2014-05-20 - Endymion, Do Not Weep

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Title: Endymion, Do Not Weep

Usagi and Mamoru have been piling up a huge stack of unaddressed issues and reactions and emotions. They have trouble communicating. This should surprise no one.


Usagi Tsukino, Mamoru Chiba


Mamoru's apartment~~

OOC - IC Date:

17 January 2014 - 5/20/14

<Pose Tracker> Usagi Tsukino [Juuban Public School (8)] has posed.

/(=' - '=)\~USAGI: We have to talk

/(=' - '=)\~USAGI: I mean we don't have to but we should

/(=' - '=)\~USAGI: No I mean

/(=' - '=)\~USAGI: Nevermind

<Pose Tracker> Mamoru Chiba [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

@};--,--`--~MAMOCHAN: no i want to

@};--,--`--~MAMOCHAN: where can we go that zoisite won't show up? because god

@};--,--`--~MAMOCHAN: btw i found out that's his name

@};--,--`--~MAMOCHAN: uh anyway we should and i can now, if you can

<Pose Tracker> Usagi Tsukino [Juuban Public School (8)] has posed.

/(=' - '=)\~USAGI: Um how about the arcade

/(=' - '=)\~USAGI: Wait that's been attacked by youma three times

/(=' - '=)\~USAGI: Thinking

Usagi considers. Her cheeks flush red. This is the part where the heroine sneakily invites the boy to someplace romantic. She puts her phone face down and considers what is wrong in her life.

/(=' - '=)\~USAGI: I don't know, can't he teleport

<Pose Tracker> Mamoru Chiba [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

@};--,--`--~MAMOCHAN: presumably

@};--,--`--~MAMOCHAN: but he probably followed me, i also found out he was going to ohtori

@};--,--`--~MAMOCHAN: so i guess it's a stupid question. how about someplace defensible?

Oblivious boy is oblivious. Defensible. Defensible.

@};--,--`--~MAMOCHAN: nevermind, i can't be paranoid about it or i'll never go anywhere. pick wherever you like.

<Pose Tracker> Usagi Tsukino [Juuban Public School (8)] has posed.

Usagi looks away while she writes the words.






<Pose Tracker> Mamoru Chiba [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

This is the part where it's entirely Mamoru's turn to stare at his phone. Something something impropriety something. But-- Usagi suggested it, he didn't, so it must be okay. Unless she doesn't know it's improper. Except that doesn't seem like the kind of thing she wouldn't know.

Maybe she suggested it because it's improper.

NO WAY. Obviously it's just considerate because he's worried about being followed. Decision made!

@};--,--`--~MAMOCHAN: okay. did luna tell you where it is or do you need the address?

<Pose Tracker> Usagi Tsukino [Juuban Public School (8)] has posed.

She needs the address.

One bike ride later, Usagi Tsukino makes her way down the hall to Mamoru Chiba's apartment. She's barely paid attention to how nice the building is. Too much of her attention is focused inward, where she is berating herself for creating this situation in the first place.

She passes the door without realizing it. That's another thirty seconds of chastising. Then, another ten while she gathers the boldness to knock.

Knock knock.

<Pose Tracker> Mamoru Chiba [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

Was he waiting by the door? He can't have been waiting by the door. Yet-- it opens less than two seconds after Usagi knocks, and there's Mamoru in all kinds of unreadable glory. He's as casually well-dressed as he ever is when not in uniform: dark green button-down with a Chinese collar over a light brown shirt with some sort of internet-designer print on it, not-quite-skinny jeans, very overpriced shoes. The fact that he changes out of his uniform into clothes like that in order to stay at home by himself probably says something about him.

He smiles at Usagi because he can't help it, automatically stepping back and opening the door wider, gesturing the blonde in.

It's such a spacious place, airy and spotless, and the sun streams in through the tall picture windows and the wide doors to the balcony. The view of the city is breathtaking. It looks like a picture from a magazine, and also very much like no one actually lives there--

--only, it has his scent, and there are roses growing in a planter by the balcony, inside for the winter; there are bookshelves upon bookshelves; there's homework spread out all over a table with his laptop. Still and all, the biggest impression it'd give to anyone seeing it for the first time would be one of emptiness.

"Do you like coffee?" he asks like a reasonable person, "or would you like something else? I think I have some lotus cakes left--"

<Pose Tracker> Usagi Tsukino [Juuban Public School (8)] has posed.

The door opens faster than Usagi expects. As a result, Mamoru finds her leaning slightly backward, eyes wide and lips parted.

