentle hand on the little girl's head. "That's right, sweetie. I'll be your daddy from now on."
"Good!" The golden-haired angel said in delight. She thrust the roses out at him. "These are for you-" She broke off when she saw Mamoru peering around Kenji's legs. She quickly pulled one of the roses out before giving the bunch to her new daddy.
Kenji smiled and said thank you, then the two adults backed off a little two see what would happen. The children had never met before.
"And you're going to be my brother?" Usagi asked after a long moment of looking at him. Mamoru looked sad! But he had nice black hair and his eyes were almost the same colour as hers.
"That's right," Mamoru smiled shyly at her, twisting his hands nervously.
The little girl smiled back, then reached out and took one of his warm hands. "Are you lonely too, Mamoru?" She whispered, as if the adults weren't listening in.
He nodded and tightened his hold on her little hand. She was younger than him, so he had to protect her.
Usagi handed him the rose she had taken from the bunch. "This is for you. You'll never be lonely because I'll be your friend from now on."
Mamoru took the rose and held it to his nose, inhaling the wonderful scent. Somehow, the scent had always seemed very familiar to him. "And I'll always protect you!" He said importantly, chest puffing out.
Ikuko and Kenji were delighted at how well their children were getting along.
What a pity it wasn't to last....
The alarm went off with a loud beeping noise, disturbing the quiet in the room. A slender hand shot out from under the covers and slammed down onto the alarm clock, switching it off.
"Usagi! The alarm means that you get out of bed, not that you turn it off and go back to sleep!" An exasperated Luna scolded, red eyes annoyed. She watched with disbelief as her charge burrowed back under the covers and muttered something unintelligible.
Usagi tried to drift back into her dream-world, but her guardian's scolding was nagging at her constantly. Didn't Luna ever take a break?! Annoyance seeping into her consciousness, a lid cracked open and the blonde stared balefully at the bright room. "I need my beauty sleep, Luna! That Youma last night really took all my energy."
"Youma attack often enough that you should be used to it!" The cat snapped back, padding over the quilt until she could view her charge's sleep-flushed face. Really, hadn't some big mistake been made? How could this lazy girl possibly be the Leader of the Sailor Senshi?
The small blonde groaned and closed her eyes again; mind desperately trying to hold onto the wonderful dream she had been having. Something about Tuxedo Kamen and a chocolate parfait... Maybe she could take a sick day? Things seemed so terribly busy lately, with school, Senshi duty and her new job at the Arcade. It was really great to be working with her crush, Motoki. A smile curved her lips.
Luna stared as her charge smiled dreamily, and she covered her face with one paw. "Oh Usagi! Day-dreaming again? Who is it this time? Tuxedo Kamen? The boy at school?"
"Hey!" The blonde yelped, bolting upright and sending her cat flying to the end of the bed. "I'm not that fickle, Luna. I really only like Motoki and Tuxedo Kamen." She retorted indignantly.
"Which is why you'll never get a date, Odango Atama," A voice mocked. "Motoki isn't interested and Tuxedo Kamen doesn't even know you exist."
That was unkind! Usagi stiffened, and then turned her head to glare at the tall man standing in her open doorway. Just how long had the jerk been standing there anyway? She bit her lip to hold back her habitual scream in his direction and looked at him carefully. If Mamoru had heard Luna, they were in big trouble!
Luna was also thinking the same thing, her fur standing on edge.
Mamoru smiled slightly as his step-sister gazed at him in uncertainty, her long hair loose about her and sticking up in places. Her face was flushed and her pink bunny pyjama's were falling off of one shoulder. For a moment, his blue gaze was riveted on that bare shoulder, and then he blinked and looked away.
"What, no come-back? I'm disappointed." He said softly, crossing his arms and leaning against the door.
