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By Princess Destiny
[ Reviews - 19]

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Prologue


Tuxedo Kamen groaned slightly, reaching up a gloved hand to lightly touch his forehead. It stung and he just KNEW there was going to be a huge bruise there, come morning. He should have been more careful-but as other fights recently, he had been distracted more and more by the golden-haired heroine on Juuban. Sailor Moon. She was clumsy, in an adorable way. Her heart was large too. He had witnessed her blindly throw herself between one of the Senshi and danger. She was pretty too... ["No, beautiful"] he amended in the halls of his mind, lips twisting slightly into a slight smile. Sailor Moon was without a doubt, the most delicious child. His lips drooped into a grimace, blue eyes shadowing behind the half-mask covering the top of his face and hiding his features. ["A child...yes. It's a shame that she is so young. Really"] he sighed deeply, looking out over Juuban with a wistfulness barely hidden in his features.

And there was the Princess to consider too. The illusive girl who haunted his dreams nightly, begging for a silver crystal. He tried his best, fought Zoisite and any Youma she sent his way-but also, he had an overwhelming need to protect the girl called Sailor Moon. Sometimes, it was SUCH a need, that he had blindly sought to save her from her clumsiness, even in such a manner as she herself had protected her Senshi. Without a doubt, he was a fool. "Fortunes fool" he snorted derisively, pulling his long cloak about his body as the chill winds of the night sought to freeze his body. It was winter, yet the city was still beautiful. The lights from houses, street-lights and boats far out into the harbor lit up the city like a Christmas tree. Tuxedo Kamen grinned. Soon, it WOULD be Christmas. "And you're a sucker for it, aren't you, Kamen?" he sighed, tempted to roll his eyes. There was just something undeniable about Christmas time. All the joyous faces of the children, the tolerant delight of the parents as they indulged and the general good-will of all.

Despite the fact that his parents were long gone, Mamoru still loved Christmas. He spent them alone, or with Motoki and his sister. But still, sometimes he felt loneliness. A-longing to share his feelings and love with someone. Someone. Tuxedo Kamen shook his head, wincing as the movement reminded him of his aching head. He'd been stupid that night, only half an hour ago. While cramming for a test, his blood began to sing in that wonderful feeling of warning and joy that announced to his entire being that Sailor Moon was in danger. Promptly , he had dropped everything and transformed, heading out into the crispness of the night air to protect her. Arriving at the appointed time-which was at the last mjintue in order to save Sailor Moon from certain death-Tuxedo Kamen had valiently thrown the obligitory rose between his beautiful child and the latest Youma Zoisite had sent them. Then, the heroine squeeling in his ear with surprise, he had swept her into his arms and out of harms way. But he had been too slow that night. Too enamoured of a pair of deep blue eyes so close to his own.

Tuxedo Kamen, having deposited Sailor Moon on her feet a safe distance away, turned back to face the Youma-only to discover that the creature had followed close by. Before the Senshi's horrified eyes, the Youma had lashed out, catching Tuxedo Kamen across the temple brutally with its arm. He fell like a bag of bricks, eyes blacking over and head exploding in agony. He vaguely head Sailor Moon scream in rage and worry, then the heroine called out her trademark elimination and the Youma was vanquished before Tuxedo kamen could see straigt. Sailor Moon's arms had slid about his waist as she helped him to his feet and he had stared down into her eyes in perplexity. Wasn't HE supposed to protect HER? No the otherway around? He'd grinned at her faintly, moved away and then disappeared into the night, leaving her staring.

And that was that. Tuxedo Kamen shook his head again, then turned and leapt from the top of his appatment roof to the balcony of his rooms below. He staggered as he touched down on the balcony, reeling a little. His vision was blacking over-and he realised belatedly, that his wound was perhaps worse than he had thought. He managed to slid open the glass door and staggered into the lounge room, before everything swum sickeningly. He felt himself falling, but was unable to raise his arms to save himself. Surprisingly, hitting the carpetted floor did not feel as painful as it ought to have. Mamoru's eyes closed helplessly as darkness rushed in.


Motoki strode up to the door, arms full of books and a jar off coffee. He was aware that Mamoru had probably pulled an all-nighter for the test on Fri, but it WAS 9:00 in the morning. And Motoki had a business to run! "Hello, hello! Sleepy-head?!" Motoki yelled through the door, banging on it loudly with a book. There was a silence and he frowned, putting one ear to the wood. From within, there was no sound. Motoki pulled back his face and frowned at the door in worry. Mamoru might have been exhausted, but he was also a light sleeper and would have heard Motoki clearly. "Okay-" Motoki muttered, juggling the books and coffee into his left arm, he felt around in his shirt pocket and pulled out a key. He fitted it into the lock and swung the door open. Bright sunlight spilled cheerfully down the hall, which felt ominously empty.

Motoki's lips thinned. He casually dumped the books and coffee on the side table just inside the door, noting that Mamoru's keys were present there. So-he had to be home. {"Right? I hope he's okay. He really studies too hard"] Motoki ran a hand through his hair and started down the hall, eyes seeking his friend. The first thing he spotted was the open glass door of the balcony, the curtains blowing freely into the apartment. Then, he saw the figure slumped on the floor, slightly behind the couch. Motokl exclaimed in horror, running over to the figure. His top-hat had fallen from the dark hair and lay at an angle, which the cloak covered his body like a shroud. Motoki's blood chilled and he swiftly reached out to turn over the figure. "Mamoru? Are you okay?" he asked anxiously, removing the white half-mask. Mamoru's face was sheet-white. On his forehead, there was a large black bruise. Nasty-looking. Motoki carefully checked his friend's pulse and was reassured by the steady beating. He sighed, looking around the room. ["Oh Mamoru. You weren't so careful, were you, my friend?"] he thought, biting his lip.

It had been about a month since Mamoru had confessed his secret to Motoki. And he was still surprised about it. His quiet, self-assured friend was protector to Sailor Moon. "It looks like you got into quite a fight, hmm?" He sighed at his friend, then carefully dug his hands under the prone form. He staggered to his feet, wincing at the weight. Motoki made his way, weaving from side to side like a drunkard, until he reached Mamoru's bed. Promptly, he set the larger man down with gentleness and arranged Mamoru into a more comfortable pose. "I have to go to work, Mamoru. Wake up?" Motoki said, lifting one of Mamoru's eyelids and peering at the dilated pupil with shock. Mamoru was suffering from a concussion and ought to be in the hospital. And he was in no state to be left alone. Motoki sat down hard on the floor beside the bed, eyes filled with concern and thought. He scratched absently at his chin. "Hmm. I can get someone else to take over the arcade-but Mamoru needs constant care...Maybe I should call a doctor?" he bite his lip. But then, the doctor would find out Mamoru's secret identity!

"I could take off his tuxedo, I guess" Motoki said doubtfully, eyeing his unconscious friend. Mamoru had once told him that he healed much quicker as Tuxedo Kamen. Besides, Motoki had NO idea how to make his friend de-transform. But the most important thing was not Tuxedo Kamen's real identity at that moment-his friend could be in severe shock. A coma. Surely, his secret was not worth his death? Motoki was very-much aware that some people had died from shock. And if Mamoru was to go into a coma-he might never emerge. "What can I DO?" Motoki cried out, wringing his hands together. Mamoru NEEDED medical attention! A thought abruptly occured to him and he got to his feet shakily. There was one person in all of Juuban who could successfully heal his friend. Sailor Moon! "But how do I find her?" Motoki glanced down at Mamoru dismally. How on earth was he going to FIND Sailor Moon in all of Juuban?



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