Disclaimer: Sailor Moon does not belong to me. I claim nothing but this story.

A special thank-you goes to Sue Mei for asking if I was writing anything for Valentine's Day, for without the question, there would be no answer, and thus no fanfic . . . Happy Valentine's Day, minna!

Note: "Aishiteru" means "I love you".


by Fushigi Kismet

Soft golden tresses, spilling over her shoulders . . .

Soft red lips, teasingly kissable . . .

Her shut eyes, the long lashes framing the closed eyelids, within which hid the two most beautiful eyes ever seen . . .

My God, how I loved her . . .

I could not resist her then, her lovely face, gently touched by moonlight, radiating only peace and tranquilty, only serenity . . . Serenity . . .

I knelt over her, kissed her, and in my embrace she stirred . . . a princess waking from her long sleep, at the touch of her prince's lips on hers . . .

"Aishiteru," she murmured dreamily, half-awake, half-asleep. I drew back then. I could not stay and listen to those words as she uttered them, so lovingly . . . How I wished that she was saying them to *me*. How I wished that she was mine . . . my princess . . . but she was not, and once again I was forced to leave her . . . to let her go.

Even though I could not say the words, I thought them. Aishteru, my princess. Aishiteru.

And then I was gone . . . into the night, with only the beautiful memory of my lips on hers and those words on her lips to sustain me.

* * *

I think often of that night, when we danced at the ball, a princess and her prince. I will never let her know just how much I remember that night. Our first kiss. If she ever asks, I will deny any remembrance, but I will remember. I will always remember that night. It is a treasured memory, and I keep it close to my heart.

Now that we have our lives and our memories back intact, and it seems that all of our battles are over, or at least we have been given a short respite, I know what I must do. The anniversary of that night is approaching. In that final battle with the aliens, my Usako declared her love for me. So now, I must declare my love for her.

How can I not? I love her more than breath, than sanity, than life itself. I love her more than hope, and comfort, and joy, for she is all of these. I love her more than Endymion loved Serenity. With each day, my love for her only grows in leaps and bounds, ever greater and greater until I feel my heart will burst from loving her, but I do not care. I would die to love her just for an instant. If I was to ever stop loving her, if she was to ever stop loving me, I think that I would.

I knew it then, that night, and I know it now. For that, I must show her the depths of my love . . .

* * * * Mamoru. How I love to say his name, to think it. He is my one true love, and we are destined to be together throughout all eternity . . . but it is more than that. The love I feel for him is deeper, more intense, greater than the love that I have ever felt for any one person. That is not to say that I do not love my friends, and love my family, and love my friends as though they *were* my family, or that I love them any less, I simply love them all in a different manner . . . a different way, and the way in which I love my Mamo- chan blows everything else away.

I've told him that I loved him - I've said it a million times, and I shall never tire of saying it. It is my secret wish that he will one day say it to me, that he will tell me that he loves me.

I know that he does, but sometimes . . . I feel so uncertain. *Does* he really love me? He's never told me that he does. In fact, we barely ever see each other when we're not fighting youma or when I'm not trying to make him recall all that we shared . . . If it was not for my clumsiness, I doubt if we would ever have met at all.

It is not as though being clumsy is a sin. I am unerringly klutzy when it comes to my Mamo-chan. That is to say, I always manage to bump, collide, or trip in front of him. Still, that's one way to get someone's attention. It's funny how I am MORE clumsy whenever I'm near him, even when I don't know that he's there . . . as though something is drawing us together . . .

I guess that it's really because deep in my heart, I know and have always known that he would always be there whenever I needed him, and so my clumsiness manifested itself. I needed a steadying hand to support me. My Mamo-chan.

Oh, he is certainly steady and dependable and I don't love him any less for that - a scatterbrain like me needs someone like him - but sometimes I wish that he would forget about being steady and dependable and be like he was that night . . . so passionate and loving. He made my heart race like the wind, faster even than it does even in the midst of battle. *That* is the effect that he has on me.

