Disclaimers: SM doesn’t belong to me. Rights reserved to Naoko Takeuchi. And…whatever else I need to put here…. =\
The song: If I Was the One (Hence the title, which by the way, I think fits the story pretty well. If not, oh well, trial and error.)
Artist: Ruff Endz
Ah…a nice short read…. Well, a short read at least.
e-mail: Oftheshadows@hotmail.com

If I Was the One

by Hokushin

“Makoto…” a whisper echoed into the empty night sky only to be heard by the stars and the moon. “The moon is never lonely, are you? Always surrounded by those beautiful lights we humans dare name as stars; though you deserve a much better name…”

Makoto turned around as her boyfriend call her name. She rushed to him and wrapped her arms around him.

“Ready to go?” he asked. The young woman nodded her head eagerly and walked off with her head buried into his chest. They were going to watch Michiru and Haruka’s concert tonight. One of the rare times that couple performed in Tokyo. They always seemed as if they did tours only in Europe. But tonight they were in Tokyo and were giving a concert and their closest friends were going to attend plus one new acquaintance of Kino Makoto.

Mori Yuuhi, boyfriend of six months to Makoto, moved over that many months ago to Minato-ku area of Tokyo at first as a visit to his old friend and rival, Mizuno Ami. At first glance, Ami knew that Makoto had fallen for her childhood friend, her only friend as a child. The one that didn’t take granted of her IQ. And, she knew with a little sadness, that he had fallen for her friend and fellow guardian of the moon princess.
The concert, the music and its musicians were beautiful of course. Haruka and Michiru played an amazing piece of their own creation that had managed to move all of the audience to near tears. When it ended the curtain closed to a standing ovation and the Usagi and her friends rushed backstage to congratulate Haruka and Michiru on another spectacular concert.

“You guys were wonderful as always,” Usagi cried above the other ovations of her friends.

“Though we do wish you would do more concerts here in Tokyo,” Ami said wistfully.

“Really?” Haruka said. “I’d always thought you’d get tired of us always being here. So we decide to take a long break from Japan for now.” Haruka winked.

“Great as usual,” Minako chirped. “Maybe I can sing for your next one, eh?” They laughed at her light-hearted jest.

“Hello,” Michiru said to the man Makoto held close. “You must be Mori Yuuhi-san. Makoto has said much about you.” She gave him a dazzling smile that would have made Haruka jealous. He returned that with something more than friendly and Haruka caught that, but not minding it much outside her mind. Michiru was flirted with almost daily. As long as she didn't flirt back, Haruka was satisfied.

"I've heard much about your talents, but I would never have expected it to be so much better than first conceived."

"You flatterer," Makoto muttered. Yuuhi leaned closer and whispered, "Of course. How would I have won your heart otherwise?"

"Your looks would have done fine," she said jokingly.

He smiled and kissed her forehead. "I have to go now. My mom 's flight comes in tonight. I have to pick her up at the airport. I'll see you later, Makoto." Makoto nodded and watched him go, turning to face her friends once he was out the door. “What?” she asked when she saw the odd looks they gave her.

“I think our Mako-chan’s found her prince charming,” Minako drawled. They lightly chuckled at Makoto’s slight embarrassment and spent the rest of the night at a restaurant in the center of Minato-ku and chatted about present times and past times and of what the future may hold.

Makoto slumped onto the couch of her apartment when she got home, not bothering to turn on the lights. She promised herself that she’ll get up after a moments rest but her eyes remained drooped and stubbornly closed. She grunted as she picked her weary body off her couch to go change and brush her teeth before preparing to go to bed. As she was falling asleep, she slapped her forehead, hard. “Oh damn,” she muttered. “Damn, damn, damn.” Makoto had forgotten the service she was supposed to prepare for the next morning for a Mr. Yukishiro’s business lunch at restaurant she was working at. Her boss expected her to be there early in the morning with her plans completed in writing and drawing. She groaned. Makoto was barely half finished.

She dragged her ragged body out of bed and boiled a pot of water for tea.

“Ami? You’re still up?”

“Yes mom. Don’t worry; I’ll go to bed soon. As soon as I finished this reading,” Ami looked up, removing her glasses from her head.

“Reading on what?”

“Just stuff from one of your medical journals.”

“Oh. Well, don’t stay up too late, Ami. The hospital called me and I have to work another shift tonight, so I’ll be back in the morning.”

“Okay mom.”


“Itterashai,” Ami replied and returned to her reading. Normally a fast reader by normal standards, Ami had been stuck on the same page for the past half hour. Ever since Yuuhi had moved to the Minato-ku area, things have been hectic for the Mizuno family. Most of their free time was spent helping Yuuhi move in, adjust and showing him around. Mrs. Mizuno had a hard time finding a cheap but nice apartment for him so he spent about two months living with the Mizunos. Ami had taken time off her studies helping her friend settle in. She introduced him to her friends and he introduced himself to Makoto. Since then, things have been easier since Makoto began helping him with the move.

Ami finally had a chance to catch up on her studies. However, her studies wouldn’t let itself be caught up since Ami’s focus had been elsewhere. She wasn’t so sure that Makoto and Yuuhi’s relationship would work out. In fact she doubted it. Great friend and student that he was, he has been known to play girls for a while, pretending to like them and then have affairs with others. Ami knew how he was like but that didn’t discredit him from being a great friend to her. Maybe he’s changed. After all, it’s been oh, a long time, she thought to herself. With that question half satisfactorily answered, Ami resumed her reading.

