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Priorities

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Priorities

A First Season AU Short Story


She'd been only 17 when the weight of the world landed on her shoulders in the form of a talking cat and a magical brooch.

Find the others, find the crystal, find the princess, save the world. Oh, and keep away from that hot dude in the tux, we don't know what he's up to.

One year and a couple rainbow crystals and Senshi later – with no princess in sight and still a scowl on Luna's little kitty face whenever Usagi reacted to his slow smirks and large hands – keeping away really didn't work out that well, and Luna hated it.

And so Usagi hid it. Hid it from him, hid it from Luna, hid it from the girls, tried her hardest to hide it from her heart as well.

It wasn't an easy task. Not a bit. Because he reacted to her, as well.

And so they failed spectacularly.

The first time they'd ended up having sex in costume was almost an accident.

The battle had been hard and their own fighting afterwards harder, still arguing in the alley with their emotions running high and adrenaline higher on who should have dodged when and who'd been reckless how, when Usagi couldn't take it anymore and pushed gloved hands into his hair and her tongue into his mouth and he pushed her into the wall and later his cock deep into her slit.

The second time, he'd lifted her out of harm's way twice, thrice... and the last time was so deeply unnecessary since the youma in question had already practically been dust and she so far away from the danger and yet...

It was the night she discovered different ways she enjoyed his superhero strength, the way he so effortlessly lifted her, and came howling when she was introduced to what weightlessness must feel like – and how it felt when someone fucked you so hard even when they held you suspended in the air from the hidden crook on top of a skyscraper veiled by nightfall with his back to the wall and your own back arched as you hung from him like a horny little monkey and he pounded into you like there was no strength needed for supporting all of your weight and going at this rapid pace at all.

By the third time, it had become routine. They didn't speak about it, and yet it was clear they were both prepared. No more scrambling for weird joke condoms she kept in her purse for just in case, he had them ready to hand now, and Usagi had gone on the pill straight away either way. Yes, by the third time, a few agonizing weeks having stretched between battles that left them both desperately frustrated, it had become the most delicious, most tantalizing routine and she'd ripped his mask away and attacked his mouth and cock the second the Senshi had been out of sight.

That he was Mamoru, she'd learned the first time this had happened.

They didn't speak about it. They didn't talk about it at all, and during the day they behaved as if they didn't know.

They needed this to be a secret just a little longer.

"Mamo-chan," she gasped into the night as he buried himself deep into her from behind, and she could feel the flutter of his cape and the soft slap of his black trousers against her naked thighs, felt her calves quiver in her boots as she stood on tiptoe to be angling high enough for his tall form. She threw her head back against his chest, back arched in an impossible angle, and slapped him with her hair.

His answering groan was so visceral, she felt it vibrating through his cock straight against her inner walls and it caused the fingers of his hand against her ass to twitch and the bottom of her fuku that he'd pried aside to make room for him to enter her slip back a little and create the kind of friction that was almost too hard to bear. It made him mewl almost pitifully into the crown of her head, and one deliciously strong arm clamped itself down around her collarbone to secure her against his chest as his rhythm stumbled and became messy.

The angle was fucking magic though, and she clawed at his arm around her collarbone and throat and held on. She arched impossibly further, so much that the top of her head now rested pretty much vertically against his chest with her mouth hanging open and her throat exposed and had she not scrunched her eyes so tightly shut in coiled, delicious tension, she'd have seen him bend over her, inky hair brushing against her throat as he nipped at it open mouthed and sloppy and thrust into her even harder.

She gasped as he hit that magical spot even deeper within her and she needed him to do that again and she needed to tell him so, but it bubbled out of her in sudden, popping, shocked, wide-eyed nonsensical noise and he had the audacity to smirk when her wild eyes found purchase on his face. She found his head bent over her so very closely their noses almost touched, his back in what was surely an angle almost as uncomfortable as hers even when completely mirroring her. The black strands were messy and falling into his eyes as he watched her with an intensity she almost couldn't bear.

And then he hit that spot again. Deep and hard while his eyes jumped between hers watching her in unguarded, wondrous anticipation, and when she whimpered, tense and needy and falling apart, it felt as if every last noise reflected in his face. In the tremor of his lips that he went on to bite, in the flash of his dark eyes, in the quiver of his chin. Then he did it again.

The hand still on her ass tugged her fuku back to the side in impatient, rough yanks until it stayed and with it he'd pulled her buttocks just ever so slightly apart. It made all the fucking difference and opened her up, and she suddenly felt evert thrust and every last slick wet slide of his cock into her and against her in such impossibly heightened minute detail. Her eyes must have looked slightly panicked and wild and loose because that's what his own eyes reflected back at her and he groaned brokenly, one big stuttering and breathless keen.

She knew that look by now. It was branded into her eyelids and repeated over and over in her dreams. He was so hard for her it hurt him, so turned on by her he couldn't deal, and in this very moment so very close to coming he was pretty much in pain. But he was hanging on by a thread just for her, going even deeper just because it made her gasp like so, and he was so intend not to miss a second of the show.

