By Hokushin


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




Makoto felt uneasy. Though Little Makoto was but a child, Makoto understood certain betrayals she herself had experienced. She knew how it could possibly affect the child’s relationship with her father as well as with Shinosaki’s friends. Makoto did not want the child to grow up with such a cautious heart during her childhood as she had.

            Ami leaned over and whispered, “The kiss didn’t mean anything right?” Makoto nodded. “Then she’ll understand.” Makoto glanced at Ami’s honest eyes for a brief moment before she looked away shamefully. She focused on Shinosaki’s daughter. Ami sighed and gripped Makoto’s hand harder, avoiding Shinosaki’s observation of their closeness. Ami hesitated on believing that Shinosaki might accept their relationship easily and restrained herself from showing the depth of her love and friendship for Makoto. Though it was quite obvious.

            Suddenly, the pressure around her hand lessened as Makoto released her hold and knelt a small distance from Little Makoto.

            “Makoto-chan…” Makoto spoke carefully and softly to the little girl who sat with her legs crossed and her arms folded crossly across her chest. Her face wore a mix between a frown and a pout that Makoto found irresistibly cute. She suppressed a smile as she focused on the matters at hand. “Are you mad at me, Makoto-chan?”

            The girl shook her head unconvincingly. Her pout grew deeper as her frown lessened. She just couldn’t keep her anger for long. But she was still mad. “You said you wouldn’t!” Her anger built up again. No, not anger. Grief…

            Makoto kept silent and tried to reach out for the child’s hand. It was brusquely shaken away. Her head began to throb, just in the space above her eyes. Shinosaki gave her a short, curt reprimand but Makoto interjected, saying that it was quite all right. Little Makoto had a right to be mad.

            “You said you wouldn’t! Now mommy is gone and it’s all your fault!”

            “Oh Makoto-chan…”

            “Now, Makoto,” Shinosaki started. Ami stopped him with a commanding shake of her head. He quietly obeyed. He felt a certain power emitted from her as well as Makoto that he felt should be yielded to. He could not fathom why though or the type of power they held.

            “Daddy don’t want me anymore! He’s always spending time with you! You promised, Mako nee-chan! You said so….” Her outcry disintegrated into a soft sob.

            “Oh Makoto-chan,” Makoto breathed. “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. Your daddy,“ she glanced at Shinosaki, “loves you very much. He would never leave you: he loves you so much Makoto.”

            Shinosaki knelt down next to his daughter. “It’s not Makoto’s fault, Little One. If anything, it’s my fault. Please don’t blame Makoto for this. I’m sorry…I wasn’t able to help mama.” Shinosaki looked pleadingly into the child’s eyes.

            “Mommy isn’t coming back?” Shinosaki shook his head. “Never?” Again, he shook his head. Little Makoto shifted her eyes from her father to Makoto. The anger had disappeared and left no trace.

            Makoto spoke quietly, “Your mommy isn’t really gone, Makoto-chan…She’s here with you now. You may not be able to see her but she is here: in your father’s heart…in your heart…in you. She’s still with you, so don’t you believe that she is gone forever.”

            “But daddy said…”

            “Your daddy is an idiot.” Makoto smiled.

            “So…if mommy is still here…will you promise again?” The small child looked at her with such depth to her that Makoto felt as if she were staring at an old soul. Her eyes shone brightly, free of any emotional hindrance that it took Makoto a moment to make sure that this was actually a four year old she was speaking to. In another instant, the child looked so ready to trust again, almost as if it were a yearning to forget the former betrayal. Makoto nodded and smiled, though she did feel sorry for Shinosaki and any other women whom he might fall in love with, having to deal with such a tenacious child. The child looked somewhat doubt and opened her mouth to say something but clamped it shut soon after. Ami had begun to nestle next to Makoto soon after she began her talk with Shinosaki’s daughter. Ami clamped her arms around one of Makoto’s and rested her head against her shoulder, lending her support. Shinosaki had not noticed.

            Ami sensed the doubt in the little girl’s eyes and then to ameliorate that, she slid her arms up to support the back of Makoto’s neck as she gently brought her into a kiss. It was short and sweet, but it proved its point. Little Makoto’s mouth rounded into a small ‘O’. Shinosaki was surprised but not entirely shocked. A small part of him had suspected the nature of their relationship since he’d seen how they interacted and the ways they acted in the presence of each other, although rather timidly at times.

