Disclaimer: I don't own Sailor Moon, nor any of the characters in this fic, we all know that.
Ami sat at her desk studying, occasionally checking her buddylist incase the alert she put on it wasn't working. Every time she looked at it she got more pissed. It had been more than a month since she last saw Nat, at first so many scenarios ran through her mind. She thought that Nat went on a trip for a little while and couldn't reach her. After two weeks of thinking that she worried that something horrible had happened to Nat and no one knew of her to tell her.
As of the last few days doubt and betrayal had broken into her cloud of worry. The unanswered emails, and never seeing Nat online anymore was getting to her. It wasn't long after Nat disappeared that Ami came up with another solution, but that one was too horrible to be true, so she tucked it away and never thought of it. Nonetheless it was looming around in her mind as a quiet voice and the longer Nat stayed away, the louder and more insistant it became.
Ami returned to her work, it startled her some minutes later when she saw little droplets of water on her books. It surprised her even more when she found a stream of it on her cheeks. Just then the full force of it hit her, the complete betrayal of trust, the lies, the hurting, the deception. "What else could it be?" she cried into hands. Her mind answered her question ‘nothing, Nat has been playing tricks on you for months, playing with your feelings, pretending to fall in love with you.' Ami gave a short laugh full of self loathing as another thought crossed her mind, ‘Nat probably wasn't even a woman.' Her sobs increased as she sat there and reprimanded herself for even falling love with someone she met on the net, ‘how could I be so stupid.'
Ami stood in front of Makoto's apartment door, double checking it with the address she had in her hand. The paper also contained a phone number, one that Ami did use, but, hung up before she got an answer. She thought the looooooooong drive from Kyoto to Tokyo would do her good. She was tired, but the drive would keep her mind off of Nat. Usagi's house was closer, but she didn't want to trouble her friend. Usagi probably had her hands full with Chibi Usa anyway. Minako was back in England and Rei lived even farther than Makoto.
It was 6 am when she finally stood in front of Makoto's door, she didn't know how she would be received considering she was unannounced and uninvited, she didn't even know if makoto was home. She knocked anyway because she had come this far, might as well go all the way. Besides the need to talk to someone about her problem with Nat was too overwhelming to ignore, ‘talking about it was the first step in getting over it' Ami's mind reasoned.
Makoto opened the door mid yawn, sleep still in her eyes. Ami instantly felt sorry when she saw the state of Makoto. She was about to express it, but was stopped by Makoto's words. "You don't have to apologize," she said pulling Ami in and closing the door. On Ami's questioning glance she answered "it doesn't matter how long we haven't seen each other Ami, it's still obvious when you want to apologize."
Ami only turned away, she didn't know how to answer, was it good or bad that she was so readable.
She didn't find the answer in the short time it took Makoto to speak again, "this is a pleasant surprise."
After hugging each other, Makoto invited her to sit on the sofa. The look of concern Ami saw on Makoto's face told her that the taller woman had noticed her red puffy eyes, and blotchy face. She was pleasantly stunned when she felt Makoto's hand on her cheek, "you wanna tell me about it?"
"That's why I came here," Ami answered behind a self-conscious laugh.
"Well, I'm willing to listen," she said gently stroking Ami's cheek with her thumb.
It was painful, but Ami started at the beginning without going into great detail. She told Makoto of meeting this woman in a chatroom, falling in love with her, then of her disappearance over a month ago. Ami neared the end her story with her scenarios and doubts, making it plain which she believed to be true. By the end she was in Makoto's arms feeling grateful for her support, and verbally beating herself up again for falling in love in the first place.
With her head on Makoto's wet shoulder she wondered out loud "how could Nat do this to me?"
Makoto thanked all who needed to be thanked for Ami not noticing how she froze. It was a natural reaction to what Ami just whispered "‘how could Nat do this to me?'" Taking a quick breath she relaxed and went back to holding Ami's shuddering body. The gears in her head started cranking as everything began to piece itself together, like a puzzle Makoto didn't even realize she had.
Azure is from Kyoto, so's Ami. Azure is in med school, so's Ami. The genius she suspected Azure to be, Ami was. Meeting in the chatroom, not seeing the other woman for over a month, Makoto knew without thinking that she blocked Azure more than a month ago. How could she forget? The most overwhelming piece of the puzzle was Ami herself; her words: "how could Nat do this to me?"
‘Damnit, I'm Nat,' Makoto's mind screamed. ‘And Ami's Azure.' As compelling as the evidence are Makoto still had to be sure, "what was the last thing the two of you talked about?"
Ami sniffed a little and answered without looking up, "just everyday stuff." With another sniff she added "she also wanted us to meet?"
That sealed any doubt in Makoto's mind as she sat gently stroking Ami's back.
"I realize it was probably a joke, but I can't help it. That doesn't make it hurt any less, my feelings for her aren't. They're plenty real." Ami said drying her eyes, she still wanted to cry but it felt as though she didn't have anymore to spill. She was too tired even open her eyes. All she did was listen as she heard Makoto say, "maybe Nat does love you Ami, and she just..." Makoto trailed off as she saw Ami's chest gently rise and fall, realizing the shorter woman was asleep.
She picked up the soft bundle in her arms and placed Ami in her bed. "Maybe she's just a fool" makoto whispered conclusively as she tucked Ami in and thought of what an idiot she's been.
Makoto clicked on the email that had been sitting in its own folder for over a month. If Ami was Azure, then how can she be this heartbroken over someone she feared. Makoto had a sinking feeling that she just spent a month hurting both herself and a woman who didn't deserve it. ‘Neither of us deserve this.'
You left before I could explain to you what I'm afraid of. Believe me, every fiber of my being wants to be next to you. I know how you feel, a pic would be paltry compared to having the real thing. I want to meet you, but I can't help be afraid of what you'd think of me when we do meet. I'm not saying that I'm unattractive, but we all have our own tastes, don't we? What if I'm unappealing to you? That terrifies me. I love you so much, it pains me to think of you're rejection if you don't like my looks.
I know we can't hide from each other behind a screen all our lives, that would be too painful. I've had to put aside fears before, and this will be one of them. I want to see to you. We'll talk more about it the next time we see each other.
Her throat got thicker and her heart was painfully heavy as she reread Azure/Ami's words. Makoto was melancholy as she lamented not reading the email the first time she saw it, maybe it could have prevented all the pain she and the woman in her bed were suffering. ‘How could I have been so stupid?'
Tired of feeling the agonize hurt her realization brought to her, Makoto made her way to her bedroom with intentions of explaining things to Ami. She was stopped however, as she thought that this was probably the first time since yesterday morning that Ami was getting sleep. She had driven all night, after all.
Staring at Ami, it hit Makoto for the first time: Azure IS Ami. She had realized it earlier, but they were still two different people up to now. One, the woman she loves, the other, a beloved friend. Now for the first time the two merged in Makoto's mind and she placed a face to her love. Ami. She was in love with Ami. Her heart swelled, and felt like there was an intensly pure light threatening to burst it.
Makoto smiled as she thought this was too good to be true. She was in love with Ami. Her smile grew wider as she realized Ami loved her too. This realization took her back to a time when she used to steal glances at the young girl Ami used to be. And how she used to spend solitary nights moaning Ami's name in ecstasy. It took more than almost nine years but she achieved Ami's love.
However, the circumstances of their relationship brought her back to the present. ‘She thinks I've spent all these months playing with her.' Climbing into bed next to her love she wondered ‘how am I supposed to get her to trust me again?'
She didn't sleep but spent the rest of the morning glancing over at the woman who held her heart, and thinking of ways to make it up to her.
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