Her knees buckled and he went down with her into the soft grass, his hold across her collarbones tightening and his hand moving from her ass around her hips to keep them connected in one fluid fall to the ground. He never even messed up his rhythm even as the back of her head slipped up into the crook of his neck and he pressed his lips into her cheek and she felt his cock push and pull out of her in an intensity that had her babbling incoherently on her quivering knees.

One of his knees nudged hers apart farther, making her sink more fully onto him and going even deeper and how the fuck was that even possible and she cried out in broken whimpers against his bucking hips and his puckered lips against her cheek and his arms wrapped around her in a tight and complete cradle.

She felt both safe and caressed and utterly and thoroughly fucked in all possible meanings of the phrase all at the same bloody time and what was his fucking magic?

Still holding onto his arm across her chest in a too tight stronghold as he wrecked her so deliciously, she untangled her other hand from its fisted position in his hair. (When had she done that? It had been lodged in there so tightly it must have hurt him...) Freed now, she brought it down between her legs in messy, clumsy movements and aimed for her wet mess of a clit, only to feel the arm around her hips jerk down and his hand practically slap hers away.

He pinched her clit at the same time as he growled possessively and open mouthed into the side of her face. He had no words left in him, but she knew what he would say if he did, had growled it to her in similar situations. That's what you have ME for.

And then she could only hang on, eyes shooting open and lips pulling taught and her toes curling in her boots as he kept pushing into her, moving her whole body forward and backward causing limp reactive movements on her side that rocked her to the bone, his fingers swirling slick and hard and rough against her clit and he rode her over the edge in a way that kinda ruined her.

He was doing this on purpose. She was absolutely sure. She'd caught Mamoru on his bench in the park with red ears and his way-too-sexy reading glasses fixed on a book covered in brown paper (he never covered his books ever ever ever) – and when his eyes had met hers across the fountain and had flashed with horror, snapping his book shut violently to the backdrop of his flushing face, she might as well have read his mind, she'd known. He was researching how to make her come fifty ways to Friday like the fucking nerd he was, and it was working.

He was trying to ruin her for anyone else. He was trying to mark his claim because he was terrified. He wanted this so badly. He wanted her so badly and didn't know how to go about this.

She could all see it in his eyes.

The very same eyes that were currently boring into hers with spellbound mesmerization as he held her gaze towards him by her chin in his hand as she came so powerfully, his thrusts turning shallow and erratic as he held out.

Only when he rocked her through the very last of her tremors did he let loose.

He was so fucking beautiful when he came.

His cry was so agonized, so vulnerable, eyebrows scrunched together and eyes fixed on her, the hand on her chin moving down to the back of her head in one gentle stroke, then fisting in her hair as his release shuddered through him.

Back in that park, when his shocked and embarrassed eyes over his book were something he so visibly attempted to cover up in that invisible mask of his, she'd stared a little and then jerked back into movement, finally reacting to what Mako-chan had said and didn't mention his presence as it had gone unnoticed by the girls.

After that very first night all those nights ago, when he'd ripped away from her lips and taken off his mask and let her see him before going any further, waiting patiently and unmoving for her to take control of the situation (and she had), it had still taken her a few days to put two and two together: If Tuxedo Mask was Mamoru, and at the same time Tuxedo Mask had known who she was (and she'd KNOWN that), then Chiba Mamoru had known who she was, too, all this time.

Before she'd known him this intimately, she hadn't had a clue that Mamoru-baka might be her Tuxedo Mask. The man who routinely risked his life for her and who she'd fallen for so very hard. It had taken her a couple days to remember that this very Tuxedo Mask knew who lay beneath the shiny and short Sailor fuku. Had practically whisked her out of bed more than a few times when Tokyo needed saving and she had no clue, much to Luna's chagrin.

In proxy, that night, even when it was a shock to her system, it hadn't been to him. Chiba Mamoru had been well aware of who he'd been coming on to. And he'd wanted her to know who it was she was throwing herself at, too.

She hadn't hesitated. In fact, it had made it all even painfully more necessary to do it. Confusing, magnetising, inevitably right even when it was supposed to be all sorts of wrong.

It had been Mamoru with the full body shudders every time he'd cushioned her falls with his own body.

It had been Mamoru with the ridiculous entrances and downright cringe-worthy, cheesy speeches of her beauty and abilities and how these youmas had no right to taint the space she occupied.

It had been Mamoru who trusted in her power so much he considered the best thing he could possibly do mid-battle was to turn around and go get her to the battle instead, pajama clad and all.

The guy who once compared her to a puff pastry back when they'd just met. The guy who'd kept reminding her for weeks last year when she ran into a lamp post and then apologized to it.

The guy with the lingering smirks and way too lonely eyes. The guy she'd been looking at from afar and then turned around and forcefully reminded herself that she liked Tuxedo Mask and no one else.

