Little Boy Lost
Posted: August 10, 2003
Happy Birthday, Mamo-chan! ^_^
This story was written for SMRFF’s annual Mamo-Day, in celebration of the birth of our favorite masked hero. Let’s give the man some love!
Little Boy Lost
As he peered down at the glowing crystal nestled in the palm of his hand, knowledge engulfed him.
And in his newfound knowledge, his world crumbled. Life as he knew it ceased to exist.
Chiba Mamoru was dead.
He was no more. In his place was the face of a stranger...a stranger familiar to everyone but himself.
He fell to his knees, feeling the damp earth seep through his pants, feeling pebbles tear at his legs, feeling discomfort, yet knowing it was nothing compared to the feelings ripping apart his heart.
His head spinning, he sank down further, bringing his hands to his head, clutching, trying to bring the swinging world to a halt.
He tipped back his head and howled in despair, no longer tied to the constraints of society, no longer concerned with appearances.
Who cared if anyone saw him lose his cool?
What did it matter?
His hands dropped to the ground, curling into fists against the dirt. He was ready to take his anger out on anyone stupid enough to come across him now.
The crystal cut into his palm, causing him to straighten his fingers and peer down at it. It was a vivid shade of orange, radiating a glow so bright, it made his eyes ache.
“The nijizuishou...” he breathed.
A surprised look crossed his face. Nijizuishou? The word sat foreign on his tongue, yet he knew its meaning.
Further proof that he was one of a select few.
And it was all this stupid orange crystal’s fault. He stared at it in disgust, formed a fist, and drew his arm back, prepared to toss it into the lake...but her face appeared, and his resolve flickered, then disintegrated completely.
If he destroyed it, he would never know the truth.
Who was he?
He thought he knew, but now? Not a clue.
He wasn’t Chiba Mamoru, apparently. And he sure as hell wasn’t Tuxedo Kamen.
So who was he?
He peered into the lake, watching his reflection ripple in the dark water.
No, not his reflection.
A white mask adorned the upper half of his face, shielding everything save for his azure eyes, though even they appeared shielded by the dark water. A black top hat sat on his head. While it was effective in hiding his ebony hair, it made him look positively ridiculous, like a man playing dress-up who really should know better this late in life.
Many superhero outfits bordered on ridiculous, but his truly crossed the line. After all, whoever heard of a hero dressed for a cocktail party? And in a tasteless tuxedo to boot!
Besides, Tuxedo Kamen? Please. Why couldn’t he have a daring name, a dashing name, a name created to make girls swoon rather than laugh?
What if he were to wake up tomorrow and dress in a different getup? He couldn’t be Tuxedo Kamen then, now could he?
Of all the males in Tokyo, why had he been chosen to become a superhero?
He didn’t want this. There were plenty of others out there who would leap to be like him—to be him.
So why him?
Her face flashed through his mind, remind him, enticing him...
Was all of this for her?
No. Just because he dreamed about her didn’t mean that she really existed. She was a figment of his imagination, after all. She was the form of his inner voice, letting him know that what his heart truly desired was to remember his past.
His inner voice just happened to have the form of a beautiful princess for some odd reason.
So it wasn’t for her. That left the unresolved question of who he was doing this for. Certainly not himself, for if he had been, then he would have known of his alter ego prior to today.
How long had he been carrying on this charade? He knew he had been blacking out a lot lately, but he never imagined it was to take on a second persona.
And yet, here was a case where reality once again proved to be stranger than fiction.
Well, he didn’t want this. He hadn’t asked for it. Now that he knew, he could reject it, couldn’t he? Of course he could. After all, Tokyo had the senshi. Why did she need him, too?
All he did was throw roses and spout bad poetry. What was so heroic about that? Absolutely nothing. He was nothing more than a wuss. A sissy, if you will.
No, he would not continue this charade. As of now, Tuxedo Kamen would cease to exist so that Chiba Mamoru could live once more.
I can’t stand to fly
I’m not that naive
Pain. He was being consumed by fire. He fell to his knees in agony, clutching at his head, trying to keep the pain from tearing him apart.
They wanted him, and had resorted to torture. He wouldn’t give in.
Bile at his throat. The pain intensifying, reaching an all-time high—
Then nothing. As suddenly as it had come, it vanished.
He had lost.
They had forced him to transform against his will.
I’m just out to find
The better part of me
So what now? Just because he was dressed like a superhero didn’t mean he was one. He didn’t have the heart of a hero. He had no purpose, no goal.
