a Sailormoon fanfiction by Dejana Talis
-not to be used without permission-
Written to fill a plothole pointed out by blueshimmer in the "Moonie Pet Peeves" forum on ASMR.
Mamoru stood in the Tokyo International Airport, gazing out of the large windows at the dance of the airplanes. A design of runways and roadways spread out before him, upon which the great metal birds coasted in their carefully-scheduled patterns. To his right, a plane sat at its gate, waiting to receive the passengers it would carry off to parts unknown. Vacations, visits, business trips; no matter the journey, every airplane on the field represented beginnings and endings. It was with a bittersweet feeling in his heart that Mamoru considered this. In a short while he would be leaving his native Japan for America.
His luggage was tagged and checked and hopefully being loaded on Mamoru's plane at that very moment. He never needed much to carry on, not even on long trips. If he didn't have papers to work on or a textbook to read, Mamoru was perfectly content to entertain himself by looking out the airplane windows at the beautiful blue-green world he protected. He needed no other distraction when he had the opportunity to watch the clouds from above as they gave shade and rain to his planet. The only items he had with him were his satchel, which he currently carried over his left shoulder, and a red velvet box in his pocket.
The minutes were slipping by. Would she come?
His hand was in his pocket, turning the small box over and over again with his fingers. It contained a rosy-pink heart-shaped stone in a silver setting. A promise ring. He'd bought it as soon as he'd made the decision to go to America to study, intending it to reassure Usagi that he would come back to her, that they would not be separated forever. They'd had plenty of time together since then, but the box was still in his pocket, unopened. Perfect moments had come and passed, but something always stopped Mamoru from giving it to her.
It wasn't that he didn't love her. In the beginning, Mamoru had worried that what he felt for Usagi was just an echo of an ancient devotion, the bond they shared as reincarnations of long-dead lovers, but he had long since learned that was not true. It wasn't a princess in a white dress he loved, it was a bubbly girl with blonde hair who loved her friends and their planet more than she loved herself. There wasn't a thing in the world Mamoru wouldn't do for Usagi, no sacrifice he was unwilling to make.
That was it, really. Youma and supernatural beings of pure evil aside, when it came to their normal lives, it seemed as if Mamoru was forever putting Usagi first. He was there when she needed him, he supported her in all her little adventures, he looked the other way when she gushed over the various men who flitted in and out of her life. When the day's drama was all over and done, Mamoru was always there, waiting. Usagi had no reason to doubt he would still be hers when he returned from America.
He wanted to believe the same about her. It wasn't that he doubted her devotion. He was certain she loved him as deeply and truly as he loved her. Still, as the recent days passed and he drew closer and closer to making his first selfish decision in three years, something inside him demanded a bit of extra reassurance. When the tables were turned and it was Mamoru choosing what was best for him over their relationship, would he have Usagi's support? He had to admit he had half-expected her to insist he stay in Tokyo, but she had accepted his decision without complaint. Although he knew it was tearing her up inside, she had not objected to his choice. Mamoru had never imagined he could love her more strongly than he already did, until that moment.
Yet there was one final test. One more measure he had to take, before he openly promised himself to her forever.
The velvet covering of the ring box was soft against his fingers. He turned it over and over almost obsessively, its rounded corners somehow shaping his thoughts. Usagi had school today. They had said their goodbyes earlier, anticipating that she would not be able to see him off at the moment of his departure. Mamoru fully expected to walk to his gate alone.
Still, hidden under all the certainty was a faint glimmer of hope. They were about to be separated for a very long time. Until recently, Mamoru would've considered that far more important than school. Did Usagi? Was her love as deep as his, that she would do anything for a few more final moments with him? Would she choose Mamoru over school?
If she did, he'd know he would always be first in her life, as she was in his. He'd know that she loved him above all things. He'd know that he could promise to be hers forever, and be secure in the knowledge that she would keep the same promise to him. He'd know that he could go to America and she'd still be there for him when he got back. He could give her the promise ring without any hesitation. And if she didn't show up, he'd just save the ring for another time. There was no hurry. It would just take a bit more time before he'd be sure.
"New Japan Airlines to New York," a voice announced over the loudspeaker system. "All passengers should proceed to the departure gate."
"It's time," Mamoru muttered to himself. He shrugged, trying not to feel disappointed. He still had faith in Usagi. She was just being the responsible girl he'd always encouraged her to be by putting her studies first. Still, there were few things lonelier than not having anyone to say goodbye to before getting on an airplane. He turned away from the window.
