By Hokushin


Disclaimers: SM doesn’t belong to me. Rights reserved to Naoko Takeuchi. And…whatever else I need to put here…. =\


Simple Love


A week later, Usagi called each of them, excited by the letter she received from Minako, postmarked from Paris, France. She told them to go to her house immediately. Makoto grumbled when she picked up the phone that evening and heard the shrill voice of her best friend. “Yes, Usagi? Now? Oh… all right. Be there in a twenty if I feel like moving.” Makoto slowly hung up and yawned as she had been taking a nap. She pulled herself off the couch and arranged her clothing into a modicum of neatness.

          She arrived at Usagi’s in twenty-one minutes, purposely standing outside for a minute without reason- just there, hoping to spite Usagi with that one minute. She noted with some consternation that she was the last one to arrive. Ami gave her a brief welcoming glance from behind her textbook. Makoto gave her the same glance she did everyone else: a dull, listless gaze. Ami could tell that she was sleepy.

          “So what did Minako say?”

          “Well, I haven’t opened it yet. We were waiting for you,” Usagi replied. Now, she eagerly tore the envelope open and read aloud its contents:


          Hey Guys!

Shibaraku! Everything is just wonderful here! I had almost forgotten how beautiful and peaceful the scenery is in Europe. You guys make sure to visit me soon! It’s lonely here even though I have Artemis with me. Mako-chan! Send some of your cooking my way, please! There isn’t a Japanese restaurant within miles from me! You should start a restaurant here, my agent tells me the chefs of France get paid almost as much as doctors. How is everything over there? Anymore youma? 

I have an apartment! It’s not those small ones…I have an entire flat! Can you believe it? And I’m up near the top, though there isn’t much of a view. Other buildings block most of the view. I’m sitting right at the window right now. A slight rain is picking up. I hate it when it rains here! The sky is always an ugly gray and it destroys my shopping atmosphere! You cannot believe how huge a department store just for shoes is! Yes, Usagi, a whole building full of shoes!

My first day here, my agent took us around town. That day was so funny… but I’ll tell you guys about that in person, (hint, hint). Oh by the way, I’ll send you my phone number when I get the chance and, if you are reading this, you’ll have my address.  

My career is really beginning to pick up now. My schedule for the next few months is beginning to fill up fast. I haven’t done much anything in public yet, but my agent says I’ll be ready for the runway in a few months! I can’t wait! I really have to thank Ami this time. I’ve only been getting a few hours sleep a night, but I guess I’m used to Ami always pushing us to study. With that in mind, the company managed to enroll me in a liberal arts college here. I won’t even try to spell it out. I’m majoring in fashion design.

I have to go now. Alas the busy life of a model! This is too short; I’ll write soon I promise. Don’t worry about me you guys; I’m doing just fine. Miss you all: Usagi, Ami, Rei and Mako-chan. Luna too! Artemis says ‘hi’. À bientôt! Oh yeah! I have a personal language coach! Isn’t that neat? 


Aino Minako                2002.11.13

                    P.S. Look for me in magazines!  


          Usagi passed the letter around so they can read it once more if they wanted to. “Sounds like she’s off to a good start in life,” Makoto commented wistfully. “Let me just copy down that address.” Rei handed her the envelope. The rest followed in writing down Minako’s address. “I feel like celebrating! Let’s go somewhere.”

          “Celebrating? What for?” Usagi asked.

          “For Minako of course!”

          “Except that she’s not here, remember Mako-chan? She went to France.”

          “I know,” Makoto replied, grinning happily. “But I’m just happy and I feel like celebrating something!” Makoto eyed Ami for a moment.

Ami grinned and gave Makoto a speculative look. “Weren’t you just ‘Miss I-Woke-Up-on-the –Wrong-Side-of-the-Bed’?  And now you…”

Rei smirked. “That is a good idea. I’m kind of hungry at the moment.”