I don't know if he remembers, but I will never forget. That night, I lived out my fantasy. I was a princess and he was my prince . . .

* * * Who would have thought that one tiny sip of a cocktail could make me so tipsy? It's true that I had never even sipped at champagne before, but I didn't thought that a taste could hurt . . .

It was when the room began to swim around me that I finally caught on. I felt faint and rather light-headed. My legs were wobbly and my knees were about to buckle. Before I could fall, though, my head hit someone and I felt two steadying hands on my shoulders. One of the hands removed the glass from my hand and set it down on the table, then they both steered me away from the refreshments and through the crowd. We ended up outside and I felt much better as the cool air began to clear my head.

However, I didn't revive right away . . .

He propped up on a little ledge of wall and settled a pillow from somewhere up against a pillar and lay my head against it. My eyelids were so heavy, I couldn't get them open to see who was doing all of these nice things for me. Instead, I just lay, enjoying the sensation of the night breeze cooling my too-hot skin.

It was then that I felt him bend over me, pulling me into his gentle embrace. It was in his arms that I knew him . . . the feeling of warmth his arms around me gave me . . . Tuxedo Kamen . . .

Off in the distance, I could hear the sounds of fireworks bursting in glorious display. I did not expect what happened next. He kissed me so tenderly and lovingly . . . I was sure that I was in a dream. I could not help but respond to his lips on mine. I stirred.

Upon opening my eyes, I was dazzled by the two most intense blue eyes that I have ever beheld gazing at me with love through his white mask. I wanted to remove the mask, to remove all the disguises and mysteries between us . . . to know him, to know the man I loved for who he truly was . . . .

"Aishiteru." The words were out of my mouth before I realized that I had uttered them. I did not regret saying them. At that moment, I was incapable of doing anything but uttering the simple truth, and I had.

He drew away from me and pain mingled with regret flashed through his eyes. He was leaving. I knew it. I did not want him to go. I wanted him to stay with me forever. But sometimes, you can't have what you want.

He turned and disappeared into the night leaving me behind, fresh tears springing to my eyes, the words I had spoken still on my lips.


* * * The anniversary of that night is approaching. I wait for it with a heavy heart. He will not remember. I do not expect him to. All I want from is for him to love me . . . and to say that he loves me.

* * * * I dial her number with slightly unsteady fingers. What if her brother or one of her parents answer? I can't very well say, "May I speak with your daughter whom I intend to begin dating, despite the fact that she's in junior high and I'm in college?" I have no doubt that if personal sidearms were not illegal in Japan, her father would shoot me. Usako has described him in length to me.

The phone rings . . . once . . . twice . . . thrice . . . I am just about to hang up when someone picks up at the other end. "Moshi moshi?"

I silently exhale in relief. It's Usagi. "Hello, Usako."

She lets out a sigh and her voice takes on an exuberant sound. "Mamo-chan! Hi! Why are you calling?"

"Huh?" I ask rather stupidly as she goes from being happy to slightly annoyed all in under five seconds.

"Oh, I'm really happy to hear from you and all, but you're just lucky that my parents aren't home. If Daddy picked up . . .

" I gulp and hurriedly changed the subject. "Usako, are you free tomorrow night?"

"Hai . . ." she says hesitantly, as though not sure what to make of my question.

"Would you care to join me for dinner?"

It's as though a supernova has exploded and the energy released has all been harnessed for use by one small girl. "HAI!!!! Mamo-chan, is this a date?!!!"

Wondering what I've gotten myself into, I answer. "Hai."

She practically gushes over the phone and I feel myself smiling in amusement. My Usako.

"Dress nicely and meet me at Hikawa Shrine at eight, okay?" I would have picked the park, but it's too dangerous for her at night. I catch myself beginning to smile again. Perhaps for *ordinary* girls, but as much as she might wish it, Tsukino Usagi is NO "ordinary girl".

"Hai, Mamo-chan!"

"Good, I have a surprise." And with that mysterious remark, I hang up the phone. Leave her guessing, that's the way to do it. She would have no idea as to what I was up to.

