Sailor Moon, heroine of Tokyo, was not having a good day.
This morning, a Tuesday, she had woken up late. It had been due to one of her arms flailing out during the night, in the midst of a nightmare she couldn't later recall. Effectively knocking off her bedside clock, and shorting its lifespan to zero. Therefore it hadn't made its usual annoying buzzing sounds that Usagi generally woke up to.
Okay, so she usually went back to sleep for a while, but at least she knew she had to get up to go to school soon!
Luna had not bothered to wake up her charge, even when it was clear that the sun had risen well in the sky and the sounds from the bathroom next door indicated that Shingo was getting ready for the school day.
No, the furry black cat had merely eyed her charge with her usual distain when the door abruptly slammed open and Ikuko stormed in to shake her daughter awake.
It had been this action that had the blonde bolting awake with unseemly haste and cracking her head against her mother's forehead. This had caused some rather impressive scolding from the spatular-wielding house wife, followed by an ice-cold shower courtesy of her gleeful brother, no breakfast and a thundering headache in our heroine.
Usagi was late to school and had to endure yet another scolding from her boyfriendless teacher, and the amusement of her class. Ami had given her a disappointed look, and Makoto had thought it was pretty funny.
Later in the day, the blonde had also realised that she had left the house without any lunch, which really put her in a black mood.
By the time the Dark Kingdom decided to launch one of their attacks on the general population for energy, Usagi was really raring to let someone have it. Ami, Makoto and the blonde raced out of the school gates, hoping no one was spotting them, and followed directions to the most posh of schools in Juuban, the Azabu Institute of Technology.
The Senshi collectively paused for a moment after entering the gates to gawk in awe at the surrounding buildings of white stone and extensive gardens.
And then Mercury had led the way to a side building, where some students were being attacked. Other people were fleeing from the scene as if their backsides were on fire, which the Senshi were grateful for. The less people around, the less witnesses to their flamboyant powers, the homicidal urges of Zoisite, and potential victims in the cross fire.
The Youma, in it's usual lack of attempt in the originality department, looked like a huge study book. It looked like the Dark Kingdom had tried to suck the energy out of Tokyo's future leaders. People who came out of this place ended up as doctors, or ministers or lawyers.
"Everyone spread out!" Sailor Mars yelled, racing off to the left. Jupiter went right and Sailor Moon hovered behind Mercury, who had immediately gone to work on her computer.
The blonde Leader had a moment of irrational thought as she stared at the laptop and wondered why her friends got all the cool toys and powers. She had a flying frisbe. Oooh, how scary. "Any luck yet, Ami?" She whispered into the ear of the blue-haired girl.
"Nothing yet, Sailor Moon," The Senshi continued typing away, trying to find a weakness.
The battle continued in usual form from there. Everyone attacked, Sailor Moon tried to dodge and Mercury predicably found the Youma's weakness was in its left elbow.
They launched a some-what coordinated attack and then Sailor Moon tripped over her own feet, which really compounded the excessively bad day she had been having, and making an ungraceful belly-flop right at the Youma's feet. Luckily it was as stunned to find Sailor Moon layed out in the dirt like some pagan sacrifice that when Tuxedo Kamen came zooming down from the rooftop of the building for a dashing rescue, it only stared in bemusement.
"Are you alright, Sailor Moon?" The dark-haired masked man breathed down at her, his arms tight about Sailor Moon's form. He landed a few meters away and stood there, looking down into the blonde's dirty face with a vaguely concerned expression. She was really the most hopeless heroine he had ever encountered out of all the Senshi. He didn't even like her, but he had an overwhelming urge to keep her from harm. Most times when something threatened her, he was going to her air before he even realised he had moved. If he wasn't there to rescue her, she would be dead dozens of times over by now. Somehow, over time, it had become really annoying to save the blonde from certain death.
She cried, she wailed, she fell flat on her face...she was just like the Odango Atama. And maybe that was why it made him gnash his teeth in frustration, seeing the similarities. Everyone knew there was no one who made him pull his hair out in frustration more than Usagi.
Tuxedo Kamen wondered not for the first time, if the two girls were distantly related. Distantly, because he couldn't see Usagi with a superhero like Sailor Moon as a sister, or cousin. That would be too cool, and the blonde was most definitely at the other side of the scale...round about the 'dork' and 'airhead' mark.