Her medical school exams were next week and Ami decided to read her mother’s journals for extra reading. Contrary to her mother’s wishes, Ami stayed up the better part of the night, caught up in an interesting article about recent genetic experiments.

She awoke early in the morning to the smell of freshly brewed coffee and when she walked into the living she saw a cup of green tea waiting for her on the table. “Good morning,” her mother said cheerfully as she put down her newspaper.

“Morning.” Ami sat looking at her cup.

“What’s wrong?”

“Nothing really, I just stayed up a little late last night reading an article on human genetics. Maybe I’ll study genetics,” Ami said honestly. However, she didn’t think to say everything on her mind that morning.

“I see. But Ami, I’ve always thought you wanted to do pediatrics, or maybe work in a surgical field,” a confused mother reacted to her daughter’s somewhat irrational behavior.

“I still do. I was just…venturing,” she smiled. “Mom, I’m going to stop by the library before going to Rei’s. Is that all right with you?”

Her mother nodded as she sipped her coffee and returned her attention to the newspaper for one last read and set it down on the table to go get ready for work again. “Mom? You’re working again this morning? But you’ve worked a late shift last night!”

“The hospital is understaffed right now. I’m afraid every employee has been pulling double shifts every once in a while. This will only go until we find more doctors and nurses. I know I won’t be home much now. Hang in there, Ami. I’m sorry.” Her mother gave her an apologetic look and hugged her daughter.

“It’s okay, I understand mom. ”

“Oh and Yuuhi’s mother might come by later in the afternoon. If you have something to do later, I’ll call her to tell her maybe some other time. I’ll see you later, Ami.” Ami watched disappointed as her mother walked out of the door to their house and turned back to breakfast, knowing her mother probably wouldn’t be home until late again.

After finishing breakfast, she packed her books and supplies and headed towards the library at a leisurely walk. Today, she didn’t feel rushed nor did she feel the need to be at the library, but was going there nonetheless. She checked out a few books that she felt might help her with her exams and then rushed over to Hikawa Shrine.

On the way there, Ami caught a glimpse of a familiar figure. It was Yuuhi. Embraced in his arms was a dark haired beauty with lusty chocolate eyes. It was a lover’s embrace and she was not Makoto. “Oh Yuuhi…You don’t know how much you’ll hurt Makoto,” she spoke to no one in particular. Ami steeled her gazed and marched over to Yuuhi.

“Good morning Yuuhi-san!” she said cheerfully. Yuuhi released the girl and jumped back like a rabbit caught in the hinter’s trap.

“Good morning, Ami-san,” he stuttered out. “What brings you here?”

“I was on my way to Rei’s. Good morning Miss…” she started as she pretended to notice the girl that was in his arms for the first time.

“Kitsune, Kitsune Mariko. Ohayo gozaimasu.”

“Good morning Kitsune-san. May I have a word with Yuuhi? Yuuhi, about that apartment…” she said as she led Yuuhi off to speak to him privately. “Who is that?” she exclaimed quietly, eyeing Mariko out of the corners of her eyes. “What are you doing? You are with Makoto!”

“Ami… I.”

“Yuuhi… I thought you’ve changed from all that. Please, don’t break Makoto’s heart. She may seem so strong, but her heart is fragile,” she told him sincerely. “Stop this. You-“ she sighed. “Words can’t describe how angry I am at you right now. Why must you do this?”

“Don’t tell Makoto,” his words came out as a bark, an order.

“Even though I am your friend, I am afraid I cannot do that. Not even for you Yuuhi-san.”

Yuuhi leaned closer, a fierce scowl on his face. “You will keep quiet Ami!” His voice became cold, menacing and not at all warm like the Yuuhi who had befriended her years ago.

Ami backed up. “You are not the Yuuhi I knew… Goodbye. I just wish you knew the pain that you will cause Makoto.” Ami knew she had to tell Makoto, but she was hesitant. What if Makoto wouldn’t believe her? What if she thought she was making this up? Or worse, what if Makoto believed her and would go on a rampage? And, most of all, she feared that Makoto will believe her and then just ignore the signs because of the love she so desperately wished for that she got from Yuuhi, whether it was real or not.

She heard Yuuhi sighed as Mariko went back to him inquiring who Ami was and what that was all about. All the way to the shrine, Ami felt desolate and angry but managed to hide it all under a calm façade as she did with everything that upset her.

As she reached the top steps of Rei’s temple, she let herself into Rei’s living room and apologized for her tardiness. “Where’s Mako-chan?” she asked when she noticed the topic of her worries missing from the assembled group.

“Oh, she came by earlier this morning to tell us she won’t be able to make it. Apparently she’d forgotten about a lunch she was supposed to cater with her being so enthralled with Yuuhi,” Rei said. At the mention of Yuuhi, Ami’s face hardened. “Are you all right?” Ami nodded and motioned her to go on. “Anyway, she left us a batch of cookies and told us to brief her on things we went over.”

Ami spent most of the meetings with thoughts of Makoto. She worried for her friend and not only that but she was saddened by the fact that one of her close friends had done such a horrible deed to her dear Mako-chan and that she was too scared to tell her that Yuuhi was cheating her. Ami had long since come to terms with herself and her feelings for Makoto; feelings that brimmed between friendship and something more. Something that not all in society would accept, something their friends might not accept and it left her afraid. Afraid to think that her friends would turn on her because of her feelings though she would still be the same Mizuno Ami that had laughed, cried and fought alongside the Senshi, that outcome haunted her. But she hoped and knew her friends were open-minded, after all, they had accepted Haruka and Michiru just because they were Haruka and Michiru. Ami also feared what Makoto thought. It was always thus.