Well, fine, two can play at this game. Just because he was dressed like a hero didn’t mean he had to play the part. He would just stay here, just—
He clutched at his chest and grimaced. She was calling for him, begging for his help. God how he resented her.
If it wasn’t for her, he wouldn’t be needed.
Really, what did he do? Dive in halfway through the battle merely to whisk her out of harm’s way? Not to mention the fact that she was totally inept for battle, klutzing out every other minute and easily distracted.
Ah well. Might as well get this thing over with.
He stood and moved to the balcony. Already the pain had begun to diminish.
They were near the Crown. How did he know that? It was like he had radar or something. Talk about uncanny.
By the time he arrived, however, the battle was over. The senshi had claimed the crystal.
Fine. Let them keep the accursed jewel. He really hadn’t wanted it, anyway. After all, that would have involved him fighting for it…which was something he really didn’t want to do.
I’m more than a bird...I’m more than a plane
More than some pretty face beside a train and
It’s not easy to be me
And so it went, each battle more tedious than the last. Was he really a necessary figure in all of this?
He didn’t think so, especially after seeing this last battle. God, that was when he felt the most helpless of all. For once, the senshi had truly needed his help, but he had been too busy following red herrings to be of any assistance until it was too late.
Instead of finally being the dashing hero swooping in to rescue them, he had sat on the sidelines as a new senshi saved the day and took home the glory.
He had seen it in their eyes, heard their unspoken words. Why hadn’t he been able to save them?
He had seen her face, too.
It had been stripped of all hope, leaving nothing but despair.
A heartbreaking sight.
Wish that I could cry
Fall upon my knees
But he couldn’t save her, couldn’t save any of them. All he could do was nurse his wounded shoulder and watch.
But why did he care what they thought? They were both after the same thing, right? Just because they shared a common enemy didn’t mean that they themselves weren’t enemies.
Besides, right now he had more to lose than they did...After all, the Dark Kingdom didn’t know their identities, only his. He was the one whose life was in jeopardy.
But then, wasn’t he playing the hero again? Sacrificing himself to save them...to save her?
Why else had he agreed to this idiocy?
If he were more truthful to himself, he would have admitted that there was more to it than proving himself to be a hero. In reality, he would have gone to any lengths in order to remember his past.
Find a way to lie
About a home I’ll never see
Instinct told him that the crystals were the key. If he managed to obtain all seven nijizuishou, the ginzuishou would form, becoming the key to his past.
Isn’t that what his dreams had been telling him?
Either way, he was now at the mercy of his enemies. Where was the heroism in that?
A hand on his shoulder.
Pulled out of his reverie, he turned to face the golden-haired schoolgirl who stood before him once more.
Her eyes were large and doeful...and full of an emotion he couldn’t name.
“Are you alright?”
He blinked in surprise. What on earth had gotten into the girl? Since when did she care if he was alright or not?
“Yeah, I’m fine. Didn’t I just tell you to quit following me less than a minute ago?”
She held her palm up to his face for inspection. It was streaked in shades of crimson.
“My God, Usagi, what have you done to yourself now? That doesn’t look good at all!”
Usagi. Not Odango. Proof that he was too tense to tease her. Then again, she was hurt. It was the future doctor in him coming out to play. Nothing more, nothing less.
“I didn’t do anything to myself, you idiot! This is your blood.”
It may sound absurd...but don’t be naïve
Even heroes have the right to bleed
“My...” He trailed off and looked at her. Only two minutes ago, she had snuck up on him and...and...she had slapped his back, right where he had been wounded the night before by Zoisite.
God, but she was astute!
Lightning split the sky. Surrounded by harsh, white light. Blinding...
“Mamoru!? What’s happening!?”
Her voice called to him frantically. All he wanted to do was comfort her and say it would be okay...but what had brought on such an insidious urge?
He felt a sick, churning feeling in his gut and knew that the time had arrived.
Indeed, when the light had vanished, he no longer stood on the sidewalk, but was in the Starlight Tower with Usagi lying at his feet.
Hearing laughter, he looked up, glaring at the fiery-haired General floating above him in disgust.
“Zoisite,” he hissed.
“So good to see you again, Tuxedo Kamen. Did you bring the nijizuishou?”
“Show me yours first!”
A flat pillow appeared in the General’s hands, then floated into the air, coming to a rest between the two men. “You don’t trust me?”
“Of course not.”
With a deep sigh, five glimmering crystals appeared, situating themselves languidly on the pillow.
“Satisfied? Now it’s your turn.”