"I'm okay," She told him, smiling shyly. It did all sorts of things to a girl's confidence to be rescued by such a hot guy just when her life was about to expire by totally embarrassing circumstances. Sailor Moon thought rather scornfully that she couldn't have done better in making herself a target for the Youma if she'd pasted a card on her chest saying 'Kill me, I'm a ditzy blonde with no coordination!' He as really wonderful to put up with her faults.
"Oh shit guys! The Youma has someone!" Jupiter's worried voice broke into the revere both Sailor Moon and Tuxedo Kamen had fallen into while staring into each other's eyes.
Tuxedo Kamen's eyes narrowed in disapproval of the Senshi's vulgar language, but then they widened when he saw the guy that the Youma had grabbed. It was Joe, also popularly known as Game-Machine Joe. He knew the guy only vaguely, and only knew him by nick-name, as they didn't attend the same classes. He was popular for his spooky knack of winning every time he played an arcade game.
Even as they watched, a red Rainbow Crystal was sucked out of Joe, who then fainted. Pink petals fanned out over the area, heralding the arrival of the very feminine Dark Kingdom General Zoisite. He smirked at Tuxedo Kamen and bent over to pick up the crystal that had fallen to the ground.
"Oh no you don't!" The masked hero practically bellowed. He glanced down at the burden in his arms, and at that stage his panic that his beloved Princess' Crystal was soon to be lost in the Dark Kingdom, made him rather irrational. He abruptly saw the young airhead in his arms as a problem, and somehow it didn't occur to him to gently put her onto the ground and push her out of the way.
No, our hero was seeing red right then, and his blood was pumping with adrenalin.
Tuxedo Kamen could only think of getting the blonde out of his way, but still at a safe distance from the Youma and General so that she somehow didn't flounder into their midst and sustain a bloody nose.
He hefted Sailor Moon in his arms, sighted a bunch of well-manicured hedges a short distance away, and then he flung her in that direction like a sack of potatoes. Even as her outraged shriek rent the air, Tuxedo Kamen was diving at the Rainbow Crystal. He and Zoisite arrived at the same time and they grappled around a bit on the ground, trying to get the upper hand.
The Senshi stared with gaping mouths from Zoisite and Tuxedo Kamen wrestling in the dirt, to their Leader, who was sprawled across a leafy bush, her skirt up around her armpits.
Sailor Moon's thoughts were in chaos for a few long moments and she finally found the energy to shut her gaping mouth. "He threw me. Tuxedo Kamen threw me out of the way." She muttered in a daze, aware that her dignity was in shreds right about now, but unable to move from the bush which had cushioned her fall. Her major gripe right then was that the guy she had lavished her girlish dreams upon had shoved her into the shrubbery with all the loving care of someone putting the garbage out onto the curb on trash day.
Even the Youma was staring, uncertain what she should be doing in this situation. After a moment, she shrugged, saluted Zoisite, who currently had his pretty boy face mashed into the dirt under Tuxedo Kamen's hand, and then she vanished with all the energy she had collected.
"No!" Mercury cried out. They had never let a Youma get away before, and the loss was a real blow. She quickly scanned the unconscious students and assessed that they would be okay without their energy and would wake up after a while as if they had just been asleep.
Jupiter's face was set in a scowl she stomped across to where Sailor Moon was finally struggling out of the bushes. "It got away." She told her blonde friend, wondering if this would affect the people it had taken the energy from. They would wake up, right?
Sailor Moon found herself jerked to her booted feet by her colleague. She blew the bangs from her eyes, brushed her skirt down and began to pull leaves from her hair. All the while, her eyes were on that jerk Tuxedo Kamen, who had thrown her to the side like he'd discovered a mouldy sandwich in his lunchbox. If her blue eyes could have turned into laser-beams, the dark-haired man would have been incinerated on the spot. She. Was. Not. Happy.
"Got it," The hero said suddenly, gloved and closing about the glowing Crystal. He aimed an elbow at Zoisite's face, and the General was forced to flee or be faced with plastic surgery from a crushed nose. He vanished with a multitude of colourful curses renting the air where he had stood. Tuxedo Kamen looked down at the Crystal in his hands in relief, glad he hadn't let his Princess down.