She hadn't been prepared.

And besides. This was so much more complicated.

And so, when they were Mamoru-baka and Odango Atama, it was business as usual. If usual meant unbearable sexual tension.

…but she guessed that was as usual as it came. The girls certainly didn't notice a difference. Maybe just a slight bit of more distance.

Luna still claimed Tuxedo Mask could well be their enemy. He still had those two rainbow crystals. They were still on somewhat opposing sides.

But even when no one else saw, she could see the situation had visibly thrown him for a loop. Even when Mamoru's lingering stares were nothing new (how had she ever thought them annoyed, irritated, hostile, when his eyes so clearly conveyed something else?) she now felt them on her skin, raising her skin up in goosebumps and every tiny hair on her arms up straight as if electrified with just his eyes on her across a room.

The distance scared him. Terrified him. But what could they really do?

She was the leader of the Senshi. It was her job to protect what he tried to get for himself.

Her thoughts flew back to the present moment when she felt his hands gently readjusting her fuku. Why were his hands always this friggin gentle?

Her heart calmed down and she let him cradle her up. Felt him sigh and bury his nose in her neck and inhale deeply.

She crinkled her nose. "I'm all sweaty," she mumbled. "I must smell awful."

"You smell incredible. I want to bottle you up. Most intoxicating smell in the world," he whispered, almost automatically and voice reverent. Then he started when she blinked up at him, turning in his embrace, and he flushed.

How he was sex on legs one second and preciously embarrassed boy the next, insulting and insufferable baka here and rose throwing female-day-dream-material there, would probably confuse her for the rest of time.

But by god, yes, she wanted him, too. She wanted to keep him so badly. She wanted to wake up next to him and watch him sleep and trace the pillow marks on his face. Instead of meeting his quiet, lingering stares from afar, she wanted to walk across the room, open her arms for him, and never let him go. She wanted to crawl into his life and fill up all his space until his eyes were no longer lonely.

He started frowning at her intense, lost stare. His eyes once again turning unsure.

With an aching sigh, she reached for him, pulled him down into the grass with her and captured his lips.

Considering the incredible and frantic sex they'd just had, this kiss was positively chaste, and so very soft.

His lips were trembling as they slid against hers. Slow and damp and full of uncontained emotion as the plump, warm flesh rubbed and stroked and brushed against hers in a way that was almost heartbreaking in its gentleness with his hands against her cheeks and thumbs brushing small patterns against her skin in barely-there caresses.

He was someone who tended to put all his feelings into his kisses, and it made her feel like drowning and like gasping for breath at the same time.

Goddammit, she wanted to keep him. She wanted his kisses and his judgy eye-rolls and the vulnerable cries and why couldn't she just…

She curled her fingers back into his hair, combing them across his scalp and yanking him tighter against her by the fistfulls of his glossy, silky strands. She deepened the kiss almost desperately. He came oh so willingly.


"How do you think Mamoru-san would be like to date?"

Usagi felt as if she was just electrocuted. With a start she broke her too intent staring at Mamoru's hands. Hands that she'd felt all across her body inside and out and knew could play her like, like… Hands that where currently gripping a coffee mug white-knuckled across the room, trying his hardest to keep him from staring right back.

Rei's musings went down her neck and spine like icy terror and froze around her gut, clenching it tight when Usagi realised Rei wasn't calling her out, no, … was she… was she thinking about asking him out herself?!

Her eyes flew back to his hands and when they twitched immediately, she could swear they were reacting to her gaze. When her eyes travelled up his form from the sinful digits, she found him looking back at her. Dark and intense and unreadable – at least for anyone else but her.

She swallowed and broke first, looking away.

"I… I thought you didn't like men that much." Usagi hoped her voice didn't quite carry the terror she currently felt.

Rei shrugged. When Usagi turned her gaze to her friend beside her, stabbing her cream soda with her straw, she saw Rei was focused on Mamoru's form as well. "I don't," Rei said off-handedly. "But Mamoru's not like most men, don't you think? He's…" she frowned "…softer than that."

Usagi swallowed. Her script should be to scoff and laugh at Rei's assessment. Two months ago, before all this, she would have. She wouldn't have seen him like that. Tuxedo Mask, yes. But Chiba Mamoru? Never. She wouldn't have seen him this clearly.

She should fight this. Keep up the façade. Scoff and laugh and say there is nothing soft about Chiba Mamoru whatsoever. Mamoru-baka. Remember Mamoru-baka.

She felt his eyes flick back to her. Longing. Vulnerable. His soft little cry when he came echoed in her mind. The soft and vulnerable cry that sounded and looked like she held the reigns of his destiny and it scared him. Mamoru was all softness.

Her voice cracked a little when she spoke. "I think so, too," she whispered defeatedly.

Why could Rei see what she hadn't? Usagi didn't deserve him at all. The thought felt colder than the previous icy jealousy ever had, and she had to snap her jaw shut because she could feel her chin start quivering.