“To Minako!”  They all repeated the cheer as glasses of drinks were quickly emptied by all but Ami who slowly sipped at hers. This Sunday night found the group at a classy but not too expensive restaurant in Shibuya-ku. Empty dishes were being cleared away even as they were speaking in their joyous sentiment. Makoto relaxed back into her chair and relaxed, relishing at the thought that she wasn’t clearing any tables that night. She was almost sad that their get-together was almost ending. Usagi had even managed to convince Mamoru to come along. Luna and Artemis were at the back alley scrounging for scraps like “alley dogs” as Luna had proclaimed. For once they were all quite assembled, which was rare these days with everybody’s career and education taking off so fast that left most of them with little room to breathe.

They were lucky, she mused, most friends broke contact with each other with the exception of a few e-mails or letters or phone calls in the first year after high school. But then again, their closeness was obligatory, unfortunately. Otherwise, they would have all dispersed to the four corners of the world already. “Forget you, hello future!”  Makoto was sure that all seated around the table that night have wondered her exact same thoughts: would they be such good friends still if it wasn’t for their duties as senshi and to the future princess of Crystal Tokyo? Would they still be smiling and laughing and toasting a friend thousands of miles away if not for that obligation? Would Ami have left for Germany so many years ago and be on a fast track to becoming a world class doctor? Would Rei have already taken her place besides her grandfather and focused all of herself to her duties at the shrine? Would Minako have stayed in Britain and become that international superstar that she’s always dreamed to become? Would Usagi have…well Usagi was unique in her abilities and would have become someone forthcoming in the world. And…would Kino Makoto have been left wanting a nice quiet life baking for the children of a city? Or would she have suffered the loss of her parents and the loss of herself if not for these people around her that night? Makoto didn’t want to think about it.

Somebody tapped her gently, pulling her out of her silent reverie to look at Ami’s earnest face. “Hey,” she said.

“Hey yourself.”

“We’re all about ready to leave you here Mako-chan,” Usagi commented, “with you so deep into your thoughts.” Usagi grinned when Makoto looked confused and then apologized. “Come on! Mamoru said we could get some ice cream!”

“Sorry guys. I spaced out, huh?” Everyone nodded. Makoto finished her drink and stood up. “So who paid the bill?”  Several pairs of eyes contained hints of amusement and then glanced at Mamoru. Makoto heartily thanked him as they left the restaurant. They picked a random street and started to walk down it, hopefully running into an ice cream shop on the way. They didn’t, much to Usagi’s dismay. Mamoru consoled her the best he could and offered to take her for ice cream when they got back to Minato-ku.

And of course, when they did manage to get back to Minato-ku, the ice cream shop was closed. Usagi complained about the ungodly hour that they closed. From there they’d parted ways: Mamoru escorting Usagi home, Rei, Ami and Makoto in another. They left Rei at the shrine and continued towards Ami’s house. They walked silently side by side. The evening, to put it simply, was quite eventful…in a simple way.

About a half an hour later, they stood in front of Ami’s house. “Well, here you are mademoiselle, I believe this is your destination.” Makoto grinned when she tried her best at the French title, leaving Ami to flush red hearing the French language being destroyed so by the mouth of Kino Makoto. Politely, she kept quiet and flashed a smile of her own. “Good night Ami,” Makoto said and waited a small distance down the street, turning around only when she was sure that Ami was safely inside. Her mother was home tonight- that’s good.


Nearing the room of her apartment, Makoto felt the warmth of her blankets around her and the soft cushiony feel of her mattress under her, soothing aching muscles. When she opened her door, she found Shinosaki and little Makoto standing inside. Makoto had given him a spare key when she became little Makoto’s guardian.

“Hello…it’s nice seeing you,” she had greeted, then whispered following, “I think…”

Makoto was finally able to settle down into her bed a few hours after midnight, after she had console a distraught Shinosaki and put his little one into bed. She was hoping to sleep in late that Sunday, but with a late night guest, she couldn’t really do that. Makoto turned in to at least get the most amount of sleep she could before the morning.