"Tuxedo Kamen, hand over the Crystal," Sailor Mars demanded, facing him with hand stretched out. He flashed her a cold look and then his form rose from the ground and he made his usual escape in the air, where they couldn't follow. He had not given Sailor Moon another glance, as if he really couldn't care less.
"Damn it, now he has two Crystals and we have three," Jupiter growled, slamming one fist into the palm of her other hand.
"Are you okay, Sailor Moon?" The blue-haired Senshi asked her friend, peering into the lowered face of her friend, who's expression was hidden by her blonde fringe.
Sailor Moon was not happy. You could even say that she was full of seething homicidal thoughts that that very moment, aimed at her fleeing former suitor. She was furiously gritting her teeth, tempted to dash after Tuxedo Kamen and give him a piece of her mind. Or of her fist, rather. Oh yeah, she wanted to smash his pretty-boy face in so much she could taste it. A woman scorned and all that.
She straightened her shoulders, threw her head back and let loose all the pent up fury at her dreadful day in one long enraged shriek, completely ignoring her friends and any students who had stuck around to witness it all.
"Tuxedo Kamen, you jerrrrrrrrrrk!"
Unfortunately her wrath was amplified by the magical jewels in her hair, which rather enthusiastically responded to her deafening screech of anger. The windows of all the surrounding buildings shattered, and any person who came into contact clutched at their head in pain. Even as the echoes faded away, the Senshi bundled up their red-faced Leader and hustled her away before anyone in authority sued for damages.
All men were jerks! That was Usagi's firm opinion anyway, which she would stick by until informed differently.
The little blonde was sitting on her favourite stool at the counter in the Crown Game Arcade later on that afternoon. She had cooled down in her anger somewhat, and had told her friends firmly that she wanted to be alone. Their unsympathetic comments after the battle had really made her mad, but they had finally gotten the hint that she was really, really pissed. Probably Ami, Rei and Makoto had not realised just how deeply their friend's affections had been for Tuxedo Kamen.
She now had a milkshake in front of her, only half empty due mainly to her current preoccupation. Generally, any food in her immediate vicinity would vanish in seconds of being placed before her, but right now she couldn't have cared less. Heartbreak made one go off of their food.
Yeah, wonderful, man problems had now turned her off of her food. Two of the great loves of her life had left her in the space of an afternoon. The Odango Atama scowled and stirred her straw about her glass furiously until it frothed up with bubbles and spilled down the sides.
Motoki was wiping a glass while watching her curious behaviour, a slight frown between his brows. The blonde usually would have practically inhaled that delicious chocolate milk-shake by now, but instead she was making a mess on his nice clean counter. She was glaring so hard at the glass in her hand that he was surprised it hadn't melted into a puddle by now.
Who on earth had had the bad sense to irritate Tsukino Usagi? It could only have been one person; Chiba Mamoru. Above all beings in Tokyo, that upperclassman could rile up the blonde faster than someone could say 'mutual attraction'. Yeah, if there were two completely clueless individuals in Juuban, it was the jerk and the Odango Atama. They were like a match and flint and when they came anywhere near each other, fires flared up.
Whether it was heated glares, screaming matches (Mostly on Usagi's side) or 'accidental' shoving or tripping over, those two were prime entertainment to everyone around them. They were all taking bets on the exact time and day that the two would realise that their every fighting match was hiding a deeper emotion.
"Usagi," Motoki said gravely, leaning against the counter and sticking his face in front of hers to get her attention.
The blonde blinked and jerked back slightly, stunned when her friend's face suddenly loomed up in front of her. "Umm, yes?" She said uncertainly. Her hand felt sticky and she glanced down in surprise to see what a mess she had made of things. While her mind had been going over and over her problem, her hand had been causing havoc on Motoki's counter, her hand and the glass. There was now barely enough chocolate liquid left in the glass to drink. She pushed it away sheepishly, mortified even more when he gently picked up her hand and wiped it clean.
"I've been a little...distracted." Usagi admitted. Understatement of the century! She was thinking up a diabolical revenge for Mr tall dark and handsome. Just what she could possibly do to the older man was evading her in a frustrating manner. She was only a fifteen year old girl, after all. So what if she was a superheroine; what experience had a girl like her had with the opposite sex? She wasn't exactly dating the guy, but what he had done was unforgivable.