She remembered how kindly Makoto stood for her friends in no matter what situation they were caught in. She also knew of the sad soul that followed the big heart of Makoto. Ami knew that she could only reach for the stars, never touching.

She only half listened to her friends’ conversations and joined half-heartedly. Though the mention of a new enemy elicited more attention from the friend of water than did most of the other conversation topics.

Makoto stretched lazily on her couch after her hectic day of filing orders, preparing, cooking and cleaning for the client who reserved a fully served lunch. Her boss gave her the rest of the day off. Makoto was grateful for that.

She grumbled quietly to herself when her doorbell rang. “Oh, hello Ami. Come in, sit down while I make some tea.”

“Thank you Mako-chan.” Ami seated herself in the warm couch that Makoto had just lazily vacated to answer the doorbell. “How was the lunch? I hope it went well.”

Makoto came out smiling, a tray with a teapot and two teacups in her hands. She set it down on the table and handed a cup to Ami. “It was great! Everything went as planned and our customer was satisfied. So what happened during the meeting?” She asked, all curiosity, as she sipped at her tea.

“Not much. Usagi passed her last exam in sociology and got a good mark in government. That came to me as a surprise as everyone else. But Usagi has been improving a lot since junior high school. Don’t you think? Minako was hired for a small fashion shoot set to take place next month. Another threat of a new enemy is a possibility, too. We don’t know much about it, but Rei is looking into it.”

“That’s it? Hmm. A new enemy. This should be fun, we haven’t had some action in a while, come to think of it.” Makoto smiled at her friend. “I’m afraid we’ll be getting rusty if we don’t oil our joints soon. Any idea of what it is? Scientifically concluded?” Makoto implored.

Ami just shook her head. “We just have to wait, I guess.”

The phone rang, making Ami jump a little. Makoto picked it up. “Hello. Kino Makoto here.”

Ami watched as her friend converse with the person on the other side. She watched as her friend’s face slowly turn downcast. Sadness brimmed in her eyes, threatening to spill. “I understand. Don’t worry about it. Okay.” Makoto nodded as she talked. “I love you too. Tomorrow night then, I guess. Ja.” Makoto turned off the phone and set it on the table. “That was Yuuhi.”

“Yuuhi? What’s wrong Mako-chan?” Ami asked when she saw her friend’s hurt eyes.

“He called to say he couldn’t make it to dinner tonight. We had everything planned a while ago. It’s our anniversary of six months. I know it seems sappy, but it means a lot.” Makoto stopped herself to compose her emotions. “I’m sorry. I don’t mean to bother you with my mushy love stories and complaints. Ami could only nod in understanding and told her friend that it was all right if she did. So fragile a heart, Ami thought and wished she had more courage to be there for Makoto instead of standing there like a log. But at the moment, any show of friendliness seemed to be embarrassing to Ami.

“He’s just been so distant lately.”

Ami gazed at her friend’s sad eyes. “Daijobu desu.” It’s okay. Sure. I know you’re hiding something.

I see the way he treats you,
I feel the tears you cried,
And it makes sad, and it makes mad,
There's nothing I can do baby.
Cause your lover is my best friend,
And I guess that's where they story ends.

So I've gotta try, to keep it inside.

“Can I stay for dinner Mako-chan?” Ami asked, knowing Makoto wouldn’t want to be alone this night, and neither did she. “Mom is working another shift tonight at the hospital.”

“Sure, that would be great. Wait here while I get dinner started then.” Makoto stood up but was stopped when Ami stood too.

“Can I help? It’ll give me something to do.”

“Sure, better you than Minako, right?”

Ami chuckled at the rhetoric and at the same time imagining her blond friend, destroying Makoto’s kitchen on a spout of clumsiness and a frazzled Makoto watching in horror as a tornado whipped through her apartment.

Together, they made a simple, quick dinner, nothing lavish and extreme like Makoto’s usual feast for thirty. Ami enjoyed the time spent with her tall friend, stealing glances at her every once and a while drinking her in. She had thought about talking to her mom about these alien feelings she only had for the boy that matched her genius in academics, but that was quick in passing. Her mother never really seemed to have the time to talk to her daughter about deep things, like love. Ami had always found Makoto ready to listen, or to talk. She was almost like a second mother to all of them, but for Ami, the tiny gestures of friendship and caring ran deeper because of the absence of her own mother and confidante. However, in this situation, she had no one to talk whom she would trust enough not to laugh, gasp in horror or brush it off with a joke.

They spent the evening after dinner talking and watching movies. Ami fell asleep on Makoto’s couch. The younger girl didn’t wish to wake her peaceful friend and called Ami’s mother at work asking her if Ami could sleep over, since, technically, she already was. With the mother’s permission, Makoto gently carried the sleeping girl into her room and tucked her into her bed. “Good night, Ami.”

Makoto grabbed blankets and pillows from her closet and settled onto her couch.

Unbeknownst to the taller girl, Ami had awoken when she felt arms lifting her from the couch but decided not to say anything, comfortable in the strong arms of her friend. Ami enjoyed it while it lasted. “Goodnight, Mako-chan,” she whispered softly when Makoto was out of earshot.