            A smile alighted Little Makoto’s eyes and another tiny one grew on her face until she giggled heartily. “Daddy,” she stated with a profound sense of command. “Promise something?” He nodded as he took his daughter onto his lap and ruffled her hair. She swatted his hand in annoyance.

            “What is it?”

            Little Makoto was thoughtful for a moment and her mouth fumbled to form words. “Promise. You won’t take Makoto nee-chan away from Ami-san.” Shinosaki was bewildered for a moment but then he smiled and nodded his head enthusiastically, though there was a small look of uneasiness that glinted in his eyes.

            “How about something to eat musume-chan?” Little Makoto nodded vigorously. “Let’s go home shall we?” Again, the child agreed and Shinosaki thanked and apologized to Makoto for intruding again. Makoto brushed it off. Shinosaki picked his daughter up and, for the first time in a seemingly long time, he smiled. Makoto closed the door behind her when Shinosaki and his daughter disappeared down the stairs.

            “I don’t think she is that angry anymore…” Ami said.

            “Not after that stunt you pulled!” Ami blushed but gave Makoto a smile to go with it. “When did Ami-chan get so bold, I wonder?”

            Ami shrugged. “You know… don’t get used to it. It’s just one of those spur of the moment type of thing. You know?” Makoto nodded, playing along.

            “Sure… if that’s what you say. Poor child…now you gave her the impression that any two people that kiss each other are automatically lovers. They could just be friends…really good friends.”

            Ami contemplated a moment before asking, “Are we… that? Just really good friends?”

            Ami’s hopes faded slowly, dive-bombing slowly down a deep, dark ocean never to be found again as Makoto remained silent. Her greens eyes looked down and she shied away from Ami’s questioning look and her dark eyes that swirled with many emotions.

            Makoto smiled suddenly and nodded. “We are good friends, ne? But…you mean more to me than just a good friend. You are a wonderful friend: so kind, so talented and intelligent, so beautiful. Given the chance, I can be a good friend to you…and we can be so much more, ne?”

            Her short, softly spoken reply left Ami more confused than before. Makoto’s reply didn’t leave her satisfied but she left the matter alone when Makoto closed her eyes and a soft sound emitted from her throat. Makoto knew this would happen. The headache she developed while talking with Little Makoto had worsened until it felt like steel drill going off and on in her head.



            “Something wrong? Are you feeling well?”

            Makoto shook her head and smile. “Nuh uh… I’m fine. Are you hungry? Let’s go for lunch. There’s a café down the street we can go to. The food is good and atmosphere is homey.”

            Ami looked over Makoto with a skeptical medical eye and then objected to going out for lunch. “How about we stay here…and I’ll fix us something to eat.” Before Makoto could say anything, Ami took her by the hand and led her to the couch and told her to stay put while Ami locked herself in the kitchen to cook something simple but tasty, or so she hoped.

            Makoto shuffled through the mail that she had not had time to open the previous day. She tossed the bills aside for the time being. She did not feel like looking at those at all today. She went through all the “friendly” mail before going on to the “other” mail with a heavy sigh. She halfway one done and was reading part of one from her bank when Ami walked in. Makoto hastily shoved the letter back among the pile and straightened it up before placing them in a convenient corner where Ami’s attention would not be directed.

            “Is lunch ready? I’m getting hungry here.”  Makoto stood up.

            “Yes, okyaku-sama. What’s the hurry? Don’t tell me you’re that eager to eat objects of my creation.” Ami shuffled behind Ami, almost embarrassed at the prospect of having Makoto sample her cooking, when Makoto’s own was more superior in quality and presentation. Ami was sure of that.

            “You know,” Makoto spoke suddenly, “it’s good to eat somebody else’s cooking for once. I’m getting sick of my own.”

            Ami smiled, “really?” Makoto nodded.