Shinosaki’s wife passed away later that night, closer to morning. Makoto received a call around four o’ clock that morning from Shinosaki saying that his wife’s most recent treatment went bad and her prospects for living weren’t good. Shinosaki begged Makoto to tell his daughter, feeling that he could not adequately explain death to a child. Now, Makoto was getting ready to take Little Makoto to the hospital, where Shinosaki would explain, not her.

“Are we seeing mommy now?”

“No, dear…we’re gonna visit daddy, okay?”

The girl’s dejection showed on her face. Makoto knelt down beside her and said, “hey…” Makoto tilted her head.

“We’re not gonna see mommy?”

Makoto whispered, “No…sorry.” The girl’s eyes shined brightly and Makoto had to smile softly, remembering a similar conversation such as this one in her youth. “Come on, your dad’s waiting for us.” Makoto took her little charge by the hand and started on their way again. Some time later, she decided it would be better to carry the young child. It would be better for the both of them for the physical contact akin to a very long hug as they found a taxi that took them to the hospital.

Shinosaki looked haggard where he sat waiting for his daughter. His hair was in disarray as well as his usually neat clothing. His eyes were dark and his face was grim. His daughter ran straight into his limp arms. “Hi there,” he said hoarsely, pressing his head against his daughter’s. He held on to her as if she was all he had left. Little Makoto is…or will be if not soon. Makoto eyed him as if to ask how his wife was doing. His gesture was small but it said all. She was dead. Feeling herself almost break out in tears seeing his face, she turned away. After a moment, she knelt down by Shinosaki and wrapped arms around them both. Damn, she thought. Damn. She looked up when she heard her name called.


Makoto stood up in surprise. “Mizuno-sensei!” She respectfully lowered her head in deference to Ami’s mother. “Good day.”

“Makoto, you know Shinosaki-san?” Makoto nodded. “Well, it’s nice to see you. I better be on my way now.” She placed a gentle hand on Shinosaki’s shoulder and whispered an apology. “Ami’s around here somewhere today,” Mrs. Mizuno added before leaving, heels clicking on the polished linoleum floor.

Makoto help Shinosaki stand up and led him to an indiscreet bench near a corner. Little Makoto sat on her daddy’s lap. “Where’s mommy?” she asked. Shinosaki retreated into his mourning, leaving her with no answer.

“Come here,” Makoto coaxed. Shinosaki’s daughter clambered onto Makoto’s lap in quiet disappointment.

A rough voice spoke out, it was Shinosaki’s, “Mommy’s gone.”

“Gone where?”

“Gone forever, dear… I’m sorry.” He drew Little Makoto from Makoto’s arms and gathered her into his own. He stayed there with his daughter in his arms for a long time. Makoto offered to find them some coffee from the kitchen. On her way into the elevator, Makoto yawned and bumped into someone on accident. She saw the familiar, unmistakable blue hair that belonged only to Ami.

“Mako-chan?” Ami asked in genuine surprise. “I don’t see you here often…”

Makoto gave her a sad smile. “Shinosaki…Shinosaki’s wife passed away not too long ago here.”

“I- I’m sorry…” Ami hid her initial shock at the sudden but expected death of Shinosaki’s young wife. Her mother had spoken about her to Ami with the intention of teaching Ami something. 

“Not your fault, Ami. It was just, her time I guess. I never knew her.”

“How is he?”

“Holding up, trying hard not to cry in front of Makoto. Hurting.” She rubbed her face, trying to get rid of the last vestiges of fatigue and sorrow for the she never knew but had caught hold of her best friend’s heart. “Where can a couple of people get some coffee around here, Ami?”  Like a tour guide, Ami raised an upturned hand in the general direction of the cafeteria and led Makoto there. Ami brought two cups of coffee and they sat at a table in the presence of nobody in the empty cafeteria.

“Thanks,” Makoto took her coffee appreciatively. “I didn’t know you worked here.”