Every thought leaves her because the moment comes rushing in all at once. Where she's standing, who's standing there before her, the smile he's saved for her, the fact that he obviously got dressed up just for this--why else would he be wearing that so soon after school when he's staying home?

This means Usagi is standing there, frozen, for several seconds. She's still in her uniform. It's funny how the brooch on her bow is so obvious now.


A few seconds more.

"I like... coffee," she confirms. Her knuckles have turned white from how tightly she is gripping her schoolbag.

<Pose Tracker> Mamoru Chiba [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

Found out. Or, quite possibly, he really does just always get changed right after school.

oblivious to the effect you have on the people around you

He could be awkward here, or he could be smooth, or he could be polite and just gloss past the fact that Usagi's nervous and staring; he's not sure which tack to take, so he falls back on the one he's used to, the one that he's developed so studiously for so long. Option three. "Okay," he says mildly, then

being too distant can hurt just as much as being too close

reaches out to lightly touch the girl's shoulder, to gently encourage her into his home with the same casual familiarity that he's used with her before. "Come on in, I'll make you a cup. We can go in the kitchen."

He wanted to talk to her, too. Why can't he say any of the things he wanted to say? His friends told him to just talk to her. To be honest. But how can he be honest if he's not even honest with himself?

There's not contact for very long, however warm and unshakeably solid it might be, however electric it could feel with the tension already in the air. He pulls back to start for the kitchen, leaving the door open.

<Pose Tracker> Usagi Tsukino [Juuban Public School (8)] has posed.

Mamoru has to work to maintain that contact. When he touches Usagi's shoulder, her tension leaves her. Her shoulders slump, but she leans back forward. A tiny sigh escapes her lips as she remembers to breathe.

He has applied the teachings of the Council of Girls well.

But nothing is perfect, and soon Usagi's cheeks redden and she looks away, pouting down the hall because it's not Mamoru she wants to pout at. He gets several steps toward the kitchen before the door closes, signaling that Usagi is following.

Normally, this is the sort of place that would make Usagi feel too excited to contain herself. It looks like something out of a magazine, and here she is, standing in the pages. The melancholy is too great. The emptiness, his emptiness--the emptiness he spoke of to Luna. She stops in the living room, head lowered, biting her lip. Now's not a good time to cry, but she very much wants to.

<Pose Tracker> Mamoru Chiba [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

Following! Following is great! Mamoru gets all the way into the kitchen and and starts to say something, "So I'm not sure how limited 'limited communicator'--" before he realizes that he lost Usagi somewhere along the route. He looks back out the kitchen door, eyebrows up. "Yo. Odango. I'm going to put orange juice in your coffee unless you come in here and tell me how you want it."

The kitchen is warmer, more lived-in. It's painted in sunny summer colors, as opposed to the cool blues and light greys of the living room, and it looks like it sees daily use. It's only almost spotless, and it has many things that belong in kitchens-- they may be painstakingly organized to the point of the spices in the spice rack having all the labels aligned to face exactly the same way, but not everything's full, and the refrigerator does have notes on it, and the magnets are nerdy where they're not plain.

The notes are boring. The calendar has the dates of tests and exams and club meetings and study groups on it, and interesting meteorological events are circled in red. No matter how he presents himself in public or in private, his living space tells as much about him as Usagi's room says about her.

Mamoru doesn't wait for Usagi to come in before he keeps talking, he just keeps his voice louder until she's closer. "Anyway-- how do you tell if Luna's mad at you? No, that's not what I wanted to ask. Well, not first. I think I figured out the answer to what I wanted to ask you about when Zoisite attacked. Also, Zoisite's the redheaded girl who yelled at you at the Christmas party in Sapporo. That was his disguise."

That's not what he wanted to say, either. Resolutely, he pours Usagi a cup of coffee.

<Pose Tracker> Usagi Tsukino [Juuban Public School (8)] has posed.

The orange juice threat gets silence.

In the living room, Usagi lifts her head. She does not have herself under control, but she wants to see the room. It's blurry. She's not being as stoic as she thought.

How empty everything is. How much space there is for one person. One person. Usagi wipes her eyes and presses her lips thin until the sensation passes.

She is only a little red-faced when she enters the kitchen, fussing with her skirt to focus on something else. The warm colors make her feel better. Ami said that sort of thing is a trick your brain plays on you, but Usagi is glad in this case. While Mamoru is speaking, she moves closer, and closer, until she is standing right next to him.

"When Luna's mad with me she tells me," Usagi murmurs, quiet but near enough to be heard. "A lot. I like cream and sugar. A lot of that, too."