Usagi blinked at him sleepily, then glared as his words hit home. "I'll give you a come-back, you jerk! In the form of a fist!" She growled, sliding out from under the covers and standing. Obviously Mamoru hadn't heard the cat speaking. He didn't look stunned, he looked arrogant as usual! He was wearing a black turtle-neck top that hugged his muscled chest and a pair of black slacks.
He looked good today...no wait, he didn't!
Her glare intensifying, Usagi stalked across the carpet towards him, eyes flashing. "And what are you doing in my room yet again? I told you to keep out."
"Aww, you used to invite me in here all the time when we were kids," Mamoru actually managed to look disappointed. But then that look melted into a wicked one. "You look like something the cat dragged in, little sister." He drawled, eyes raking over her.
"Then get out so I can change!" She yelled, reaching him and shoving at his chest. Usagi faltered for a moment when she felt the warmth of his skin through the material of his top. She bit her lip, trying to repress the brief feeling of unease. Occasionally when she looked at her step-brother, or touched him, she felt really strange. It wasn't something she could readily define, but she didn't like it.
Mamoru bit back a groan as he felt her small hands on his chest. Why was it lately that he was terribly aware of his blonde step-sister as a girl? Every time they touched, he felt uneasy. It never used to be that way when they were younger, but over the last few years something had changed. He couldn't quite put his finger on it, but the dark-haired upperclassman tried his very best not to think on it too hard.
Her step-brother grabbed her hands and took them from his chest, holding them away in a tight hold. For a second, his deep blue eyes glittered strangely, but then he was letting her go and stepping back.
"You're going to be late if you don't hurry," He said quietly, leaning in close to look into her eyes. When she swallowed hard and took a step backward, he smiled smugly. Odango Atama might talk big, but she was not really any good at confrontations. She did, however, have an impressive set of lungs, which she quite freely used on him when angered.
"I'm up with the alarm, so I won't be late today, jerk," She said haughtily, tossing her head. Who said that her brother could just waltz into her room whenever he wanted and taunt her? It was all so annoying, but he had been doing it for years now. One day she was going to give him the shock of his life by going onto his room...if she could ever wake up early, that is.
"Hmm, want to bet on that?" Mamoru reached out and flicked her forehead with his finger, grinning when she winced. He looked down at the watch on his wrist. "You have fifteen minutes to shower, get dressed and eat."
"What?" Usagi shrieked, holding a hand to her forehead where he had flicked her. Mamoru had same damned annoying habits! She would have to make sure to kick him sometime today in retaliation. The blonde raced back to her bedside and stared in disbelief at the clock. Sure enough, she only had fifteen minutes. But how had that happened? She set her clock right every night... "Mamoru!" She shouted, rounding on her smirking step-brother. "Did you change my clock again?!"
"Would I do that?" He chuckled and turned to leave. "You now have twelve minutes!" The handsome man called over his shoulder as he slammed the door behind him.
"Damn it, damn it!" Usagi raced about her room trying to get ready, then she dragged the door open and dashed down the hallway with her arms full of underwear, jeans and a pretty pink blouse. She almost collided with Mamoru, who was talking with their father.
The jerk was also casually blocking the doorway to the bathroom!
Mamoru hid a satisfied smile as the blonde tried to get around him and their father without calling too much attention to the fact that she wasn't even ready for school. Their dad was rather strict in that sense. The upperclassman inched slightly to the left as she tried to get past him. He was terribly tempted to make her drop her clothes and get hideously embarrassed because they would see her underwear. However, they had both learned over time not to try their games in front of their parents.
"Mamoru!" Usagi hissed under her breath, stomping on his toes to get him to move. The jerk kept getting in her way so she couldn't get a shower.
To his credit, Mamoru acted as if he hadn't felt a thing, and continued talking to their father. As Usagi tried to get around him on the right, he moved surreptitiously that way.
"Hi dad!" The blonde said cheerfully as she shoved her step-brother out of the way and went into the bathroom. As she passed, she felt a hand grasp her upper arm and lips touch her ear.