Ami looked down slightly, but not quite in embarrassment. “Well…I don’t exactly. My mom convinced the hospital board to allow me to “intern” here so to speak. So sometimes on the weekends, she brings me here and I just work as her assistant or I do jobs that the hospital assign me; nothing like a professional thing. But it gives me that feel of being here.” She paused, giving Makoto an astute eye. Makoto had been staring. “What’s wrong?”

Makoto smiled warmly, “Nothing…just that you were rambling. Ami never rambles. You ramble only when you talk about something you really love. I can see you’ve a passion for the caring of people. It’s in your eyes. You’ll be a good doctor. I know it.”

“Like you and cooking?”

Makoto battled between a frown and a smile. Ultimately, she smiled, albeit with some restraint. Ami caught this but did not comment.

Makoto took a casual sip of her coffee and immediately set it down, a curse already forming on her lips. The curse, however, died on her scorched tongue. Ami leaned forward and inquired, “Are you all right?” When Makoto nodded, she pulled back, a tiny smile forming on her face. “Coffee is hot.”

“And you tell me this now?” Makoto blew at her coffee to cool it. Well, there goes my plans for breakfast, she thought with disdain, knowing her tongue wouldn’t like to taste anything with salt. She stood up and bought another coffee and juice. Turning to Ami she said, “Well, I better be delivering this now or I won’t get my tip. See you around, Ami.”

“See you.”


Makoto managed to coax Shinosaki out of the hospital and insisted on him spending the night at her apartment, trying to convince him that he shouldn’t be alone tonight. He politely declined and left to go back home, Little Makoto in his arms. Makoto then returned to her apartment to make breakfast, eat and then get ready to sleep until the sun sank below the horizon. She was that tired and nothing, she swore, would prevent her from getting some rest.

When she next opened her eyes, the sun had set and night had already settled. She gazed around dazedly, searching for her clock. It was just past her usual dinnertime. I should do this more often, she mused. She flipped the light switch in her kitchen and began to browse through her refrigerator; she noted with consternation that it was devoid of food that didn’t require cooking. Hungry still, she made her way to her living room. When she turned on the lights, she found a sleeping figure on her couch. Makoto went into the storage closet in her room and brought out a light blanket. After making sure the blanket was snugly pulled up to Ami’s shoulders, Makoto kissed her gently on the forehead and shut the lights. “This is becoming a familiar routine,” she whispered. She then retreated into the kitchen to prepare a simple meal for two.

Ami opened her eyes when she heard the small click of the kitchen door closing. She allowed herself to indulge in a tiny smile. She relished that tiny kiss for another moment and decided to go back to sleep. In all of her life, she felt the most secure at that moment. She had felt the same security as a child in her mother’s arms whenever she came home after another “bully” session with her peers from school. And now she was an adult, but she felt like a child still in need of that protective security but it was a feeling she did not wish to openly express.

It wasn’t until an hour later that Makoto deemed it about time to wake Ami up. She gently shook her awake. Ami woke with annoyance but acquiescently. She also frowned at Makoto’s bemused smile.

“Wake up, sleepy. Dinnertime. If you don’t eat now, don’t expect me to feed you ever.”

“Don’t be mean, Mako-chan,” Ami scolded gently, yet amiably. Makoto couldn’t help but pull Ami off of her couch; and much to her astonishment, Ami resisted. With a strength that was usually hidden in Ami, she tugged Makoto hard; the taller woman fell flat, her face buried in the carpet below the couch.

“Ow…” she groaned. “Tell me why, again, why I should continue to let you eat in my apartment if I have to put up with this?”


“Because what?” Makoto sat up, her warrior pride bruised at being knocked over by a smaller woman. Ami slid down onto the ground next to Makoto.

“Because-,” suddenly Makoto lifted Ami from the ground and then deposited her in front of her bathroom.

“Here, while you think about why, get cleaned up.” Makoto grinned. “I’m going to eat ahead of you, okay? Then you can tell me about your day and what excuse you used for me to find you in my apartment again.” Makoto smirked ruthlessly, turning Ami redder by the moment.