Reluctantly, Mamoru pulled out his crystals, setting them on the pillow. “Let’s get this over with.”
Before he had a chance to blink, another General appeared, and the pillow floated into his waiting arms.
“You tricked me!”
“Not at all. We need someone to guard them during our dual.”
“You lousy cheat!” Eyes glowing with hatred, Mamoru pulled a rose from midair and launched it at Zoisite, slicing his cheek.
Hissing in fury, Zoisite glared at Mamoru, holding his crimson cheek. “I was being fair. Someone had to play ring bearer...well, crystal bearer in this case. You want to play dirty, little boy? Fine. We’ll do it your way. Meet me at the top of the tower in the next five minutes, or both you and your little girlfriend will be burned to a crisp!” Turning on his heel, he vanished from the room.
Mamoru’s eyes narrowed. Girlfriend? What the hell...?
He stared down at the ground, watching as Usagi began to stir.
Why the hell had she decided to play nurse? With him of all people! After all, he was her sworn enemy. She hated him, right? So what had gotten into her?
But still…to have someone worry about you like that...well, it was kind of a nice feeling.
I may be disturbed...but won’t you concede
Even heroes have the right to dream and
It’s not easy to be me
What was he talking about? A nice feeling? Usagi?
A groan at his feet.
He bent on his knees and brushed the hair out of her eyes. “Are you okay?”
She glanced up at him and bit back a groan. “What...happened?”
“How did we get here?”
“The Dark Kingdom...see...this guy, he...”
“Mamoru?” Her eyes were dark with confusion. “Why were you arguing with him?”
A rumble in the distance. Louder, louder...
And then the world started to collapse.
Up, up and away...away from me
Well it’s all right
You can all sleep sound tonight
I’m not crazy...or anything...
Mamoru grabbed Usagi’s arm. “We need to get out of here!” He scanned the room, searching for a way out...but there was nothing...nothing but an elevator...
“This way, hurry!”
They ducked and dodged various pieces of ceiling, barely making it to the elevator before the room collapsed completely.
Once in the elevator, he leaned against its wall in relief. “Well, that was a close one.”
He observed the golden-haired girl standing before him, gnawing on the end of her pigtail. He really didn’t know a thing about her. Why hadn’t he taken the time to get to know her?
Because he’d always taken his teasing a bit too far, that’s why. And besides, why did he care now? Why did he want to learn more about her?
Well, that was an easy one. She was here because of him, right? She was concerned about him...despite the fact that he was a jerk. And how did he repay her? By leading her to almost certain doom.
I can’t stand to fly
I’m not that naïve
Maybe he should take the time to get to know her? After all, they were stuck in an elevator...and it was definitely better to be nice to her than to be mean.
And so he did...he talked to her like a real person...and she talked to him. She was so easy to talk to. It was almost...uncanny. He even told her about his childhood and his parents, which was something that he never talk about with anyone, not even Motoki.
What made her so easy to talk to? Why her? Why this girl?
A few minutes later, and he had his answer. It came in the form of a fiery ball heading down the elevator shaft...straight towards them.
Talk about panicking. What was he to do now? If he transformed, Usagi would know his alter ego. Not only would it put her in danger if an enemy were to find out, it would put him in danger if she accidentally mentioned the fact to the wrong person.
Besides, he’d never hear the end of it. She’d constantly tease him about the fact, he just knew it. After all, him a superhero? And in a tuxedo to boot! She probably found his alter-ego to be insidiously amusing, moreso each time she thought of him. After all, who wouldn’t? A hero in a tuxedo who could only spout bad poetry and toss girlie roses...
She would lord it over him forever. God, talk about a vexing situation!
Men weren’t meant to ride
With clouds between their knees
Alas, before he had the chance to weigh out the pros and cons, a miracle occurred before his very eyes. Usagi herself transformed...into Sailor Moon. The heroine he was always saving from almost imminent death.
Then again, how could he?
He turned to tilt his head at the blond. She was too young to take on so much responsibility. She was too full of life. Why did she have to experience so much death and destruction at such a young age?
They had reached the top of the tower now...and she was arguing with Zoisite.
He couldn’t let her do that, couldn’t put her in danger in order to save himself...
She had revealed herself to him. What kind of a ninny was he if he couldn’t do the same? Besides, the enemy already knew who he was...and now they knew who she was, too.
Again, she had been trying to protect him.
Yet all of this was his fault.