The best idea that she had come up with so far was oiling down every available high surface in the hopes that he would fly in at the next battle, land on a lightpole and fall down on his ass in the most embarassing manner possible.
"A little?" He said jokingly, letting go of her clean hand and wiping off the counter. "You wasted food, and since it's you, that equals a major event," Motoki grinned at her. "Care to share?"
The Senshi of the Moon hesitated and then her brows came together in a ferocious frown. "All men are the spawn of Satan." She said ominously.
The blonde man blinked at her and then tilted his head to the side as he considered her words. "Are you dating?" He asked slowly, somehow uneasy. She was only fifteen and she'd already had a bad experience with a guy? That was the sort of thing that could scar a girl for life. His fists clenched and he looked at her intently. "Usagi, just give me his name and I'll teach him some manners." His offer was completely serious.
"Thank you, but...we'll, it's complicated. He's really popular, and handsome and er-powerful." She said awkwardly, lacing her fingers together. "And the other guy...he's sorta your best friend." Usagi muttered the last part, half-hoping that he wouldn't even hear it.
Motoki's mouth fell open. "Are you talking about Mamoru?" This was surprising. Usagi was admitting to having boy troubles with Mamoru? Had something happened right under his nose?
"Yeah, that's the jerk. One of them, anyway," The blonde said, drumming her fingers on the table. "Two complete jerks in my life is more than enough, thank you very much."
"Who was the other guy?" By this stage, the blonde guy was afire with curiosity. Mamoru he knew about, but who was the other guy? Someone at her school? Did Mamoru have competition and not even know it? Motoki barely stopped an evil grin from spreading over his face.
Usagi opened her mouth to answer him and then she changed her mind. "Let's call him Mr. Anonymous for now." She replied prudently. Blurting out that her other problem male was Tuxedo Kamen would not come over very well. He wouldn't even believe that she had met the superhero, let alone that she had guy problems to do with him.
It wasn't something she had had any luck talking to the other Senshi about, however. Makoto just laughed and told her to get a crush on a more obtainable guy-like Motoki. Ami had looked at her with disappointment and told her firmly that the cloaked hero was an enemy. And Rei...her scornful look was the most annoying. As if she had been saying that there was no way in hell that a hot guy like that could ever like a klutz like the Leader of the Senshi.
Maybe Rei was right. Tuxedo Kamen was there to rescue Sailor Moon when things got to bad in battle, but just the other day he had practically thrown her out of the way in order to grab a Rainbow Crystal before Zoisite had grabbed for it. The blonde heroine had landed in a bush, her dignity and her crush on the hero severely bruised.
"Mr. Anonymous?" Motoki said, choking back a chuckle of amusement. Where did girls these days get these ideas? "Tell me about him." He suggested.
"Lets see," Usagi sank back comfortably in her chair and prepared to be as brief as she could, so as not to arouse Motoki's suspicions. She had to keep out things like hero, Tuxedo Kamen, Senshi, battle...that sort of thing. "We meet quite often and he's really cold one minute, nice the next. He seems to like to come to my rescue, but he's also not above throwing me out of the way when something more important comes along and catches his attention. He gave me a present which I really treasure-a locket-but the next time he saw me, he told me that it meant nothing to him and he was only giving it away on a whim. I've known him for months now and my friends say he's a bad guy, but I think he's good."
"He sounds like a real jerk," Her companion noted, thinking it was weird that Usagi had gotten into such an unhealthy relationship. "Is he your boyfriend?"
"Noooooo," She drew out the word hesitantly, and then bit her lip. "I wouldn't mind him asking me out, but I think I have a snowball's chance in hell." And he sure as hell didn't have any chance with her now after this stunt. It had become starkly clear just what she meant to him in the scheme of things.
Motoki laughed outright at that comment. Why didn't Usagi always talk this intelligently? Up till now, though he had known her for a few months, all he heard from her was moaning about Mamoru, excited over Manga or food or being annoyed about how horrible school was. "Give up on him." He suggested after a moment.
Usagi stared at him. "Huh? Give up on Tux-Mr Anonymous?" Could she really do that to the guy she had a crush on? But right now, she really didn't like him much at all.
Chucking a girl you've just rescued from a fate worse than death into the shrubbery, whilst you verbally spar with the floating cross-dresser from another dimension and brawl over a magical jewel, really put a damper on a relationship.
