August Third 2015 (Mamoru Chiba)

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August Third 2015 (Mamoru Chiba)
Date of Cutscene: 03 August 2015
Location: Mobile
Synopsis: The day every year that, no matter how old he gets, Mamoru's still six.
Cast of Characters: Mamoru Chiba

He'd texted Miss White the night Madoka got dragged into a Witch fight, the night he talked to Kyouko and came into the possession of some disturbing information about her: a simple 'I need to ask you some stuff'. Not even a 'we need to talk'. He hasn't heard back yet, but, well -- he almost wasn't expecting to. So many of the people he was running into, was meeting, was getting invested in -- so many of them have secrets so much worse than his.

The past few days, Mamoru's been avoiding people in general, but talking to Madoka if she's needed to talk, texting people back if they texted him, facilitating anything he could facilitate without actually dealing with anyone in person if he could help it--

--and today he's silenced his phone, warning the people who might look for him that he'd be unavailable.

He couldn't turn it off entirely. He couldn't lose anyone else.

This morning he'd made coffee instead of going out and buying it to go: made in his own french press, meticulously ground and measured and steeped for exactly the right amount of time. He absently gazed at his kitchen table while he waited, and he thought about cake everywhere, about laughing and blushing, about warmth and welcome and comfortable familiarity, achingly strange. Coffee finally ready, he'd padded barefoot through his empty living room, remembering his shock at seeing Sailor Moon standing out there, waving at him.

Drinking the coffee out on the balcony brought the mental image of the worst ninja and the protective fire senshi, one protecting him and one protecting the one actually worth protecting. The walk back to the kitchen brought the recollection of the boy from his study group who'd found him in the woods and called for help, the boy with the beautiful fighter in red in his dreams somewhere. Dreams called to mind his own dreams, and the Princess who never stopped asking for his help, whose tears he wanted to brush away, who used to be the one to comfort /him/ in the dark night when he was small and alone-- and dreams called to mind the girl who rode through his and brought out a rose, and met him without him remembering--

--and not remembering took him back to today and the todays that happened every year. Who did she meet? What was he like? Who was he?

Mamoru sat back on his motorcycle, putting on his helmet, alone with his thoughts and a backpack. It's not worth thinking about as unfair anymore, he reminded himself silently. It's not worth wasting the time. But when every hospital waking brought back the hollow emptiness of his first memory, and when every other waking brought with it the ghostly cobwebs of promises in dreams, and when no waking ever brought a sense of self? He couldn't just dismiss it, he had to remind himself, /convince/ himself to move forward.

So he moved, motorcycle roaring to life and peeling out of the garage, then driving attentively through the busy city traffic, out toward the highways.

Usually August 3rd was a routine: as soon as he'd been old enough, he insisted on going alone, and they let him, because he never asked for anything and was always studious and well-behaved. As soon as he lived alone, he planned his days out to the minute until the late afternoon, when he'd go there with some self-indulgent food and offerings for them, and just spend the rest of the day imagining, talking, trying to make sense of any of his life at all. Telling them about her, because they were the only ones he could trust not to judge him for it.

This year there's no routine. This year he's too unsettled, too offbalance, to even remember what he usually does. This year there are people he cares about, real people, flesh and blood people with needs and terrors and beautiful hearts, wounded or full, people he actually wants to help, people he /likes/-- and the person he'd do anything for, give anything to see safe and whole and smiling. It's complicated and it's inexplicable and he's sure he can trace the care, the investment, all of it -- he can trace it all back to her. To one of them, anyway. Maybe both.

As he drives, his mind effortlessly glides away from the topic of Usagi Tsukino, and he tries to blank it, to focus only on the miles his tires are inhaling. He's going there early. He needs to be alone with their indistinct photograph and their graves and what little he's been able to put together about their lives from newspaper articles, passport stamps, calendars and inherited books. He needs to tell them about her. He needs to catch them up with the well of strange his life has become since last year. He needs to imagine what they'd say to him, he needs to believe he's actually their son. He'd like to think they'd be proud of him, if only they'd lived on that today that happened eleven years ago.

Mamoru Chiba needs to try, one more time, to get his birthday right.