Ami found herself in Makoto’s bed when she woke; surprised she wasn’t home in her own bed, awaking to the smell of coffee and the sounds of rustling newspaper. Instead there was a sweet morning air that she found comforting and silence that was welcoming. She made the bed and walked out to the living room to see Makoto asleep, which surprised her, Makoto was usually known as an early riser. Walking closer to pull the blanket that had been thrown carelessly off around her shoulders, Ami saw that a picture of Yuuhi was clutched to Makoto’s chest. She saw some used tissue lying on the stand next to the bed and realized Makoto had cried through the night thinking of Yuuhi.

You will never be, never be mine but,
If I was the one who was loving you, baby.
The only tears you'd cry would be tears of joy.
And if I was by your side,
You'll never know one lonely night
And if it was my arms you were running to,
I'd give you love in these arms of mine.
If I was the one in your life.

Ami saw it then how attached Makoto was to Yuuhi. She despaired, knowing Makoto would never love her the way she did Yuuhi, no matter how cruel Yuuhi was to her. Makoto was just so afraid of hurting, she couldn’t see the pain that Yuuhi was inflicting.

Ami led herself to the kitchen and boiled a pot of water for tea. Ami prepared an easy breakfast for the two of them, hoping Makoto wouldn’t mind the unauthorized use of her kitchen. Makoto woke just after Ami finished cleaning up. “Morning Ami,” she said sleepily as she rolled off her couch.

“Good morning. I made breakfast. I hope you don’t mind that I used your kitchen.”

“As long as you’re not Usagi or Minako.” Makoto went into her room and then the bathroom. Ami heard the shower turn on. She thought for a brief moment what would it be like if she were in there with Makoto. Ami blushed a deep shade of red and banished the thought.

When Makoto got out, Ami pushed a plate with Makoto’s breakfast on it towards her. Makoto stared at it and lifted a brow. “Sandwiches for breakfast, Ami?”

“What’s wrong with sandwiches for breakfast?”

Makoto looked at her for a while and then decided best that nothing was wrong with sandwiches in the morning.

“As a matter a fact, sandwiches are perfect for any meal; quick, nutritious, without mayonnaise of course- none of that stuff westerners slab on and they’re easy to make.”

“Sure, Ami.” Ami gave her a crossed look.

“It’s not like I can cook a first rate meal like you Makoto-san.”

Makoto grinned. “That’s why you, young lady, are eating breakfast Kino style.”

“I still don’t understand what you have against sandwiches! I mean… you’re the one who makes my sandwiches for lunch.”

Makoto tilted her head then started laughing. “I do, don’t I? Well, then, I have something against my own sandwiches.” She laughed again, all sadness wiped away from her bright face. Ami loved that laugh and loved it when that smile replaced the sadness that seemed to cloud her face more often as of late.

As the ground began to carpet an array of colors, the day of September the 10th came rolling by. Ami was turning twenty-one and the girls had planned something special for their blue haired genius. The plan was rather simple. It would be just a “regular” meeting at Rei ‘s shrine, just that Ami would be given the wrong time, so her punctual self wouldn’t ruin anything if Usagi were to be late.

The girls’ eyes widened and Usagi’s mouth watered as Makoto pulled the cake out of the oven. “Wow Mako-chan, that cake looks delicious,” Usagi said. Rei smirked and retorted with a comment about Usagi thinking anything can be deliriously delicious.

“Hey hey, keep your voices down. Go outside and finish the preparations. I’m not done with this thing yet.” Makoto wanted this cake to be the best she’s ever made to make up for missing Ami’s coming of age ceremony last year. As a matter of fact, she had missed everybody’s ceremony in general; even her own, considering that it was on the same day. Anyone turning twenty last year that year- each year- participated in that ceremony.

She took the day off in order to prepare the food. Waking up at six in the morning and cooking until noon was exhausting, but worth it. By mid-afternoon, everything was ready for Ami. It had take Usagi great pains to keep herself from blurting the truth out when she had the chance. Everybody was proud of Usagi for that.

Ami was surprised, to say in the least. But later she admitted that she suspected something. Usagi ran out to hug Ami, with the others following. Ami smiled, and laughed along, joyful, glad that she had such friends. “Thank you, everyone. Thank you.”

They watched movies most of the time, though they talked throughout it, so that most of the plots flew right over their heads. Halfway through the second movie, Makoto left the room and went to the kitchen. After a while, Ami noticed that a member of their party was missing. She followed the slight noise coming from Rei’s kitchen and looked in to see her quarry bent over the chopping board. Makoto stopped what she was doing and turned around. “Hello Ami-san.”

Makoto’s acute sense of hearing never ceased to amaze Ami, making her wish that her ears could be as sensitive. That would be a valuable asset as a sailor senshi. “Makoto-chan, what are you doing?”

“Making dinner. Why? What does it look like I’m doing?”

Ami looked down. “Well… I mean why are you cooking dinner?”

“Ami, for one so intelligent you tend to not see the obvious… Honestly. I’m cooking so we can eat later,” Makoto said with an exaggerated sigh. Ami looked up to see a smile plastered on her friend’s face. “I mean… I wouldn’t want you to be eating sandwiches or instant noodles for your birthday dinner. I know I certainly wouldn’t want to.”

Ami blushed. “Still, I don’t see anything wrong with sandwiches. Do you need help?”