She met Mamoru's eyes again. They'd snapped to hers in concern. Why could he read her so damn well?

"I mean not that I would," Rei said with a flick of her glossy black hair.

Usagi had to physically keep from sighing, collapsing in relief. "You wouldn't?"

Rei shook her head and rolled her eyes ever so slightly as if it were obvious. "Too much like me, all that hard exterior. We wouldn't work," she said, all conviction. "Besides," Rei's eyes flicked to her, and she had to pry her eyes back from Mamoru with what felt like physical force to return Rei's look.

Usagi wasn't good at hiding right about now. Rei's extended pause spoke volumes. Especially when she looked back at Mamoru, and so did Usagi.

Mamoru's gaze snapped back from Usagi to his coffee as if caught.

"I'd say he has his eyes on someone else," Rei said carefully.

Usagi recoiled. "I…" her voice was hoarse and her tongue felt heavy and limp and clumsy in her mouth. "I don't know what you mean," she said weakly.


He lifted her by the hips and onto his lap as if she weighed nothing, his fingers digging into her sides and she cursed the thick fabric of her fuku for the thousandth time. All she wanted was to feel his hands against her naked skin.

She wrapped her arms tight around his shoulders and neck, pressing his face closer against her throat, gasping at the sensation of his teeth against her jaw, her jugular, the soft skin just above her collarbones. She pushed her fingers into the opening of his messy white dress shirt, wrapping them possessively around his neck and yanking his mouth even closer into her skin.

His cape was flung somewhere with her gloves. His tattered tuxedo jacket lay crumpled around his hips, his shirt ripped all the way open by her teeth and she moved in his lap, eliciting deep rumbling groans and throaty whimpers rubbing slowly back and forth across the hard bulge in his pants. She shivered at the contact, felt it throbbing and wet and burning.

"Would you date me?" she whispered against his hair and the onslaught of his hands on her body.

His hands on her stilled immediately. His lips left her throat with a loud, wet smack, leaving it suddenly cold where the light evening breeze touched the wet skin.

His eyes were so wide when they met hers. Close, so close. Noses almost touching. Lips so close she felt them move against hers when he spoke with such fear in them.

"Are you asking?" he whispered, voice shaking.

She swallowed. "We can't. You know we can't," she whispered back into his mouth, then flicked her eyes to meet his straight on, allowing all the vulnerability onto her face. "But…" she breathed "…would you? Even when I'm…" me?

He didn't answer. Not right away. But his eyes… Dark and blue and swimming with emotion.

He bent over with her still in his lap, supported her weight carefully with his hands on her back and the back of her neck until she was lying flat against what she realised was his cape, legs wide open for him even before he pushed up her skirt, wrenched aside the fabric that covered her, and opened up his pants.

He was sheathed in a condom and rubbing up and down across her writhing wetness to her needy cries in barely a few seconds, and dropped flat down, elbows on either side of her face and his eyes jumping between hers with that weight and intensity.

He entered her in one, long stroke, holding her gaze.

"I would marry you, Usako," he whispered wide-eyed and she gasped when he filled her so deliciously to the hilt, tears springing to her eyes from the sheer level of sincerity in his voice and eyes and soul.

"Right now, right away. I would, and I would never look back," he said, pulling out and pushing back in, deep, deep, deep.


They were getting sloppy.

Tuxedo Mask didn't even pretend anymore.

She couldn't deny they hadn't become more effective this way. He wasn't concerned to accidentally touch her intimately anymore when whisking her away and out of danger. It had turned them both incredibly effective and incredibly obvious.

He fought as if his main priorities had changed. As if it were her safety now.

But she knew why he was doing this. She knew why he'd fought tooth and nails for his rainbow crystals. To get his memories back.

And yet…

Usagi knew what Minako's glances meant. The glances at his hand as he cradled her across her stomach, his thumb stroking absentmindedly, when he dropped her back on her feet. The glances at his lack of blush when he pulled her out of a youma's stronghold by the hips and her exposed thighs. The glances at Usagi's non-rosy cheeks and confident hands, splayed on his chest so nonchalantly when she used her lover's body as a jumping board mid-battle.

She watched her own hand touch the skin of her throat, her collarbone, her decoltée in the slightly fogged up reflection of her bathroom mirror, the steam of her shower still hanging in the air. She trailed her fingertips across the myriad of fresh burgundy evidence he had kissed onto her skin, marking her.

They were getting sloppy.


She was terrified what would happen if any of the girls, or worse, Luna, were to put two and two together. Were to take Rei's assessment of her heart eyes for Mamoru and Minako's observance of her changed relationship with Tuxedo Mask and find out who he was.

"We need to consider the possibility that we might need to take Tuxedo Mask's rainbow crystals by force," Luna was saying.

Usagi arms were crossed so tightly they pressed into her ribs. The way her hand dug into her own forearms might leave marks. Her too warm, too stuffy pink turtleneck itched.