One could almost day that Tuxedo Kamen had his priorities all messed up on a major scale.
"Compared to Mr Anonymous, Mamoru is looking a lot more attractive," Motoki said rather slyly. She gave him an unimpressed look and he shrugged. "Well, you said Mamoru was the other guy who was the other jerk in your life."
"At least Mr. Anonymous is good eye-candy. Mamoru isn't!" The blonde blurted out, crossing her arms.
"I'm not eye-candy? Hmm, I'm not sure the women of Juuban would agree with you on that one, Odango Atama," A voice drawled into her ear, mouth brushing the sensitive skin of her ear.
Usagi screeched in surprise and jumped in her chair. She spun about as Mamoru slid into the stool next to her, looking as calm and well-dressed as usual. She had to give the jerk one point, he was a snappy dresser. Baring that hideous green jacket he occasionally wore.
He was also the last person in the world-other than Tuxedo Kamen-that the blonde wanted to see right now. She also wondered a little worriedly if he had overheard any of her conversation with Motoki. A look into his enigmatic expression told her nothing.
"Let's add 'insufferably arrogant' to that list you've been compiling of his faults, Usagi," Motoki smiled innocently at his best friend. Mamoru lived to annoy this girl, and it showed. He always seemed to show up whenever Usagi was bad-talking him.
"Don't get me started-not today," The Senshi of the Moon told Mamoru rather snappishly, turning her face away.
Mamoru brushed off some imaginary dust from his dark school jacket, drawing Usagi's attention to his muscled arms. And also the Azabu Institute of Technology emblem on his best pocket.
"What?" Mamoru queried, glancing down also.
She went alternately red with embarrassment at being caught ogling his very admittedly hot bod, then pale with realisation that he may very well have witnessed the battle earlier that day. "You uh, go to that school that was all over the news earlier," She questioned rather weakly. As if it weren't already glaringly obvious.
His lips pressed together. "Yeah, I go there." The upperclassman admitted, signalling to Motoki that he would kill for a coffee right about then. His deep blue eyes slid sideways to study the face of the blonde beside him. She seemed to be in some sort of distress and for a moment he wondered what on earth was bothering her. But then he realised just who he was concerned about and he dismissed it by looking away again. As if he really wanted to know what went on in that airhead's mind!
He had other problems to sort out, such as the fact that the Senshi had three of the Rainbow Crystals that he needed to acquire for the Moon Princess and that there was still two more out there inside Crystal Carriers. If only Mamoru could find them before the Senshi.
Motoki slid a steaming coffee over the counter to his friend and then looked at his face deep in thought. His eyes slid to Usagi's face and he surprised an almost identical look on her face. Wow, was this a day for deep thinking? The two worst enemies were sitting right next to each other almost companionably. Baring the fact that they were ignoring each other. The blonde man suppressed a smirk. In his opinion, Usagi and Mamoru were trying way too hard to hate each other. "Penny for your thoughts?" He murmured to them both.
Mamoru looked up a split-second faster than the blonde. "I was just thinking about how hard my studies are at the moment." He lied smoothly, really thinking that he wished he could see the image of the Princess in his dream without all that annoying fog. Was it really necessary to obscure her that much?
"I'm still thinking about how all men are creeps," Usagi replied, expression dark. She caught Mamoru's patiently-disbelieving look and she glared at him.
"You-having guy troubles? The world has ended. No, wait, this is candid TV," The dark-haired man said, looking about him with an expectant look on his face. Then he leaned in close to the blonde, invading her personal space, his eyes mocking. "Right, Odango?" Without realising, his eyes went to her small pink lips. At the moment they were parted in surprise. Her breath smelled sort of sweet. He frowned very slowly, struggling to keep his taunting expression intact.
The Senshi of the Moon repressed the need to rapidly back away from his face, which was only a few centimetres away. He was way too close, and could probably see the panic she was feeling in being in such close proximity. It unnerved her when Mamoru got into her personal space. Her heart sped up and she started to stammer. It was annoying!
For the first time ever, the blonde laid hands on her worst enemy, shoving at his chest so that he sat back away from her. His expression became surprised and she quickly snatched her hands away as if they were burnt. "You're hot!" She blurted out, remarking on how warm his skin had felt through his shirt.