“Not tonight. Go back to watching movies. They miss you already, you know?” Makoto winked at Ami. Just after Ami went back, Usagi sauntered over begging for something to eat. Typical. She handed Usagi a platter of sweets she just made.

Usagi thanked her profusely. At the door, she halted a moment. “Hey Mako-chan?”


“Can I ask you a question?” Makoto stopped what she was doing.

“You don’t need to ask me if you can ask a question, Usagi. Go ahead.”

“How come Yuuhi isn’t here today? Didn’t you tell him?”

Makoto’s eyes darkened and she looked down. “Yeah, I told him. But he couldn’t make it today. He has to do something important at the college. He didn’t say what though.”


“Usagi,” Makoto interrupted. “Don’t eat too much. I’m almost done here. Leave some space in your stomach or clear some out,” she said. Usagi gave her a smile.

“Bring it on, Makoto. I can pack all of your cooking in this stomach of mine.”

“Ah…I can’t eat another bite,” Usagi groaned, “My stomach feels so bloated. Why’d you have to cook so much Mako-chan?” She both complained and complimented Makoto’s cooking.

“The dinner was delicious, Mako-chan,” Rei stated. Minako followed with a similar comment. Mamoru, who had shown up just before dinner started grinned and asked if she would be for hire at the hospital because their food “sucked”, as he quoted. His presence only reminded her of Yuuhi’s absence.

“Thank you. It wasn’t that good, you guys.” Makoto looked down, cheeks tinged a slight red.

Ami looked at her. “Mako-chan, I still wonder why you didn’t go apply to a culinary school. I’m sure that you would have gotten accepted into any one in the world.”

“I don’t know,” the tone in her voice told everyone that she hesitated to speak over the subject. But Ami pursued, “But it will help your résumé if you ever apply for a job in a first-rate restaurant.”

“I know… but…” Makoto whispered. “Want dessert? Actually, I didn’t have dessert planned. How about we cut the cake and open presents, okay?”

Ami caught the distressed look on Makoto’s face and answered. “Actually, I am curious about the gifts you guys needn’t and shouldn’t have gotten for me.” Makoto caught her eyes and mouthed a thank you to her savior. Ami returned a small wink.

Ami’s eyes widened at the cake. It was more like a work of art than cake with its immaculate details of a night ocean with the planet mercury shimmering in the velvet sky and earth’s moon hanging as a sliver in the corner. The beams of the moon reflected the words “Happy Birthday, Ami” in the water.

“Mako-chan. I can’t bear to eat this… I never knew you were such an artist!”

Makoto blushed. “Only when it comes to food… I guess.”

“Modesty seems to live in you Makoto. Thank you. Thank you everyone.”
“Well?” Usagi prodded. “Can we eat it?”

They chuckled at their friend who seemed to have a boundless amount of asinine things to say in her brain. Nonetheless, she is an adept leader and surely will become an extremely capable and compassionate Queen, if not an airhead.


The young woman wasn’t listening. She was staring intently at the piece of art lying in wait to be eaten by Usagi. They had done this for me. It is just a birthday. Just another three hundred sixty-five days. Oh, it’s so beautiful… At that moment, time seemed to have stilled and the Mercury so floridly drawn on the cake seem to have come alive. The small specks of starts created an illusion of shimmering- or was it an illusion? A glowing sheen winked for a moment on the surface of the moon. Ami bushed her eyebrows, perturbed. Was the image real? She wondered. She closed her eyes and looked around her. All her friends and comrades looked at her expectantly, patiently waiting for her. Makoto smiled at her.

“Maybe I should frame it then, if you like it so much,” Makoto stated, adopting an appraising stare towards the cake.

“Aw…Mako-chan!” Usagi whined.

Rei smacked Usagi on the head. Usagi glared disdainfully. Rei turned to Makoto, “well I’m glad you’ve developed a sense of humor over the years.”

“Albeit sick and cruel,” Usagi muttered.

Minako laughed. “Ami? Let’s eat?”

Ami looked up and gave a small smile. “Yes. Itadakimasu.” Minako went ahead and lit the candles as Rei closed the lights.

“Make a wish, Ami,” Makoto’s warm voice reminded her before she blew out the candles. Ami just nodded, a faint blush surfacing her cheeks. Ami closed her eyes… I wish

If I could have just one wish,
I'd wish that you were mine,
I would hold you near,
Kiss away those tears.
I'd be so good to you baby.
You're the one I want next to me,
But I guess that's just not meant to be.
He's there in your life,
And he's sharing your nights,
It'll never be, never be right.

A month had passed. The autumn leaves still littered the ground and the musky smell of them still drifted in the air. A month had passed with Makoto’s philanderer of a boyfriend still seeing Kitsune Mariko in secret. A month had passed and Makoto did not find out.

Ami could not sleep one certain night. She woke up in a cold sweat, seeing the image of mercury, the stars and the moon as she had seen it on the cake. She threw off the covers in frustration and rolled out of bed, careful not to make too much noise. She stared blankly for a moment before she walked over towards the window. She found the moon still high in the velvet night sky. Suddenly, an image appeared in her mind; the image had the exact copy of how that moon was now, but Mercury was there, just nearby, faintly glowing. The image disappeared. Ami searched for her patron planet. It was not to be found. Ami was perplexed, as her mind searched for answers to questions that had no answer, or could not be answered, or refuses to be answered so methodically. She concluded that planetary sightings are rare and that it was her connection to Mercury that allowed her that brief glimpse. But what does it mean?