"We could try asking him again…" Ami offered, and Usagi nodded vehemently. She was afraid to speak up. Terrified to give him away.

"Sailor Moon has asked him in the past, remember?" Luna said, and Usagi's skin crawled with the reminder. "He hasn't given them over. Why would he now?"

Usagi frowned.

"No, I think our best option is to find out who he is and take them from him when he least expects it."

Minako threw her a look. "Usagi-chan… any ideas?"

"No!" she bellowed.

The girls blinked at her reaction, and she was once again petrified. She wouldn't be able to live with herself if she did this to him.

"Usagi-chan," Luna said slowly, patiently, in that voice that was both stern and lecturing and caring and motherly and all that. "It's our sworn and holy duty to protect the crystal and the princess. It comes before anything else. We need to get his crystals at all costs, do you understand?"

She swallowed. "I do," she whispered.

Minako tilted her head to the side. "Do you?" she asked, not unkind.

Usagi averted her eyes. They landed on Rei's silent, lingering, calculating look.

Usagi rushed out of the room and out of the shrine and out, out, out.

Truth was, she didn't know why she hadn't asked him for the crystals again. She guessed part of her was terrified of his answer. Terrified he still wouldn't hand them over, if she were to ask now. Terrified to find out if they were still enemies.

Also… It was wrong and it was awful, and it went against what she was told she fought for… But why was she doing this? Protect a legendary stone for a princess that she was told to care for but held no true emotions for at all when he…

He needed the legendary silver crystal more than them. She wanted him to have it. She wanted him to win.

She was a despicable leader and a despicable Senshi and she knew it.


She'd already had it. The indigo one, the next to last one, right in her hand.

And then she'd yelled and thrown it without any second thought because both Zoisite and the monster that she'd previously had trouble with to even touch nevermind fight because he was Rei's grandpa of all people, were both attacking Mamoru and he was howling in pain. So really, when her furious kicks and hits and blind fury were doing no good at all to save him, there was no choice here, she'd just reacted.

Zoisite's attack stopped immediately. Instead, he teleported in a flurry of flower petals and laughed obnoxiously when he reappeared right in the trajectory of her rainbow crystal projectile.

But Mamoru gasped and breathed and fell to his knees and was ok and so she didn't even have a thought left to spare to care about the loss.

Afterwards, Luna wouldn't speak to her.


"Are you ok, Usagi-chan?"

Usagi blinked up at Unazuki, feeling irrationally called out.

Unazuki had placed her usual on the counter in front of her, then wiped her hand across her orange and crown-adorned apron.

Honestly, Usagi didn't know what had ridden her to answer truthfully. "Lonely, I guess," she sighed.

She almost felt the tremor at her words at the other end of the counter. She wrapped her hands around her milkshake, felt her fingers slip against the wet and cold condensation.

"What, you?" Unazuki practically yelped, appalled. "You have people around you all the time! You're the most loved person I know, Usagi-chan!"

Usagi shrugged and shrank a little in her seat. It was true! She was lucky. She had so many people she loved around her. Except the one person she longed to be able to call hers.

Unazuki's shoulders slumped and her features smoothed into concern and a thoughtful look. Then she tilted her head and nodded her chin behind Usagi's head.

"What about these boys right there?" Unazuki smiled. "The cute blonde one has been looking at you ever since you stumbled through the door today, did you notice?"

Usagi turned – in a way she purposefully avoided swiveling in the direction that her eyes would land on his – and found the boy Unazuki was speaking about immediately. He blushed quite cutely when she met his eyes. He had been looking.

She smiled back in a way she hoped looked very kind but not too encouraging, and then turned back to Unazuki with an uncomfortable shrug.

"Cute," she said with a small smile and a bigger cringe, and then added, "not really my type."

"Oh?" Unazuki sing-songed with a wide and insinuating smile that made Usagi want to hide it right this second. He was sitting right there… "What is your type, Usagi-chan?"

Her eyes flicked to Mamoru's tense shoulders. He was right here, only one vacant seat between them at the counter, and yet so far away…

The distance was shrinking day by day and yet it seemed to stretch further and further.

He was pretending to ignore her fully because that's what this was, that was all this could be.

Her voice sounded hoarse to her ears when she answered. "I'm not sure I have a type…"

Tuxedo Mask, Chiba Mamoru…

Was it a type if you fell for one person and one person only twice over or was that… something else? She was half sure she'd fall for him across lifetimes, absurd as it was.

In the corner of her eye she could see his coffee was completely untouched and his knuckles around it all white.

"Are you kidding me, Usagi-chan?" Unazuki laughed incredulously. "Of course, you do?! Are you ok? You have crushes left and center and they're all pretty much the same!"

She shrugged uncomfortably and gosh she wanted to melt into the counter. Mamoru was sitting. right. there.