Ami came out a moment later, face washed and feeling refreshed. Makoto looked up from finishing her meal expectantly.

Ami averted her gaze, before looking back at Makoto. “What?” she asked, more blunt than usual. Her answer was a simple and short, “well?”

The smile Makoto received was too sweet, Makoto thought. She waited patiently.

“I left my keys with my mom at the hospital. I forgot to get them back before I left.” Before Makoto could interject with a sharp comment Ami continued to ask about Shinosaki.

“He’s…I don’t know. In all the years I’ve known him, he has never closed himself up to me the way he has now. I feel left out. I mean he’s my best friend. And all of a sudden, he leaves me out like I’m not a part of his family. Like the family he created for me by being like a brother to me.” A pause. “Oh, he’ll be fine. He can deal with it and I’m sure having Makoto there will help him. Let’s not talk about that. How was your day? I didn’t know you worked at the hospital.”

“I’m just tired. I saw a little girl today. She was in the cancer center… and she was telling her mom that she loved her. She asked her mom to not forget her.” Ami swallowed. “She was eight. I think…she was diagnosed with a malignant form of a tumor in her liver. She didn’t qualify for chemotherapy and her body was too weak for anything else. She was ready to die.” Ami paused and turned around looking away, keeping her emotions in check. “I swore to myself: I won’t ever let a patient of mine be ready to die. At least not without fighting.” Her fists were clenched tight and loosened when she felt Makoto’s presence around her. Ami leaned into Makoto.

“She’s a little samurai then,” Makoto commented gently. “Probably a descendant from Tomoe Gozen* herself. I’m sure in the future, all of your patients will have nothing to worry about and that they’ll be ready to live…”

Makoto snuggled against Ami’s neck and kissed her there gently. Ami just closed her eyes and let Makoto’s magic flow around her. She hated to see a little child give up so easily. But the child can’t be the one to blame. It was the doctors. They could have done something to instill a sense of hope into their patients.

Ami snaked her arm up and around Makoto’s neck. She twisted her neck around to face Makoto and gratefully received her lips with her own.




End Part V


A relatively short chapter, I know. It seems like I’m stretching this a lot without much plot. Don’t worry; I’ll work something in there. I have an ending in mind, but I just need the body. It’s just really hard writing a love story without ever actually having been in love. =\ I’m a more… action-oriented person, though this story doesn’t have much of that element.



Tomoe Gozen was one of the few examples of a true woman warrior in Japanese history. She was married to Kiso (Minamoto) Yoshinaka, who rose against the Taira and in 1184 took Kyoto after winning the Battle of Kurikawa. With the Taira forced into the Western Provinces, Yoshinaka began insinuating that it was he should carry the mantle of leadership of the Minamoto - a suggestion that prompted an attack by Minamoto Yoritomo. Tomoe faced the Yoritomo's warriors at Awazu alongside Yoshinaka, in a desperate fight in which Tomoe took a least one head. Tomoe was said to be among the last 5 people standing at the end of the battle. It is also said that Yoshinaka urged her flee. There are many accounts as to whether she fled or stayed with him. Some have written that she had fled to the east, others say that she did die in that battle. And another account says that she survived and became a nun. But before any of these possibilities occurred, she was said to have took the head off a Minamoto warrior, Onda no Hachiro Moroshige.

“The Heike Monogatari (Tale of the Heike, a war chronicle of the Heike clan in 13th century Japan) says this of Tomoe…

"…Tomoe was especially beautiful, with white skin, long hair, and charming features. She was also a remarkably strong archer, and as a swordswoman she was a warrior worth a thousand, ready to confront a demon or a god, mounted or on foot. She handled unbroken horses with superb skill; she rode unscathed down perilous descents. Whenever a battle was imminent, Yoshinaka sent her out as his first captain, equipped with strong armor, an oversized sword, and a might bow; and she preformed more deeds of valor than any of his other warriors."”
(Tale of the Heike, McCullough, pg. 291)

Source of information:  (compiled by F.W.S)

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