Squelching the pain that gripped his heart whenever she transformed, he knew what he had to do. Knowing this, he hurriedly proceeded to transform into Tuxedo Kamen. For the first time, he wasn’t at all resentful of the pain, of his lack of consent. Hell, right now he could even handle wearing this stupid costume.
I’m only a man
In a silly black sheet
He had to end this here and now, before anyone else got hurt…before she got hurt. Ignoring the shock on Usagi’s face, he turned towards his enemy.
“Your fight is with me, Zoisite. Leave her alone.”
“I’m ready and waiting, Tuxxie.”
“This is between you and me. She won’t hurt you, you won’t hurt her. Agreed?”
Why was it so important for her to remain safe? What was he doing? What was this feeling?
“Agreed.” Zoisite gestured towards the center of the room. “After you.”
Mamoru eyed him suspiciously. “Right...”
Digging for kryptonite on this one-way street
Only a man in a funny black sheet
Looking for special things inside of me...
He was so preoccupied with waiting for the General’s next move that he never noticed the crystal sphere heading towards him.
And then his world exploded into a blur of fuzziness as pain distorted his senses.
Darkness engulfed him as the light surrounding him faded away. He could see nothing.
All he felt was pain...
And then it was gone.
There was nothing.
But...where was he?
Inside of me...
There was a shaft of light in front of him, revealing an ocean. A girl stood along the coastline, her back to him. He recognized her profile. It was the princess who had always urged him to find the ginzuishou.
But...something was different. Why?
The whole atmosphere had changed. The moon overhead was brighter than ever. Instead of shadowing the princess, it illuminated her.
“So you’ve finally found me.”
He had? But, he was still dreaming...wasn’t he?
“It took you long enough, you know. I’ve been waiting for this moment for centuries. At last, Endy, we meet again.”
...Endy? She had been visiting his dreams for so long now...yet all this time, she had thought he was someone else. “Princess...my name...it isn’t Endy.”
“Oh, Endy...” She laughed, the sound tinkling sweetly over the murmur of the waves. “Now that you’ve found me, it’s time to remember your past. After all, you did play a very heroic report today in order to restore the ginzuishou and reunite me with it.”
She laughed again, then turned her head to face him.
And he saw her.
It was...her. Usagi. But...no. How could...little Usagi was the princess? But she was Sailor Moon. Why would a princess put herself in such danger every day?
And why was she Usagi? The one he loved to torment on a daily basis. She was always klutzing out, overeating, whining......She was nothing like a princess! And yet it was her.
And he was...glad? But why? He felt almost lightheaded, but had no clue why. All he could do was stare at her.
She stretched her hand out to him. “Endy...don’t you want to come play?”
I’m only a man
In a funny black sheet
Why did it hurt so much when she called him by another name? Why should he care if she wanted this Endy fellow and not him, Mamoru? Why did he care? After all, she was only a figment of his imagination...wasn’t she?
Alas, his feet had a mind of their own. They carried him towards her, closer, closer...
The waves lapped at his feet, soaking his shoes.
“Come on in, Endy, it’s ever so nice!”
“I don’t want—”
“This ocean...it represents your memories. Mnemosyne herself watches over it. Come play. Come remember.” She stepped further into the ocean. Water swirled around her ivory dress as she held her hand out to him once more. “Come, Endymion.”
Entranced, he went, grasping her hand and allowing himself to be pulled along, to be sucked into the water, to let it envelope him, caress him, claim him...
And it gave him back his memories. When he emerged from the water, he was dressed from head to toe in his old armor...and he knew exactly who he was...who she was...He knew. And she was a real person, not the illusion he had believed her to be. She really existed.
“She needs you, Endy.”
“But...you’re right here.” He stared at her, confused.
“I am only a projection of her. She wanted to find you. Her mind reached out to you, and yours to her. This is the only way we could meet until the ginzuishou was found. Yet now we are complete, Endy! Go to her, for it is to she whom you belong.”
And she was gone, never again to appear to him.
But did he want this? Just because Usagi was a princess he used to be in love with didn’t mean he was in love with her now. Sure, now he knew why he felt so protective of her earlier, but that wasn’t love...it was just nostalgia. Right?
Just because they had once been lovers didn’t mean they still were. After all, in this form, she rather despised him...and he rather liked tormenting her. How could he be expected to pick up where he left off as though everything were still the same?
It was as simple as that.
A sharp pull. He was being dragged away from the shore, back to the darkness...back into the light.
His eyes opened slowly.