There she was, standing only a few strides away to his right.
"Usako!" Mamoru was a bit taken aback; Usagi hadn't shouted out to him or run toward him, she just stood there quietly with her hands clasped in front of her, and her cheeks were dry. She looked up at him and walked forward, calmer than he had ever seen her outside of a battle. With every step she took toward Mamoru his heart grew warmer and warmer. He had been given the opportunity to see the sunshine one more time before he left it behind. By the time Usagi reached him, he was smiling.
"I thought you weren't coming today because of school-"
"I'll be waiting!" Usagi burst out.
The background noise of the airport faded away as Mamoru just stared at her for a moment, startled.
"I'll be waiting for you," she repeated, more calmly.
How had she known exactly what he needed to hear? Mamoru had always been careful to keep his selfish doubts to himself, to prevent himself from hurting her with his insecurity, yet here she was, right when he needed her, saying exactly what he had hoped she would. Her eyes were still dry. When had she developed such self-control? Mamoru hated to dash whatever hope might be holding her together, but he knew he had to warn her that she would be on her own for quite some time. It would take a while to settle in after he got to America, and he couldn't be sure that he'd have time to write.
"For the time being, I will be so busy that I won't contact you so often," he said carefully, watching for her reaction. There were still no tears. As Mamoru looked at her now, he was hard-pressed to remember the flighty girl who sobbed when she scraped her knee. When had she gotten so mature?
"That's all right," Usagi replied. Her hands were beginning to tremble, but she held them clenched tightly and remained strong. "I'll write to you every day! So..."
Now her voice broke. Tears welled up in the bright blue eyes Mamoru knew so well and rolled down her cheeks. Here was the Usagi he knew and loved. He couldn't help but smile. His beloved crybaby was still in there, but it was clear now that she had grown into a mature young woman, ready and willing to face the challenge of being separated from her one true love. The separation hurt Usagi as much as it hurt Mamoru, but she was willing to support it if that was what he truly wanted. She loved him more than she loved being with him.
"Oh no; I planned to see you off with a smile today." Usagi still didn't break down, but calmly wiped the tears away.
Mamoru knew now that there could never be anyone more worthy of his most sincere promise.
He pulled the red velvet box out of his pocket and held it out to her, smiling. Now that the moment had arrived, he was glad he had waited. Never in his two lifetimes had he loved anyone more deeply than he loved Usagi right now. There could be no more perfect moment than this.
Usagi took the box from his hand, wide-eyed. Mamoru had to bite his lips to keep from grinning broadly; clearly she had not expected anything like this. The pink stone sparkled in the light as she lifted the lid of the box.
"Mamo-chan! This is..."
The phrase ended in a disbelieving gasp and trailed off, and she stared up at him, utterly surprised. It was just too adorable for Mamoru to bear; his energetic beloved at a complete loss for words and frozen in the moment. Bending down, Mamoru set his satchel on the floor, pulled the ring out of its cushioned box and slipped it on Usagi's unresisting hand. She blushed when the circle of silver slid home, a perfect fit on her ring finger.
"I love you, Usako."
These words seemed to lift the spell. Usagi's face broke into a wide-open grin, and she flung herself forward into Mamoru's waiting arms. Her familiar warmth was pressed against him, her blonde-haired head finding its usual place at the center of his chest, and Mamoru closed his eyes briefly to treasure the feeling. Now he almost wished he wasn't leaving at all. He had found his beloved princess once and for all, and just at the moment when he'd finally confirmed it, he had to leave her.
"Thank you," Usagi said quietly from somewhere near his elbow. "I'll treasure it."
Mamoru knew that she would.
She lifted her face away from him, and they stared at each other for a moment. Even after three years there was always a brief pause while their souls communicated. Then the kiss happened by itself. They both leaned toward each other in perfect synchronization, their eyes sliding closed at exactly the same time, their lips meeting at a point precisely between them as Usagi raised herself on her toes and Mamoru bent his neck down to meet her.
It was magic.
She always tasted of sweet sunshine. Mamoru held the kiss as long as he dared, relishing the warmth of Usagi's lips beneath his, the velvet red softness that far surpassed the box that was now in her hand. It would be a long time before he could experience this feeling again, but it would always be his, waiting for him when he came home. The last test had been passed and he had no reason to fear or doubt anything anymore.
They belonged only and always to each other. Forever.
Bishoujo Senshi Sailormoon and its associated characters and canon are the property of Naoko Takeuchi and Kodansha.