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Mamoru's First Dances

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Hesitation wasn’t something Mamoru was good at. He knew when not to run into trouble, but when he had made up his mind it was something he wouldn’t back down from. He felt hesitation before taking Haruka’s hand, one of many he had taken to the dance floor that night. The two were amiable enough; good friends, even. But this wasn’t just another dance, and he wasn’t sure what she would say. One could never be sure with Haruka.

It was Mamoru's wedding day, he and Usagi fulfilling a prophecy they had known since they were teens. Even his future child had been in attendance, though many of the guests didn’t know that. Everyone that mattered to him was there, and it had been an amazing day. But now was a time for dancing, and the bridesmaids had insisted on a ‘new tradition.’

Of course, that tradition was that all the guardians would dance with the groom. They had insisted it was an old moon kingdom tradition, to test if a groom was worthy of their princess, but Mamoru wasn’t sure that was true. He had agreed, whether he or they thought he needed testing after all this time.

First had been Ami. They talked in a hushed tone as they spun around the dance floor, and she confided in him the real reason for the dances. It was a test, but more importantly it was the metaphorical ‘last advice’ they would give him before letting him take his place with their princess. In many ways they were allowing him into their exclusive circle, and even if he had been around for years, this was the last step. The guardians weren't going to give away their princess without one last judgement. Or at least, one last little jab.

Ami was kind about it, of course. She had always been one of the kindest people Mamoru had ever met. Ami told him that Usagi had been her first real friend, and that she may be forgetful but her heart was always in the right place. It was a sweet sentiment, and a gentle departure from her usual bookish nature. As their dance came to an end, in a whisper she told him he was perfect for Usagi, and she was happy it had been him.

Minako was next. She bubbled over with various bits of unrelated advice, but nonetheless she seemed overjoyed for the couple. It was good to see that he wasn't the only one having a good time today. She was gushing about how beautiful the wedding was and how moving it was to see him cry as they said their vows. Seeing that, she said, means she knew they were meant to be together. As they parted, Minako gave Mamoru a mischievous wink and told him to throw the garter at Rei.

Rei followed, and they danced in near silence. It had been many years and Rei had gotten over Mamoru in the intervening time, but it was still a tender dance. She was more than happy to give him to Usagi, although she made him promise to treat her princess well. He promised, and as they moved apart Rei told him he had earned Usagi.

Makoto. Mako had only good things to say to him. They joked and laughed as they danced; Mako had always gotten along with Mamoru. She saw the spark between him and Usagi early, and her parting words were to never take it for granted. Almost as an afterthought as she walked away, she made a motion as if to throw something and mouthed ‘Ami.’ Message heard loud and clear.

Setsuna came next, and her wisdom was quiet, reassuring. She was cryptic as always, but she told Mamoru to keep Usagi out of trouble. Her eyes told Mamoru she wasn’t saying something, but Mamoru knew it must be something she couldn't say in present company. The guardian of time knew things the others couldn't.

Hotaru didn't have anything to say, but dancing on Mamoru's shoes made her laugh and the other guardians looked on fondly.

Michiru was graceful as expected and almost led Mamoru as they danced. Her words were soft, but caring. Usagi deserves her happy ending, and Michiru told Mamoru that he was it. It was beautiful, and Mamoru started to tear up as he thought of spending his life with Usagi. How could he not, hearing Michiru talk so poetically about the two of them? As she parted with him, she saw the last guardian to dance was Haruka and told him ‘good luck.’

So here he was, taking Haruka’s hand and leading her out onto the floor. The others hadn’t worried him; the others didn’t feel like a test. This felt like a test, one he wasn't sure he could pass. As they started to move in time with the music, Mamoru was the first to speak.

“So is this the part where you tell me ‘if you hurt her you answer to us’?” He said it with a chuckle, but in all honesty it wouldn't surprise him if she said it. She was always extra protective of Usagi, even beyond the other guardians. Haruka smiled playfully back at him.

“No, but if you do, there’ll be no ‘us’. Only me.” She said it with a chuckle in her throat, but Mamoru knew she was serious. Haruka often joked and kept the mood light, but she didn’t say that kind of thing lightly when it was about Usagi. She looked past his shoulder, where he knew Usagi was standing waiting to receive him at the end of this dance.

“She means a lot to all of us. And...” she paused. It wasn’t often Haruka struggled for words, but she didn't hesitate for long.

“...you mean a lot to us too. She’s so happy whenever she talks about you. The way she smiles when she looks at you reminds us what love is. Anyone who makes our kitten that happy makes us happy too.” Mamoru knew only Haruka called Usagi ‘kitten’. She made it sound like this was the last word for the group, but Mamoru knew this was personal to Haruka. He nodded, before responding.

“I care about all of you, too. And don’t worry, I'll protect and love her. Always.” Mamoru spoke from the heart, and again tears started to form in his eyes as the song ended. As they stopped dancing, Haruka motioned to Usagi.

“Our princess needs her prince. We’ve made her wait long enough. Go get her.”

He didn’t need to be told twice.