Motoki made a choked sort of noise as they recalled what she had said.
Usagi's face had gone a really fascinating shade of crimson, Mamoru noted. He was at first completely stunned by her words, but quickly realised what she was referring to. The blonde had never touched him before, and he doubted that she had really had much contact with the male sex. She had seemed surprised by how warm he felt, which really made him wonder if her family gave her hugs at all. "I'm hot?" He repeated, a wicked smile spreading across his lips. "You're finally admitting it?"
"Your chest is warm!" The Senshi of the Moon spluttered, hands going to her burning cheeks. She soon took refuge in anger and her eyes sparked at him. "You know exactly what I mean Chiba Mamoru."
"Naturally," He said in an infuriating manner. His glance at her face was superior. "Unlike you, I have very good grades." It was equally fascinating watching the blood drain from someone's face, leaving it pale with anger.
Sometimes he felt very detached and didn't have the usual warm feelings others had for each other. Was he really planning on becoming a doctor with that sort of sociopathic thinking? Mamoru sighed and shrugged mentally. He could blame it on his childhood that had left him with a lack of warm emotions, and sometimes an emotionless shell.
Who else could have thrown Sailor Moon into a bush while retrieving a Rainbow Crystal and pounding the lights out of Zoisite?
"Oooh," Usagi growled at him. He was so, so-she couldn't even think of a word for him right then. So she drew her leg back and kicked him in the knee. He swore and glared, which really made her day. She felt a lot better in the long run. "So Motoki," The blonde said, picking up their conversation from earlier. "What is your opinion on a guy who acts like he sort of likes you, then tosses you into a bush while he goes to get into a fight with another guy?"
Motoki whistled through his teeth in amazement. "Seriously? He did that to you? Wow, no wonder you don't like guys right now."
"I like you," Usagi said sweetly, pointedly ignoring the jerk at her side.
Mamoru frowned, getting an inkling that what he had done to Sailor Moon wasn't a very nice thing. She might not forgive him. "And how do you feel about him now? You liked him before, right?" He asked the blonde.
The girl sniffed as if the question was beneath notice, but then she turned her body towards him so that their legs brushed. She didn't seem to notice that she was practically between his legs. "Are you joking, or just socially retarded?" She retorted, eyes flashing. "I have a crush on the guy, for what it's worth, and I trusted him. You shove a girl into the shrubbery so you can duke it out with another guy, and she's going to be really pissed at you. Excuse the french." She muttered when she realised that she had sworn.
Motoki waved a hand about in a forgiving manner. "I've heard worse."
"I should wash your mouth out with soap!" Mamoru was not as forgiving. He had been brought up in an orphanage, and the nuns meted out rapped knuckles and inflicted horrible tasting bars of soap when someone swore like that.
"I said sorry!" She said defensively, getting up from her stool and backing away as if he would really do it. Mamoru looked really angry at her. She looked at the ground sheepishly. "Well, gotta run. I have to go home and do homework." She was surprised when the dark-haired man didn't even make a crack over that one. Something like 'You? Doing homework Odango?' What did she need with the real Mamoru when the one inside her head supplied sarcastic quips she knew he would generally have responded with?
Mamoru and Motoki watched her leave and then the upperclassman picked up his coffee and took a sip. It was going cold now and he realised with shock that he had been so caught up in his verbal battle with Usagi that he had completely forgotten his favourite beverage. The brat! "You think she really has a boyfriend, or just someone who lets her hang around him because he knows she has a crush?" He murmured to Motoki.
His best friend smiled. "Depends on what bothers you the most. The thought of Usagi liking another guy, or Usagi actually dating a guy." He watched the dark-haired man's expression go from bemused to concerned, then angered, then back to bemusement. Mamoru might not be admitting it, but he did like the Odango Atama somewhere inside. Motoki's bets were on his best friend not liking either of those facts.
"Couldn't care less," Mamoru said finally, gulping down the rest of the coffee with an expressionless face. He took out his wallet and slid some money over the counter to his friend. But still...it bothered him greatly that someone had done to Usagi what he had done to Sailor Moon. Only the fact that their stories were similar, of course, another that Sailor Moon most likely now hated his guts. He didn't care that she was crushing on some boy and that the boy had used her callously. No, not at all.
All the same, he left the Arcade with a scowl on his face that made people avoid him like the plague.