* * * * I put the phone's receiver down in its cradle and repeat his last remark silently to myself. A surprise? Then one of his earlier remarks comes back to haunt me. "Dress nicely." What does that mean? What if he's taking me out to some ritzy restaurant? What DO girls wear on their first date, ANYWAY?

Unable to stop myself from pacing and becoming slightly hysterical, I run upstairs in search of Luna. She may be just a cat, but she has a remarkable sense of fashion. As much as I hate admitting it, I need to enlist her aid, after all, I have some shopping to do!

* * *

Four hours later, Luna and I return home, exhausted, but I have my dress so I'm content. I hope Mamo-chan will be too. It cost me three months' allowance and ALL of my saved up birthday money, which wasn't much to begin with, anyway.

I know that I don't have to go all out, but I want to, because whether Mamo-chan realizes it or not, tomorrow night is the anniversary of our first kiss . . .

* * * * She is waiting for me at the top of the temple steps. Rei is sweeping the steps and glancing at me out of the corner of her eyes as I ascend the steps. I feel bad about asking Usagi to wait for me *here*. Rei and I *did* date for a while . . .

One look at her allays all my doubts. She is smiling at me and before she turns away to sweep at another non-existant spot of dirt, she winks at me. Suddenly, I feel better about the whole thing.

I walk up to my Usako, who is waiting patiently for me. I stop several steps below her and I offer her my arm. "Shall we, my princess?"

"Let's," she says gracefully with a smile, as she takes my arm. We descend the steps together and I notice the long coat that she is wearing.

She notices where my attention has strayed and smiles mischievously. "You're not going to see my dress until we get wherever we're going. At least I know that I haven't dressed wrong, seeing what *you're* wearing."

I look down at my dark black tuxedo and grin. "Do we match?"

"No hints."

I lead her to my car and open the door for her. She manages to get inside without getting her coat caught in the door, and I get into the driver's seat, and start the engine.

"Where are we going?"

"You'll see."

* * * *

He has just given me the most infuriating answer possible.

'You'll see.' What type of a response is that? If I didn't love him so much, I'd hit him. I settle back into my seat, frustrated beyond belief. I know love is complicated but must it always be so suave and mysterious? Why can't he just give me a straight answer?

I soon cease caring as we pull into the familiar long driveway of . . . the D kingdom embassy.

"Mamo-chan?" I ask hesitantly. There is no ball, no grand gala tonight. Could it be that he recalls what evening this is?

"Hmm?" he responds, trying to hide a grin, but I see it. He *does* remember! I will not let on that I know he knows.

"Why are we here?"

"Tonight, Usako, I have rented out the embassy. We have the place all to ourselves."

He parks the car off to one side and we sit a moment in silence as I try to recover my voice and my scattered wits. "Y-you rented the ENTIRE place?! Mamo-chan, that must have cost you a fortune!"

"Not really," he murmurs, staring off into the distance. "They haven't much use of it now that the princess and her father have returned home. The only people left are the caretakers and they don't mind renting the place out for one night at a reasonable price to a couple of kids in love."

I really look at him then, dragging my eyes off of the huge manor. He had just said that we were in love, which was true enough, but he hadn't actually said that he loved me. Not in the way that I wanted him to say it. I sigh and he turns to look at me.


"I'm all right," I say. "I just can't believe that you'd go through all of that trouble for me." It is the truth, but not the whole truth.

"I wanted tonight to be special," he says simply, and my heart begins to race again. "It *is* our first date, after all."

"You're so romantic," I say, realizing just how hard he was trying to make tonight wonderful, and knowing that he was succeeding.

He turns to look at me. "Not enough." Then he gets out of the car and opens the door for me. Taking his hand, I step out.

* * * *

She will never EVER know exactly how nervous I am right now, because I will NEVER tell her. As I help her out of the car and lead her up the steps and into the estate, I have to fight to keep my hands from shaking. What if she doesn't like my surprise? What if she's disappointed? What if . . . ? But there is no more time for what ifs as we reach the huge ballroom doors and I push them open . . .