"Not pulling any punches today, dear sister? Do we have a battle?" He said, leaning close, lips brushing her ear. They both shivered at the contact and with a frown he pulled back slightly.
"A battle?" Usagi demanded, eyebrows coming together. She looked into the blue eyes so close to her own and nodded. "You're on." She yanked her arm away.
"What are you two talking about? Usagi, have you seen the time?" Kenji scolded, looking at his watch. "Move it young lady."
"Gotta change, Mamoru you wait for me!" She called out, shutting the door on her step-brother's knowing expression.
"I'm not going to be late today, Usagi, so if you're not ready in five minutes, you're on your own." Mamoru called back, laughing in amusement.
"A battle...this should be interesting," She muttered under her breath, feeling somewhat excited over the prospect. Since they were young and started to not get along as well as they had, the two of them had been battling secretly. Since they had always gone to the same school, despite the two year age difference, the siblings had been fighting in almost everything. Grades, friends, work... When one of them announced a battle, it was no-holds bared! Basically, it was an attack and it could be in the form of anything. They did their best to win the fight by any means at hand.
As she got a shower and dressed, Usagi remembered some of their battles. There was that time she had told his girlfriend that he had lice, oh and that time Mamoru had cut off some of her hair in her sleep, and the times they got each other in trouble with teachers. Of course, they tried not to so anything too drastic. That time they had dared each other to shop-lift had been hair-raising, or their biking competition that had ended in bloody elbows and knees.
The blonde girl straightened her left hair-bun and eyed herself critically. It had been more like ten minutes, so Mamoru had probably left already. She went to her room to collect her school gear, then she grabbed a piece of toast, kissed her parents goodbye and ran hell-bent for leather towards school.
Yep, that jerk had left without her! Which meant that he had the upper-hand. "Where is he, I know he's here somewhere." Usagi looked left and right as she ran, eyed searching for the familiar form in the crowds. But to her surprise, her step-brother didn't pop out of somewhere. Maybe the game hadn't started yet?
The Senshi of the Moon reached the school gates a few minutes late and to her horror, she saw the gate closing! If she got stuck outside, she wouldn't be able to get in and she would get detention.
"You're too late, Odango!" Mamoru called out from the school-yard as he sauntered towards her. He had his hands in the pockets of his slacks, a pair of dark sunglasses hiding his eyes. He grinned at her as the gate slid shut between them. He had won the first round.
Damn it, he looked coolly elegant and Usagi suddenly felt very gauche in her jeans. "Did you inform the teacher?!" She demanded, skidding to a halt on the other side of the gate and glaring at him murderously.
"Moi?" Her dark-haired step-brother said innocently. He gripped the bars and leant in close to smile at her mockingly. "I just reminded the attendant that it was a few minutes past and he hadn't closed up the school so bad people couldn't get in."
"You're one of those bad people!" She snapped, gripping the bars below his hands and leaning in also. "I'm going to get you for this, brother."
"You can try dear sister, but I think you'll find you don't have a chance against me." He whispered, eyes devilish. An impulse grabbed him and he moved in even closer, and then lightly kissed her nose. For a moment they both stilled, then he was turning and walking away with a jaunty whistle.
Usagi stared for a few moments after he left, then he hand went up to her nose. Had he just kissed there? Why on earth had he done that? "Oh....Oh damn, he was distracting me!" She groaned in disbelief, looking around the empty school yard. Her teacher was going to have her head.
"I have to get in, or they'll call dad." The girl said softly, glancing about in a hunted manner. She quickly threw her bag over the fence, then crouched. Usagi looked around once more to make sure she was alone, then she nimbly leapt over the fence and landed on the other side quite easily. But then her ankle gave out and she went tumbling.
"Ouch?" Well, she had hurt her leg, but at least her Senshi powers had come in handy!
If she had looked up just then, she would have seen the stunned face of her step-brother as he stared at her from the shadows of the front entrance.