<Pose Tracker> Mamoru Chiba [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

Not just the orange juice threat, but also the nickname. Concerns, filed away, glossed past again: there's no way she'll feel comfortable if Mamoru calls attention to her silence, her hesitance. That she's upset is no surprise; he approached this talk with that assumption in the back of his mind. He doesn't know why.

No, he does. Thinks he does. Thinks that Mai and Eri were right.

the effect you have on the people around you

Why is it that he has no trouble running to Sailor Moon, has no trouble offering a safe space to cry over Ami, has no trouble with Usagi's emotions-- until he thinks it's about him?

But then she's right up close to him, next to him, and she's the one going past half the things he's saying; maybe she knows he's just saying them to fill the air with words. He looks down at her as he sets the coffeepot back on the counter-- so close. That in itself steadies him. He smiles at Usagi a little lopsidedly, but the corners of his eyes crinkle; it's real, it's full of all of the things he isn't saying, can't say, won't say.

"Good to know," he says, and his voice is quiet too, but it's also amused. "I thought she might have stalked off because she was mad at me, but she was probably just mad at Orpheus." Sliding the sugar bowl over to the coffee cup, the older boy doesn't bother willing himself not to touch Usagi again: he puts his hand on her back, lightly, and hesitates for a second.

The cream is in the refrigerator.

He doesn't move.

Instead, he leans down a little, hand slipping to the shoulder on the far side of him. "Usako. Will you tell me if you're mad with me?"

<Pose Tracker> Usagi Tsukino [Juuban Public School (8)] has posed.

It's not conscious, what Usagi decides to hear and what she decides to talk about. Not right now. She is led by her heart, and maybe it knows what Mamoru means to say better than he can say it.

She looks pointedly at the coffee. It is very easy, because she is so short. The counter top is the right height. Still, when Mamoru stops his work to smile down at her, she sees it in his hands and slyly, just in the corner of her eyes, glances up at him.

A moment. There's coffee to look at and blushes to hide. The sugar is a welcome distraction, and so Usagi dumps two spoonfuls of sugar into her cup before becoming petrified.

His hand

on her

and that familiar feeling.

Usagi drops the spoon.

Animated by someone that is not herself, she turns to face the tall boy, her breath fragile and her shoulders trembling. She wants to lean in. She doesn't know if it's the right thing to do, and she doesn't know if it's what her heart really wishes, but right now, she wants to. She leans in, lips parting--


--just inches away--

"--I'm mad at you."

Usagi's sky-blue eyes don't leave Mamoru's. She breathes in sharply, surprised by her own words. Her next few come lightly, quiet, and stilted.

"I mean... I might be mad at you... but I don't think I am... because of a friend. She said she kissed you."

The blonde girl turns her head, gazing toward the floor with downcast eyes. "I don't care about that. I care about her."

<Pose Tracker> Mamoru Chiba [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

There's a moment-- that connection--

--and Mamoru's eyes don't leave Usagi's, either, not even when she breaks it. She's mad at him. He waits for the explanation, and he isn't disappointed, and his hand comes away from her shoulder. Not stung, but cold, his blood's run cold.

She already said something to him about la Sirene, said she was a nice person, and that conversation's over with.

There's only one person Usagi could be talking about.

"She did. She kissed me," he says, turning away and going to the fridge. He opens it and bends down a little, fishing around, and comes up with a pint of cream-- probably for cooking; he always gets his coffee black. "She said she was True Feelings. She looked like she wanted a fight, but we talked a bit instead. She said she didn't want to fight alone. We talked about you a little. And then she kissed me out of nowhere."

He's come back, but his voice is falling flat, the words matter-of-fact and the tone almost brittle. He's come back and he's put the cream on the counter next to the coffee, and then he turns away again to do something. The kitchen is clean, he has nothing to tidy. Normally, he'd be taking a break from his homework about now, putting something together for supper.

That's something to do. Mamoru does that. He starts mechanically taking things out of cabinets so his hands are doing something so they don't shake.

She kissed him out of nowhere and it hurt.

"I didn't want her to, but I had no warning. And I--"

Eri already knows. Mai already knows. They won't tell, he knows they won't tell. But-- he never even thinks before touching Usagi. Not before today, anyway. She won't believe him if he tells her. And if she does, wouldn't that be worse? But if she finds out, either from someone else or the hard way, wouldn't that be the worst?

It doesn't have to be today.

"--I was so startled. I wasn't very happy, but I didn't yell at her. She was obviously hurting. I just-- I pulled away, we talked some more. I told her I wasn't interested, because even if she was hurting, it wouldn't be right to let her think I was, if I'm not."