Ami’s mind began to wander the reaches of her heart, as it had almost every night. She was glad when she had exams to study for. But for the time being, she didn’t have much. Just one more in December before she went on to a graduate medical school and study for a doctorate hopefully. But now, on these lonely nights, her focused mind begun to wander and eventually it’ll linger on a certain somebody. And those thoughts would always lead to her oldest friend’s secret betrayal of her best friend. Ami settled on telling Makoto…one day when she had the courage to. She was afraid of Makoto’s somewhat mercurial behavior. There were endless possibilities that could make Makoto angry and hate her, all too many, Ami concluded. She didn’t want that. She didn’t want anybody to be angry because of her.

Especially not Makoto… who knew what her burdened anger could do, though Ami full well knew that Makoto wouldn’t unleash any of her anger easily on her friends. But Ami still had fears, though the girl had become docile and less prone to flares of rage, which usually ended up with something broken. From that fear came the respect for the younger woman who, Ami felt, had the courage and the stubbornness to put a leash on the temper that was her exit from her harsh life, who wouldn’t hesitate to help her friends no matter the cost and for the courage that anger fed; that courage to charge foolishly into a battle without conscious concern for her own life if it was to help another. Makoto’s passion for life made Ami respect her. But it was her love of seeing her friends’ joy that made her slowly begin to love her not just as a friend. Ami found it odd. She found the whole situation odd. Ami compared it to one morning just waking up and knowing that she loved someone and not knowing how that feeling came about. That wonderful and mysterious feeling seemed to have just exhumed itself from her heart where it was lost in a place that Ami had known only briefly in her life and had been afraid to search in after that short time with a rival genius.

Ami knew she had to tell Makoto. Each day she saw her friend fall harder for Yuuhi; the Yuuhi that was currently cheating on her with that Kitsune Mariko. Ami was determined to stop this before Makoto is hurt beyond what love can repair and before Ami’s heart is ravaged with contrite.

“Makoto…what are you doing to me?”

Another sleepless night in the Mizuno residence.

At another area in Minato-ku, Kino Makoto found that sleep evaded her this night also. After tossing and turning for an hour in bed, she tossed off her covers in frustration and changed into warm clothes suitable for the cool night air.

Closing the door behind her, Makoto walked out and was greeted by the cold Tokyo night. If Yuuhi cared to be here…he’d keep me warm. Shinosaki kept me warm, but now… Now he has a family to keep warm. Her feet carried her onwards with her mind not knowing where but it did not matter. For the moment, it was occupied by something more important than direction. But he hasn’t cared for the past two months you, fool. But he said he loves me. Then why has he ignored you for two months if he loved you eh? But I know that he loves me. He’s different from all the other Lotharios I’ve gone out with. I’m sure of it. As her mind battled back and forth, her feet continued to lead her around town.

She stopped suddenly, noticing familiar buildings around her in a comfortable setting. As she took in the buildings, she began to recognize the area as the neighborhood where the Mizuno residence was situated. In fact, she stood across the street from her house. How odd. She thought she saw a figure by the window but when she blinked, the figure was gone.

Makoto’s eyes narrowed as she saw a light still burning in Ami’s room. Could something be wrong? Maybe she can’t sleep, like me. Or she’s studying way past her bedtime. Makoto decided to walk out from the shadows and knock on the door, knowing that Ami mother would be working late at the hospital. It was Saturday and Mrs. Mizuno always worked late until dawn on Saturdays. She smirked when she heard a startle cry come from inside. The door opened only a moment later.

“Mom? You don’t have your ke— Mako-chan?” Ami gasped in surprise. “What are you doing here? I- I mean, what are you doing up so late?”

“I was going to ask you the same question when I walked by and saw your light still on.”

Remembering manners, Ami invited Makoto into her house. “Don’t tell me you’re studying Ami.”

“No, and don’t tell me you had a late night walk here just to make sure I wasn’t studying.”

“I couldn’t sleep so I decided to take a walk…” her voice became distant. She blinked as Ami shoved a cup of tea into her hands. “Thank you Ami-san.” She took a sip from it and allowed the hot liquid burn her throat and warm her stomach. Ami motioned her to sit. She sat as commanded. Makoto tried to keep her eyes from her friend’s. She knew that she would not have the strength to keep her emotional conflicts from being reflected in her eyes and a catharsis from spilling out her mouth.

Ami almost choked when she caught in full force the sadness in her friend’s eyes. Her eyes were hauntingly beautiful even when they were sad like this.

“Mako-chan… what’s wrong?”

Shit, she saw. “Nothing, Ami-san. I’m sorry I’ve kept you from your sleep.”

“Mako-chan, it’s okay. If you need to talk, I’ll be here, anytime.”

“Thanks Ami, but it’s getting late and you really need your sleep if you’re ever going to do well on your exams.” She stood to put Ami’s cup back in the kitchen. Ami reached out to take it from her and disappeared into the kitchen for a moment.

What time is it, Makoto wondered as she looked for a clock to occupy her mind. 1:30. I should go. She felt a tap on her shoulder.

“Are you sure you’re all right? You haven’t seem really yourself lately,” Ami stated.

“I’m fine. I just haven’t had much sleep lately. Mr. Yukishiro has me planning for huge banquet next week for some hotshot executive from the business area of Tokyo. I’ll see you tomorrow Ami.”