Unazuki rambled on. She meant well, couldn't know, tried her hardest to cheer Usagi up, she knew that, but…

"What about Motoki?" Unazuki asked, and Usagi's eyes widened in terror. Oh god. No, of all her old crushes to bring up…

But Unazuki seemed to misread Usagi's petrified expression. "C'mon, girl, I have eyes, it's not weird to me I promise. I can be impartial," she said with a wink. "I noticed the way you looked at him."

"I don't anymore…" Usagi croaked.

"Or that guy who volunteered at the cat shelter? What was his name again? The one from Naru's party last year?"

Every fibre in her body tried to reach out, tried to read his reactions. He was still. So, so still.

"I don't remember…" Usagi managed.

"Well, I'm just saying," Unazuki shrugged. "You do have a type, Usagi-chan, obviously. More the 'kind guys' type?" Unazuki smiled sweetly and indicated her chin to the blonde behind Usagi's head again. "And Cute Eyes over there totally fits that bill."

Usagi managed a strangled sound and covered it by wrapping her lips around her straw and slurping hard.

"You know what, actually," Unazuki continued, "I'm going to this mixer tonight. Lots of cute, single guys. I'd love if you joined me."

Usagi almost choked, coughed around her straw. "Um, I don't know, Unazuki… I'd rather not."

"Oh, c'mon, Usagi-chan, it'll be fun!" Unazuki leaned forward on the counter and gave her a cute little oblivious wink. "I want to see your smile back!"

Usagi gripped her glass too tightly. "I really rather wouldn't…"

"Please, for me?"

Mamoru appeared towering next to her, behind her, against her – in all his intimidating height, face dark and menacing and all the angry scowl.

"She said no," he all but hissed. And then his hand wrapped around her wrist and pulled her from her seat to Unazuki's shocked, taken aback, blinking eyes, and dragged Usagi out the sliding doors behind him by the arm.

"Mamo-chan!" Usagi gasped, throwing Unazuki a panicked glance. No, oh god, no, Unazuki would know, she'd tell, they'd all find him out

He pulled her after him, never letting go of her but slipping his hand lower, from her wrist to her fingers and then he was holding her hand, tightly. His hand was trembling.

He pulled and pulled and pulled and seemed to have a destination but then he stopped abruptly, as if his destination was taking too fucking long, and turned on his heel, nudged her into a smaller street around the next corner, and pressed her into a random doorframe of a grey building.

The hand that wasn't still curled around hers slipped, demanding and agitated, into the collar of her shirt, nudging it aside until he pressed his fingertips against her throat and neck and chest where she knew his hickeys were fading into green-tinted shadows.

Her heart was pounding, her eyes felt wide, her breath came short. His hand in hers, his fingers against her throat and pressing against her erratic heartbeat. This was the first time that Mamoru had ever touched her, and she needed more.

"You're not going to that mixer," he growled, eyes dark. He pressed his whole body into her, and she shivered.

"I'm not," she agreed, shaking her head, eyes locked on him. She brought her own hand up, wrapped it against his hand on her throat, keeping it in place lest he get ideas to remove it.

"Motoki?!" he scoffed, and then bent down and pressed his lips and teeth against her faded marks one by one and sucked and nibbled harder than he ever had before, and she gasped and barely got the words out.

"A lon -g," she swallowed, pressed her hand against the back of his head to push him closer into her neck, and her knees together because there was nothing more arousing than this man, "long time a- go. You know th-at."

They were in fucking public, hidden by a friggin doorway, they were playing with fire, and she whimpered pitifully as he sucked on her skin and she was ready to rip open his pants and climb him like a tree.


It was his eyes.

It didn't matter if he was buried half a kilometer inside of her and was watching her face in intense adoration with no control whatsoever over his facial expressions, or if he was clenching his fists and staring at her across a room with that unbearable yearning in his eyes that could easily pass for murder. It was his eyes. Dark and intense and worshipping her with every too infrequent blink and blown up pupil and a softness around them that he didn't have for anyone else.

He'd always looked at her this way. She just hadn't understood.

Even when the look had been mixed with some sort of insecure confusion a year ago, nowadays it was thrown her way in complete assured honesty and strong conviction.

He worshipped her. And he was very much aware of it, 100% on board with it. He threw himself in front of youmas for her and failed spectacularly at keeping his distance in public. He threw her longing glances when she wasn't looking and had eyes for no one but her. Now she knew he skipped classes just to run into her during the day even when they absolutely failed at pretending not to know each other's faces when they were contorted in ecstacy or that he tended to bite his tongue until it bled to not come before she did.

It was these eyes she'd decided to pretty much risk the world for.

Luna had been so adamant. She'd painted a vivid picture for her of a million atom bombs and a thousand suns worth of power wrapped into a tiny stone. The silver crystal could not get into the wrong hands. It needed to be protected and it was her job to do it.

But Mamoru needed it, and if she could do anything about it, he would have it. She would not let the Senshi stop him.

Mamoru was not 'wrong hands'. Mamoru was the safest, best hands in the world.

