August Third 2016 (Mamoru Chiba)

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August Third 2016 (Mamoru Chiba)
Date of Cutscene: 03 August 2016
Location: Tokyo Prefecture, a cemetery in the countryside.
Synopsis: The day that Mamoru Chiba has been six, every year, for as long as he could remember. Now that he can remember something else, and his life is so very different, he's finding it hard to be six -- or eighteen.
Cast of Characters: Mamoru Chiba

He'd come there so early this year. He hadn't slept since he left the note on his pillow, the note for her, saying he'd gone out, saying he needed this day again, saying he was sorry.

"...yeah, I have a girlfriend. Who knew, right? She's the princess I was always dreaming about. Literally. And she showed up at midnight and I didn't know what to do. What to do with that. I hope I didn't screw up. She meant well. I just-- you know how I am about today."

Mamoru's sitting on the grass, a little bit sunken, in front of a stone with two names on it. Idly, he scrubs at his eyes. And then his face is wet anyway, and he scowls and scrubs at them harder. "I've got a boyfriend, too. Apparently you knew who he was. I've finally got them all back. All my guys. The others. That you were taking me to meet."

And then his head's in his hands, his elbows on his knees, and he's talking through his teeth as he hides his face from the rising sun. "And her. You knew about her, too. I bet you didn't know I'd meet her that week, huh? She came to the hospital with her dad. That was her. Her little brother was born. I'll have to tell him happy birthday. She gave me a rose. Funny, isn't it? And you remember Fiore, the boy I told you about when I turned seven. He came back too. And he died, and now he's a rosebush. One of my roses. Mako-chan made it grow, but it's from the place you were trying to--"

His voice breaks, and his head slides down in his hands until it's between his knees and his hands are gripping his hair, and he's not silent, but he doesn't have words for a few minutes.

When he does, it's his shirtsleeve that's damp, and his voice is calm, conversational, and the dew is starting to evaporate off the grass. "I don't really even know who you are. But you took care of me. And I loved you. And that's enough, isn't it? You don't have to be my parents to have been my parents. Even if I was your prince. And it's better now that I remember you. Now that you're not made up, people I made up, tacked on to faces in a blurry snapshot. People I put together from passport stamps and books and newspaper articles. And I've been catching you up every year. So I don't have to reintroduce myself--"

And his chin crumples, and this time he looks up at the sky, silent until he can speak steadily. "But-- I will."

Another moment of breathing until it's not ragged edged. "My name is Endymion."

He takes another breath, less shaky. "I have my Shitennou back, and they have their palaces back, because the Princess and her Senshi saved us and defeated Beryl and the monster from the sun. And I finally made it to 18."

It's both true and ridiculous, and it helps him breathe easier. "And I'm also Mamoru Chiba, and I have friends, and I have people I love, and who love me. And everything is different. And everything is better than it's been for so very, very long."

And then his teeth clench and he digs the heels of his hands into his eyes again, hair falling over his face as he bends his head once more, and the sky turns as rosy as Zoisite's garden as gold breaks over the mountaintops and floods the greenery with vivid light. The breeze rustles the leaves in the cemetery and it ruffles his black hair.

His voice is very quiet, very honest, and it's almost lost to a sob again. "And I finally-- really-- miss you. Actual you. Real you. I remember you."

Later, when it's not dawn, he'll go back and pick Makoto up, and they'll have their breakfast picnic, and he'll introduce her to them. She's the one who'll understand without his having to explain, who'll understand without pitying, who'll understand without trying to comfort him.

Later still, he'll do the rest of the day out of order -- ride around the countryside on his bike, take stock, be alone with himself. He'll think about doing the things he always figured he'd do if he ever managed to get his birthday right-- but he probably won't. Maybe next year. He won't cry after this.

He won't.

This day is for only crying where ghosts can see. After all, what has he got to cry about? When everything is finally so real it seems even more like a dream than the dreams he used to have, the dreams he has now?

For a moment, he can almost feel their arms around him.

That's enough, too.