* * * *

I stare out at the beautiful ballroom. The lights have been skillfully dimmed to emulate silvery moonlight which reflected off of the crystal chandeliers and made beautiful patterns of light play about the walls and ceiling. The doors to the courtyard are open and through the huge glass windows I can see that a little round table has been set up, artfully draped with white silk. Two places have been set with real silver silverware, fine china, and crystal goblets. In the center of the table, a small crystal vase with one red rose rests, two white candles on either side.

I draw in a breath, then turn to look at him, wonder plain on my face. "What? How?"

"Do you like it?" He smiles a mysterious smile and moves to take my coat. I take it off dazedly, then watch his face in anticipation.

* * * *

I help her off with her coat, then can only stare thunderstruck at the dress that she is wearing underneath. It is long and flowing, white as driven snow, and bespeaks elegance and quiet grace. Nevertheless, it is as different in appearance from her princess gown as my tuxedo is from my armor. A silver necklace sets it off perfectly.

It was made for her and she looks as beautiful now as she did that night a year ago, and that night a millennia ago, when I truly realized for the first time that I loved her.

She is a princess all over again.

"You look . . . Beautiful doesn't do you justice. There is not a word that has been invented to do justice to the way you look, right now."

She blushes and somehow manages to look even more lovely.

As I look at her, I see that something is missing. Calling upon my power, I produce a red rose seemingly by magic. The vivid scarlet color contrasts with the white of her dress and the gold of her hair. I offer it to her with a flourish. "Would you care to dance, my princess?"

She takes the rose by the stem and smells it. "Of course, my prince."

I draw her onto the dance floor and as I do so music begins to play. I nod to the caretaker who started the tapedeck playing and he leaves discreetly. Now, it is just my princess and I.

Together we dance, our bodies moving in time with the music, with one another. Her eyes, they are shining with pure joy. I have never seen her happier. The look in her eyes, it made my insides feel lighter and it is as though the two of us are not so much dancing as we are flying.

And I am being held up by the wings of her love.

* * * *

I rest my head against his chest, safe and loved. It occurs to me that I have never felt this happy and I don't want this moment of the two of us to end. I don't want it to fade into the darkness as the last one did.

"Arigato," I whisper. I am so happy, why does my heart ache so? Why can I not be satisfied with the evidence of his love? Why must I torture myself hoping for . . .

He twirls me and I cannot help but laugh, this evening has been too perfect to be real. There is only one thing lacking . . . The one thing that I have longed with all my heart to hear. The one thing spoiling this evening for me.

We dance and I concentrate on my love for him and nothing else.

* * * *

As we dance, I turn suddenly and she falls into my arms, laughing. As I hold her, it suddenly occurs to me how small and delicate she really is. She has such an infinite capacity for love, it hardly seems that a heart the size of the one she possesses could fit into her tiny frame. But I know that it can, for it does.

She is a miracle to me, a wonder, the one girl who has ever truly loved me and made me love her in return. I cannot live without her, and all I want is to hold her forever, to keep her safe forever, but I know that I cannot. For now, though, she is safe in my arms. I will hold onto to her for as long as I can, for as long as she'll let me.

She looks up at me through her lashes, tears starring the ends of them, and says in a wondrously happy voice, "Mamo-chan . . . This has been so wonderful. Nothing could have made tonight any better, except . . ." She trails off and looks away as though in regret, but I know what it is that she wants.

This instant, her wish is as plain on her face as her heart is open to mine. If I did not know her as well as I do, I would not have known how much it was hurting her, not knowing. I will do nothing to hurt her. Her happiness is my happiness, her pain my pain, and this pain has gone on long enough.

I tip her face so that I can gaze into the inifinite depths of her sky-blue eyes. "I know, Usako," I say softly. "I know." Then I bend and kiss her full on the mouth with all of the love that is trapped within my heart and as I pull away from her I whisper the words that she has most wanted to hear . . .

"Aishiteru, Usako. Forever."