            “I’ll tell you this: when you work and eat in a restaurant where you’re the chef for at least three-hundred forty days a year… you tire of that food really quick.” So they ate, quietly and contently. Makoto did not comment on the food much to Ami’s relief. She had hoped that Makoto would say nothing because if Makoto complimented her, it would mean that her food tasted horrible; and if Makoto criticized her food, then Ami would feel just as horrible as her horrible food. Although, Ami didn’t find anything wrong with her cooking per say…

            In fact, Makoto seemed mellow during the course of their meal. The usual smile wasn’t there on her face. Her eager lips were not eager to talk that afternoon. But she seemed just fine before lunch.

            “Is something wrong, Mako-chan?”

            “No, nothing. Don’t worry about it please. Let’s enjoy the meal.”

            “Has your headache returned?” Makoto didn’t answer straightforwardly, debating whether to tell her that nothing was wrong or risk the wrath of Ami and fall under her care or tell her something was wrong and still risk the wrath of Ami and fall under her care. “Has it?” Ami set her pair of chopsticks down. Either it was her imagination, or Makoto had gone a little paler.

            “Just a little.”

            Ami pulled Makoto from her seat and led her to the couch, making her sit. Ami felt Makoto’s forehead; it was cold and clammy, and her skin now was noticeably pale. “Well, you don’t have a fever. But I don’t like your pallor…not one bit.”

            “I thought you didn’t care how I looked like…” Makoto grinned. Ami frowned and scolded her soundly and told her it wasn’t funny…especially to have her headache worsen in such a short period of time and to have it affect other factors of her body.

            “Lie down. I’ll get a blanket.” Ami’s frowned deepened as her thoughts scrambled to think of the cause of the degeneration of Makoto’s health. What could it be? Whatever it is…it’s acting quite fast. Her mind ran through a list of illnesses that entailed the symptoms of what Makoto was displaying. She found several possibilities but they were passed up…however, they were not discarded.

            As Ami walked out of Makoto’s room, she called her name a couple of times but had received no response. Her heart beat faster and her fingers began to tremble as scenarios of death plagued her mind. She breathed a sigh of relief when she realized that Makoto was just sleeping. She slapped herself lightly, cursing her slightly overactive imagination. She berated herself for thinking that the worst had happened.

            She covered Makoto with the blanket and pulled it tight about her shoulders. Maybe it’s just fatigue. Her cheeks burned slightly as she leaned over to give Makoto a small kiss on the forehead. Ami sat by Makoto as the list of possibilities ran through her head again. Without a doubt, she concluded it to be supernatural; it had to be the youma.

            What’s happening, Mako-chan? I need more information. I don’t think this is something conventional medicine can cure. Should I tell the others? Maybe I’ll wait a while Makoto…You’re a fast healer. Maybe I’m just being paranoid. What were you thinking when you said I’d make a good doctor, Mako-chan? I’m not even able to determine the source of this…or even identify it!

            Ami took one of Makoto’s hands in hers and gave it a gentle squeeze. Her hand was cold, so Ami thought to find another blanket from Makoto’s closet and placed over Makoto.

               Ami’s eyes wandered over to Makoto’s bookshelf and began to browse the various books that Makoto had; most were romance novels, cookbooks and books that contained gardening tips. There were some other various books that delved into Japanese history and budo, but not too many. There were photo albums that filled up the bottom shelf. Ami had looked through all of these before, but there was one of these photo albums that she treasured the most: it was the small one of Makoto and her parents. Throughout their friendship, Makoto had spoken to Ami so much about her parents that Ami felt like she knew them as well as she knew Makoto and the fact that Makoto’s parents were not here made Ami feel the same sadness that Makoto felt. Makoto’s parents were described to her in such detail that she felt she had actually known them. If there was one thing that was consistent with Makoto, it was that she loved to talk about her parents and cooking.

            Ami pulled out the album and then settled herself on an armchair.

            It was raining again. When did that happen?





Interlude II: 21 March 2003



Thanks to all those who have read this and to all those who have reviewed! I greatly appreciate you guys taking the time to do that. I need criticism!

Fenrir-444- you gave me some very interesting ideas that I just might use. Thank you very much!


Yes I know; short. My reasoning this time is that it felt right to end a chapter here. I did say I was trying for an update a month…. <@.@> Oh and, (hehe), if I do put out “Interludes” it probably means that I’ve run out of ways to keep the story moving.



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