"Hm?" He opens one eye cautiously, still on the cusp of sleep.
"Do you think it was our Shangri-La?"
He wakes up fully now, started by the foreign word and sudden seriousness. He sits up in bed and looks at her lying on her stomach, the smooth plane of her back fully exposed in the half-light. Her face is turned the window, tilted toward the long dead satellite in the sky.
Mamoru sighs too quietly for her to hear and slides forward, wrapping her in his arms. Her skin is chill. "What do you think?"
He hears the frown in her voice. "I have more memories of then now. Of parties and music lessons and... well, more parties. I don't know why we had so many."
Mamoru chuckles, nibbling her shoulder. "I guess your mother was a party animal."
She swats him away, but she giggles too. "Hush."
"As you wish, Princess."
Usagi rolls her eyes. "Silly, Mamo-chan." For the levity he's given her, the gravity returns, like the tide coming back in. "I remember horseback riding with Jupiter. We used to hunt unicorns - not to kill them of course. Just to see. They always came to me."
This does not surprise him in the slightest.
"Mars tried to teach me to meditate, but I wasn't good at it even then. Mercury handled all of the academic stuff, of course, but she took me swimming in the oceans too. The waters were silver and full of fish that shined. And Venus...."
He raises an eyebrow at her hesitation. "Do I want to know what she taught you?" He pauses. "Then again, maybe I do. Just don't tell me where you learned it."
She grins, a little wicked, but a blush stains her cheeks. "You're terrible."
"I'm barbaric, remember?"
There's a sudden sadness in her eyes. "That's what I mean. So much of it seemed perfect, but how could it be if we thought that of Earth? Even I said those things before I learned better."
Mamoru doesn't want to see her upset, but he doesn't understand where this is coming from. "We knew it wasn't Utopia - Shangri-La - no matter how much it tried to be. Why does it matter now?"
Usagi fiddles with the ends of her hair, dropping his gaze. "Because we're supposed to build Crystal Tokyo in its image."
Now it all makes sense. The weight of her words takes a moment to sink in. In the end, it settles on his chest, and for a moment, his heart aches with the echoes of a poisoned Elysian. He tastes blood in his mouth.
"Mamo-chan?" Usagi asks, sensing his distress. "Are you--"
"Yes," he mutters, holding her tighter. "Yes, I am."
She's still frowning. "You see it too, don't you? That we shouldn't - we can't. The perfect worlds never work. What's the saying? Pride..."
"Pride cometh before a fall," he finishes.
They lay in silence, and for a moment, the light of the moon seems to weaken, and he remembers when the sun was blotted out by a great shadow. He remembers screams and crumbling marble. The betrayal of his four closest friends. The sword in his back and the knowledge that Serenity would not be far behind him.
How often he had heard those words. They had never been more meaningful.
"So am I," he confessed.
"Do we have to?" she asks. "Do we have to build another paradise? I'll rule if I have to, I'll even take my mother's name... but to try and make it perfect... I don't want to do that. I want to do what I can to make people happy, but no more Shangri-Las. No more glass castles."
He knows he probably shouldn't make promises. Certainly, Setsuna will have something to say about this, and the other girls might want to weigh in as well. But really, it isn't their decision. Usagi is the one with the power of the Ginzuishou, and Earth is his domain. It all comes down to them.
"No more glass castles," he agrees.
Her eyes sparkle under the stars as she turns beneath him. Her arms wind around his neck, and she arches to pull him close. He breathes her skin and everything seems better. "Thank you, Mamo-chan."
They lay entwined listening to the street noises down below. Perhaps she is contemplating the consequences of this decision like he is. But right before she drifts off to sleep, she whispers in his ear.
"This is my Shangri-La."
She goes to sleep with a smile on her face, and after awhile, he does too.