The silver crystal would be safe with him. She definitely trusted him with that kind of power more than she trusted herself, or anyone else in the world, anyway. That was for sure.

Not that she'd told him this, yet. The decision terrified her, shamed her. She hoped so hard she could follow through, could face that kind of guilt.

And so, these days it was her who enforced the rules, the secrecy. She could not risk them finding out who he was, she could not risk putting him in danger. It was him who liked to throw these rules overboard and fuck them – mostly quite literally.

There was a drug somewhere on his skin, she was sure. And since the last boundary – their transformations, had fallen, she never wanted to go back.

She didn't care that they weren't as strong when they weren't transformed. That they weren't as enduring. He could touch her now, everywhere, that fucking fuku be damned, and he could bite her nipples and dig the heels of his palm into her hips and lick his way between her breasts and down to her navel and eat her out like she was just as much of a drug to him as he was to her and he fucking did.

But sometimes he did it way too recklessly for her taste.

She'd just come from a Senshi meeting at the shrine, the sky turning red above her, had just waved Minako goodbye, when she felt his hands around her waist pulling her into the alley beside her that was little more than a gap between houses and she gasped in shock and then clamped her hand over her own mouth to not make a sound.

Not because he randomly pulled her into alleys, no. He was welcome to do that any time. No, because Minako wasn't even out of sight yet. Because all she would need to do was turn around and see her gone and come investigate and she would find him.

"No! Mamo-chan!" She was panicked, voice tense and hard but barely a whisper. She peeked back around. Did she see?

Her heart was going a mile a minute.

"It's ok," he murmured into the crook of her neck, lifting her up and off her feet by his arms that wrapped strong and firmly around her waist. "I was careful," he told her skin.

She scoffed in that slightly crazed and completely exasperated way.

"Mamo-chan, this is serious. Minako knows I'm with Tuxedo Mask. If she sees you with me, she'll know!"

This was bad. It was so bad.

His arms went a little slack and she was dropped back to her feet. "…You're… you're with…"

But she was too agitated to listen. Instead she clawed her fingers into his biceps. She was so fucking scared they'd find him. And at the same time – the rainbow crystals. Her guilty conscience in prism colors. It's what all this shit was about. The Senshi wanted to know, no, needed to know who he was in order to get to them. But she didn't say. Instead, here he was, two street corners away from Hikawa and she'd told him everything. He knew who Mina-P was. He knew that their crystals were right there in that shrine, and that Sailor Mars was the miko guarding them.

"You're with Tuxedo Mask?"

She was betraying the Senshi. There was nothing stopping him from easily doing to them what they attempted to do to him, steal the rainbow crystals directly from under their noses. And she was kind of counting on it, so she didn't have to do it herself to hand them over to him.

His hands on both of her cheeks brought her back to him and the present moment. He pressed them into her skin, thumbs stroking, those eyes so close and intense and full of weight.

"Usako," he repeated. "Are you with me? Am I your… your…"

He swallowed, eyes wild. "Usako, are you mine?"

She frowned. Did he think… "Of course I am…" she whispered, eyebrows drawn together in confusion.

He inhaled sharply through his teeth, as if she'd shocked him with her words, and then his hands slipped into her hair and tugged and he attacked her mouth just as she felt herself get pushed hard into the wall behind her with a thud and a bounce of her hip but her head so gently protected from the impact by his hands.

He kissed as if he wanted to swallow her. He kissed her as if he would fall apart if he didn't, tugs and tongue and teeth and whimpers so needy from his throat it made her heart constrict.

Maybe it wasn't just his eyes. Maybe it was his kiss, too, that she was willing to risk everything for.


He was her Achilles' heel.

They'd been on a stake out. Apparently, Queen Beryl saw something in Tuxedo Mask, too. At least that's the conclusion the cats had come to. Lately, neither Zoisite nor that new dude intentionally harmed a hair on his body.

Luna had wanted to test the theory – had told Usagi on site, the plan already in motion. Use him as bait in a plan so ludicrous, so dangerous, it made her insides crawl in terror.

It had been the moment she'd broken, begged Luna crying on her knees. Offered her life in servitude if only she wouldn't put him into unnecessary danger. Admitted to everything but his name.

It had been her who'd been put to the test. He'd never been in any risk, even if the original observation had been true.

She'd obviously failed it.

She would choose him over and over. Over any princess, any crystal. She would give it all up. Luna was livid.


The rainbow crystals had been moved from Hikawa shrine to a location Usagi had not been told. Sailor Venus was the new leader of the Senshi. Usagi had kept her brooch just barely, but was now on near constant observation.

Their eyes were sympathetic, but their duty was set in stone and their priorities were straight. They needed to flush him out. They needed his crystals.

She'd met Rei's quiet, frowning eyes and wondered why she hadn't voiced her suspicions.

Maybe it was because she'd been right: Mamoru was softer than that. Soft was not their enemy.