“I know that’s not what’s bothering you. You can talk to me, you know…”

Makoto paused by the door for a long time. Her head bowed in deep thought. She seemed hesitant to speak and yet wanting to at the same time. Her hand slid down the door and rested on the knob. “It just hurts.”

Ami was by her side in less than a moment, already dragging her back into the house and drew her into a hug. Ami listened as Makoto spilled out her thoughts and doubts about Yuuhi and even her frustrations with the banquet through words and tears.

If I was the one who was loving you, baby.
The only tears you'd cry would be tears of joy.
And if I was by your side,
You'll never know one lonely night
And if it was my arms you were running to,
I'd give you love in these arms of mine.
If I was the one in your life.

“Mako-chan, there’s something I have to tell you about Yuuhi.” Makoto pulled away and looked curiously at her friend. Ami hesitated, and Makoto caught from the way she would not look directly at her that it was something bad, bad enough for Ami to be so nervous.

“What is it?” Her voice was a steady whisper. Ami hesitated and stepped back. “Whatever it is, I won’t get mad. Tell me.”

“Yuuhi…” Ami paused. “Yuuhi is… well, I… he-“

“Ami-chan, it’s okay, you can tell me.”

Ami looked up at Makoto and then reverted her gaze to her feet. She hesitated again, but Makoto prodded her and placed an understanding hand on her shoulder. “He’s been seeing someone behind your back.” She grimaced as she waited for Makoto’s reply. There was no reply. Slowly, Ami dared to glance up at Makoto. Her face was blank; she showed no emotion. All of a sudden her eyes flashed and turned into an angry emerald. Her eyes narrowed and gave her an acidulous glare. She snatched her hand back as if Ami had burned her.

“How dare you, Ami,” she seethed. “Yuuhi wouldn’t do that! He loves me, I know it!”

“Mako-chan I-“

“You don’t know what you’re talking about!” Ami stood straighter and bravely held her gaze with Makoto. “He’s the only one that truly loves me, the only one that hasn’t dumped me because of my physical size! Have you ever known that feeling? No, you have not,” Makoto lowered her voice before she could fully yell out at her friend.

“Listen to-“

“What do you know? Leave me alone Ami.”

“Would you just listen?” Ami screamed. He face twisted in suppressed emotions. “Please believe me! I saw him and another woman together once and they were being too friendly with each other to be just friends.” Ami paused to wait for a reaction. She did not get one. She composed herself and began with a softer tone. “I’m sorry. I truly am sorry to be the bearer of such news. Listen,” she said when she saw Makoto turn her head exasperatedly. “I’ve known Yuuhi for a while, or a while ago. And then, he was every much of a player as he is right now. I became friends with him because he was really nice, and respected me for who I am. He’s changed to the worse now. And I’m ashamed to say I haven’t seen it earlier. Please… believe me. I wouldn’t lie to you Mako-chan.” Her voice became meek and small, but sincere and full of pain.

Makoto turned to leave. Ami’s voice spoke again. “Even if you hate me, I’ll still be your friend. I always will be. And believe that I will never lie to you. You’re too important to me.” Her voice said more than she let on.

“Why should I listen to you? Stay out of my life!” Makoto stormed out of the house, but carefully shutting the door for Ami’s neighbors’ sake.

“And my heart,” Ami whispered to herself.

Makoto turned around. She regretted her actions after she set foot out of Ami’s house. I yelled at her. How could I? A hesitant hand rested on Ami’s doorknob. ‘I’ll still be your friend. I always will be.’ Her mind began to have doubts but when she remembered those times with Yuuhi, her heart hardened against Ami’s words. What does she know anyway? She probably hates my guts. Damn, I screwed up big time. Makoto turned around and left.

Makoto’s scathing remark tore at Ami’s heart and earned her a space among the ranks with the likes of the Wicked Witch of the West and the Stepmother. Ami curled up into a ball on the floor and finally broke out into the tears she had managed to keep checked during Makoto’s philippic. He doesn’t love you, I do.

Makoto felt water drop on her nose, another one on her ear, one on her arm and more as they fell in rapid succession. She wiped her face with a sleeve and cursed the weather. “Of all the days…it had to rain this night and during this ungodly hour and me stuck damned far from home nonetheless!” Soon it began to pour and Makoto found herself enjoying the rain despite her previous comments.

She passed by a nearby park when she heard a shrill scream of pure terror. She heard a crash and then silence. The silence was all too familiar to the Senshi inside her. “Shit, of all the damnedest times for one to show up!” While muttering some more foul obscenities, she ran to the source of the scream. It was a young woman like herself. She was still alive, just unconscious but she was bruised and her skin was scraped as if she were dragged a ways. “Youma! Get out here and face somebody your own size!” Her build up of anger was just within limits of exploding. First her explosion at Ami and now a youma appearing out of the blue just did not help her frustration any bit.

The hideous monster showed itself and emitted a low guttural growl at Makoto. Makoto transformed by forcing her will to listen to her command. The Senshi have over the years adapted to their powers and as their element spiraled around their spirit, they had adapted to be able to transform at will and sometimes even had been successful at manifesting powers outside of their Senshi forms. Though those times were rare.

Senshi Jupiter charged headlong into battle, the spark of rage characteristic of Jupiter back in the emerald orbs that withheld the spirit of nature and thunder.