A figure loomed above him. He recognized her profile. The princess. No, Usagi. And as his vision cleared, it was her, looming over him with tears trailing her face, clothed in her princess gown and clutching him in her lap.
“Mamoru…oh god, thank God...” She bent over him, crying, her tears lapping at his skin. “You’ve come back to me. I don’t know what I would have done if you’d...If you’d...”
She was crying. Because of him. Not because of Tuxedo Kamen, not because of Endymion…because of him, Chiba Mamoru.
What was he to do?
Why was she crying? She hated him! Didn’t she? Surely she didn’t love him...And if she did, she loved his past self, not him. How much more fickle could you get?
Only a man looking for her dream...
His hand reached up to brush at her tears. He still couldn’t get over it. Crying. Because of him. And now he was brushing her tears, as though it were the most natural thing on earth. Traitorous hand.
“You’re really all right. Oh, thank God!” She clutched him tighter.
What to do, what to do...
And why the hell did this confuse him so damn much?
The light surrounding her faded. He felt himself being pulled back into the darkness. He heard her scream, felt her arms, felt...nothing.
She was gone.
Rather, he was gone.
He was in a world devoid of all light.
A shadowed figure pulled away from the blackness to approach him. He couldn’t make out any features whatsoever, only blackness.
“Chiba Mamoru...you’ve come to find out who you are?”
The figure’s voice was rough. It boomed across the vast blackness with the slightest of echoes.
“She did not tell you the whole truth. She only told you one half of it. There is more to her than meets the eye, Mamoru. She is a siren bent on your destruction. She wishes to possess your heart, then mangle it until there’s nothing left.”
“Alas, she does. Why else would she be so mean to you on a daily basis? Why else would she come to taunt you in your dreams, yet never give you your memories, even though she knew who you were and could easily tell you? Why else would she expect you to return to what she says you once were? Are you going to simply take her word for it? Where’s the proof that she’s hasn’t given you false memories?”
“Did you remember any of this before today? A shred of it?”
“And yet you believe her unconditionally.”
“I didn’t say that, no. But...I don’t believe you, either.”
I’m only a man in a funny black sheet...
“You don’t know who to believe. What to believe. I promise you now, I shan’t give you a single false memory, Mamoru. I can help you retreat within yourself and find your own memories, but I cannot create them for you.”
“How can you do this?”
“My lady has a machine that hypnotizes and will allow you to retreat into your own mind and find your own memories for yourself.”
“And what if I say no?”
“Then I return you to the one who has been manipulating you, and she will manipulate you further. You will marry her and make the biggest mistake of your life. Reject me now and you have cast your own grave, Mamoru.”
And it’s not easy...
“It is.” The figure rested a hand on Mamoru’s shoulders. “It was she who decided that you would be Tuxedo Kamen. It was she who cast the spell that transformed you into a hero in a tuxedo. It was she who made it so that you experience pain every time she needs your help. You have no control of your destiny, Mamoru. You never have. She’s been manipulating you from the start. If you could only remember, you would know.”
No, no, no...
“Okay, I’ll try this hypnotizing machine thingie.”
It’s not easy...
“Are you certain?”
The figure held out its hand and Mamoru slowly placed his own into it, immediately becoming consumed by the darkness.
Chiba Mamoru was dead. He was no more. In his place was the face of a stranger...a stranger whose face would have chilled him to his very bones. A stranger without a soul. A blank slate.
The enemy had won. They had seduced him to the darkness through trickery, and his life would never be the same again.
And...that’s the end, folks! After all, y’all already knows what happens next, so why rehash the obvious? Then again, it was awfully hard for me to write a lot of this...hence why I didn’t finish ‘till the day it was due...so please do pardon its roughness!
It’s hard to write in such a clichéd time period when you’re trying to write about something and don’t feel like rehashing certain scenes...so I sorta glossed over them. Sorry. Well, not really. ^.~ LOL
Anyways, the song was called “It’s Not Easy (Superman)” by Five for Fighting. And yes, I do realize that the song says RED sheet, not BLACK sheet, but black fit better, so I used it...Sue me now, lol. Either way, neither the song nor the characters/situation of this fic belong to me. Woe is me! ::faints dead away:: Wasn’t the song a perfect match, though? I’m really pleased with how the words worked perfectly with the parts that they were inserted into. It blends well and adds an extra dimension to the fic that crystallizes what Mamoru is going through. This story wouldn’t be the same without it.
Hope y’all enjoyed it at least a smidge!
Like it? Hate it? I’m the one to talk to! Hit the little review button or Email email@example.com today!