And so, it had been under Rei's watch on her that she'd managed to slip away – or just been allowed to go, both eyes turned away for her sake, more like it.

She'd run all the way and found him with his hands in his hair but in his usual spot and she'd left him a just-this-side-of-cryptic note on a napkin after she'd sat down in the seat right next to him at the counter and staged a horrifyingly bad attempt at the insult-y banter that used to come so natural to them, just in case this was another test.

His eyes had been red-rimmed and full of panic. She'd ghosted him for two weeks, avoided each and every one of their spots. She couldn't let them ruin what he had fought for so hard for so long. She couldn't lead them straight to him.

They know about us. They're looking – for you and a rainbow or two. I'm so sorry. Yours, U.

His eyes had frowned at the message in his hands, then turned to a glare.

She didn't leave him the time to process it further, instead she slipped from the stool and left the arcade without a glance back and hoped that the lump in her throat would maybe one day stop hurting –

And then he was there, his arms coming around her back and across her stomach and chest, snatching her up mid-run, his lips in her hair, and she brought her own arms up to clutch at his.

"I don't care," he rasped. His voice sounded broken, as if he'd cried for a week.

"Mamo-chan…"

"I said I don't care," he repeated with more strength.

He wouldn't listen. And his eyes wouldn't let go of her and his hands wouldn't either, and so she found herself dragged by the gentlest of all strongholds that pressed tight, tight, tight, to where she'd sworn not to go. It had always been too risky. Still was.

The cats surely were watching his apartment building. How could they not? Luna had had her suspicions about Mamoru for so long.

"I don't care," he repeated, again. Like a mantra, like a prayer, just held on tight.

She'd never seen his apartment. He'd never been past the windowsill of her bedroom. This had been months now, between them, months until she finally found herself thrown into his soft dark sheets and enveloped by his smell on his pillow and the very walls of this place. It was scary and intoxicating and hurt so much because it was so wrong that she could not have this always.

She dragged him down with her by her fist in his shirt, gasping in irritation for the fact she had to free his lips in order to push it over his head. But he was just as desperate, trembling just as much as she was, his palms against her naked stomach and his tongue against her cheek and eyelids lapping at her tears.

It had never been as soft and gentle as in his bed. He kept his eyes wide open as he pushed his length into her, slow and deep, deep, deep, all the way out and all the way back in, over and over, his forehead pressed against hers and his elbows propped up on her sides as not to crush her.

Soft and long and deep and again and again, pushing her up his bed and into his lush sheets. Her hands pushed at his elbows until he relented, until he dropped onto her fully and he pressed his hands against her cheeks and watched and watched and watched her eyes as he made love to her.

He never stopped, he never looked away. It was just them and this bed and his hands on her cheeks and his cock moving slowly, oh so slowly in and out of her and the tears on her face because why couldn't she have this, why couldn't she have him?

She came crying, he came hugging her.

She was still crying, turning on her stomach and clawing at his sheets because the world was unfair when all she needed was him, when all she wanted was him.

Felt his lips kiss her shoulder blades and answer her, because she'd cried it all out loud and mumbled into the sheets.

"All I need is you, too," he whispered into her skin, dropping soft, dry kisses all across her shoulders and back.

Only when she'd finally quieted down, on the verge of exhausted sleep, and the light that shone through his windows had turned darker and golden, did he get up.

He returned barely a minute later. His knee weighted down the mattress next to her shin and then he pressed himself back against the length of her naked backside, covering her completely and pinning her against him, trapping her in a delicious sandwich of Mamoru and soft, expensive mattress. It was the best feeling in the world.

His fingers slipped into her hand, pried them from his sheets and uncurled them, unbending one finger at a time. She sighed deeply, sliding her fingers against his almost savoringly and interlocking her hand with his carefully. She frowned when she found there was something in his hand. Something he pressed into hers. Cold and hard and sharp angles.

She blinked her eyes open. In her hand were his two rainbow crystals.

She gasped, just as she felt his hands curl around her middle and his face nuzzle into her hair as if he hadn't just done what he had done.

"Mamo-chan..."

Her voice was dry, shocked. The crystals glittered in the golden light.

He spoke with his lips against her shoulder, his hair tickling her ear. "It's what's keeping us apart, right?"

She felt her heartbeat pick up, frantic and confused.

"But you…" she started.

He dropped a kiss to her shoulder, before interrupting her. "I already found my princess. I have no use for them anymore."

She sputtered. "But... your memories... This was..."

Suddenly his weight on her was too much. She couldn't do this to him…

"They're keeping me from making new ones," he said. "I want to be yours, Usagi. I'm not your enemy. I promise I'm not. I could never be."

And then his hand was back around hers, curling her fingers gently around the stones.

"I know what's most important to me, Usako," he whispered against the shell of her ear. "It's not these stupid rocks."

Her tears returned full force, wrecking her with sobs, but this time in relief.

Maybe… Maybe this would all work out fine.


Fin