The boy's hands stop moving, flat on the countertop; he looks down at them. They're not shaking, they're not white. He's over it. He's over the well of broken hate the unwelcome contact brought shrieking through his mind.

No he's not. Not thinking about something doesn't mean it's over. True Feelings hurt him, and she's Usagi's friend.

He's not too far away; he's as still as though he were carved from granite, shoulders tight, face set in an impassive mask.

"I told her she couldn't have a better friend than you. I was right," he finally says.

<Pose Tracker> Usagi Tsukino [Juuban Public School (8)] has posed.

It's a terrible story. It's a terrible thing to hear about a friend. It doesn't answer any questions. Shiori is still gone, and what she said is as stark and sharp as it ever was.

Mamoru can feel when Sailor Moon is in danger. When it happens, her heart shines too bright to ignore. Is it when she fears for her life? That seems sensible. It explains the situations where Tuxedo Mask is called on.

Those final, flat words leave his lips, and then Sailor Moon's heart shines bright.

Usagi crashes into Mamoru's side without grace, heedless of anything but the need to embrace him. There's not enough of her to hurt him, but there is enough for her to wrap her arms around his waist and bury her face against his shirt.

"Mamo-chan, I'm not mad at you! I'm not mad at you!" she sobs.

It's a terrible thing to hear about a friend. No matter what Mamoru Chiba may be, he is at least a friend.

<Pose Tracker> Mamoru Chiba [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

Startlement is too tame a word by oceans, by continents, for the feeling Mamoru has when Usagi's heart ignites in his awareness. He's stunned, and he's only just starting to turn his head to look up when the tiny girl impacts.

For a heartbeat, he's frozen in place with one hand still on the counter, steadying him.

Then time hiccups back into motion, lumbering with the continuity of aeons and measured by the ticking of second-hands, and the tall boy wraps his arms around Usagi. Wraps his arms around her, bends down, practically envelops her with his embrace--

The brilliance of her heart, the name she gives him, how tightly she's holding him; her face in his shirt...

her radiant and boundless love

the soldier who embraces all

a lifeline.

It's unlike the last time. The last time, she was the one who was hurting, and he held her to try and keep it back, to try and soothe, to try and give her something level and solid. This time, it's Mamoru who's adrift, and it's Usagi who's anchoring him with the fierceness of her feelings.

So bright, she's so bright, and it hurts against the chill and pain that thinking about Shiori brought, but it's the good kind of hurt. The healing kind. A filling up of emptiness, a completion where there was nothing to protect against the wounds Shiori's heart inflicted. That feeling--

After a very long moment where he can't let go, he whispers against her hair because he can't trust his voice. "Usa." A heartbeat. "Usako. That makes me very happy. I'm so glad."

<Pose Tracker> Usagi Tsukino [Juuban Public School (8)] has posed.

There is an Usagi who is outside this moment, looking in. She is nervous. Mamoru has been so many things to her. He runs hot and cold, near and far, plain and mysterious. She can't believe that someone like him could be so abrasive and mean, but also understand her like no one else she has ever met. Which is true? Which is a feeling?

She can't say. If she tries to find out, she may lose other dreams. There is a boy out there who is so close to her despite living in another world, and a girl who is everything Usagi admires. Which should she hold on to? Are the others slipping away because of what she is doing now?

There is also an Usagi in this moment. She is wrapped up in it all and far too warm to pay attention to the alarm. She feels like she's been crying for hours. She's exhausted. Mamoru's past, his present, his parents and Shiori Takatsuki, Zoisite and Luna. The weight of those things is tiring for someone as small as Usagi. Yet, she is relieved. She's accepted it, and now that the burden is a part of her, it weighs nothing at all.

And then there is--

Princess Serenity runs her fingers through her prince's hair. It's not as black as space. As black as night. That color is so much more warm.

"Endymion, do not weep," she says. Her voice is mellifluous and weightless. It does not fit what has happened, but that is her way. It is one of the alien things that set some of the court on edge.

Her touch is warm, but not like a human. The warmth is a feeling on the inside. It's a glow, like she glows. Maybe it is her glow, reaching through her and into him. "It is taught that everyone will be reborn when they return to the beginning of all things. If you want to see someone again..."

There is a knock at the door. It is time to go. The funeral procession begins outside the city walls, and the prince must be there to meet it at the gates. Serenity does not look. Instead, she slips her pale hands under his chin and lifts his face to see hers. This smile is for him alone.

"...you only have to wait."

--Usagi Tsukino squeezes her eyes shut. She doesn't know what to feel for herself, but it isn't her that matters right now. Mamoru Chiba is happy, and so is she. Happy enough to cry.