Hino Rei shot out of bed the exact moment Jupiter came alive. The presence of evil energy and the strength of Jupiter’s aura were too much for her sleeping spirit to bear, waking her up. She gasped to catch her breath. She bowed her head for a moment in concentration looking for a confirmation. There was one as she took caution to exit her house with little noise. Outside she contacted the others with a brief message saying there’s an attack and find Jupiter for the whereabouts. Rei quickly transformed and cursed at the rain while muttering a comment about high heels and water not mixing.

Mars found Jupiter just as she was getting pounded into the ground by a youma. Rei surveyed the scene and saw an unconscious figure on the ground. She grimaced as she readied a Fire Arrow at the youma, which promptly looked up as the fiery shaft drove itself into and through its right shoulder. It screamed in fury as it lashed a wicked arm at Mars who dove out of the way. Jupiter picked herself off the ground.

“Hey Mars, nice to see you here at this time of day. Lovely out here isn’t it?” Jupiter greeted as if this was just a normal meeting in the park.

“Quit joking, Jupiter. Why didn’t you contact us?”

She sighed sadly as if not wanting to stop talking. “Well, duty calls as that big ugly thing picks his butt off the ground.” She rushed off, lightning and leaves forming in her hands already as she shoved the charge directly into its chest.

Mars shook her head, exasperated as she prepared her second attack. She missed this time. She tried another attack, but before it left her hands, she felt her feet swept from underneath her and fell hard on her back, leaving her gasping for air.

“Mars,” she heard voices cry. She realized that they belonged to the other Senshi. “What’s the situation?”

“This one is tough. It seems to be able to learn our attacks. So the same attack won’t work twice.” She felt hands grab her and help her up. “I’m fine,” she said to their concerned looks. “Ami, there’s an unconscious woman over there.”

Jupiter turned around as she heard Venus’ voice calling out her attack and jumped aside for fear her chain would hit her. The youma shrieked like a wounded cat over his severed arm and rushed its long claw at its attacker. “Venus, look out!” Jupiter cried.

With her gifted feline graces, Venus leaped out of the way before Jupiter’s warning traveled to her.

The youma, in its berserker rage began to fling wildly about making it difficult to attack without getting injured. Venus tried to move in and attack but jumped away as the youma flung in her direction. Mars stayed back, muttering a chant to slow the thing but to no avail. Jupiter, brimming with frustration at the length of this battle and the stubbornness of this youma to die and the one casualty, daftly stayed her ground as the feral youma barreled its way towards her. Jupiter grinned maniacally and her eyes narrowed to slits as she began to summon her supreme dragon.

Mercury looked up from checking over the unconscious woman to see that the youma’s arm had regenerated and was growing out as an elongated claw reaching towards’ Jupiter, a fact to which Jupiter seemed oblivious of. Before she knew it, her feet were doing the thinking for her as she ran hard to Jupiter.

Jupiter waited patiently as the youma drew closer, allowing her to manifest more power into her supreme dragon. All of a sudden she felt something wrap around her waist, breaking her out of her concentration. She felt a force moving her aside and out the youma’s line of attack. No. No. No! Her mind screamed. She had put too much power into her supreme dragon and she could not recall it without risk nor, risks aside, could she. It had already left her hands. She peeled the person off of her and saw blue. Mercury. Mercury rolled to the ground in front of her. Again her mind screamed to call it back. Mercury was in perfect position to be hit when the dragon gathered speed and power fueled from air. Miraculously, her mind was able to connect with that power and Makoto felt a surge slam into her head and she reeled. With her will, she directed the dragon towards her and hoped that it would not be too painful given her relationship with the element. Apparently relations didn’t matter as she felt like she was rammed into a brick wall at hypersonic speed.

Mercury, out of breath, took the time to freeze the youma in its distraction and directed the Senshi of the Moon to finish it. With the help of Mars and Venus, she did. Mercury turned her attention back to Jupiter, who had begun to rise. Blood specked her mouth and fuku.

“Jupiter,” Mercury voiced as she rushed to her side only to be shoved away. Jupiter’s rage was rekindled at the sight of Mercury.

“Leave me alone. I can take care of myself,” malice dripped off of every word she said. “Good night, you guys. I have the early shift tomorrow.”

“Good night…we’re going to discuss this issue tomorrow,” Rei said. As Jupiter left, Rei, Usagi and Minako peered at Ami curiously, expecting the answer to Makoto’s odd behavior. Ami shrugged and turned around, willing her tears to not fall. She shook her head and ran off leaving behind three confused friends. Usagi rushed after Ami, but Rei placed a staying hand on her. She shook her head.

Jupiter stood up straight and proud and she slowly “melted” back into Makoto. Walking just enough distance to take her away from her friend’s view and path, she leaned heavily into a tree and slid onto the ground, her back protesting over the rough bark. She groaned. I should have died from that. Why didn’t I? Have I gotten weaker? Or have I gotten stronger that one of my most powerful attacks could not kill me, as it had been able to seven years back? She sighed, knowing she’d have to get back home before the sun rises. She couldn’t move as her body protested her every movement. Her nerves still tingled with the force of the Supreme Dragon. Makoto had a feeling that she had broken a few ribs. She felt blood and bile rise in the back of her throat. Makoto coughed and hacked out blood, feeling it burn her throat. She rested her eyes, thinking I can’t go to sleep. I’ll just rest a while. Sure you will, they all say that but they fall asleep right after. If I’m asleep then why am I talking to you and thinking these thoughts?

Makoto fell unconscious as a wave of pain gripped her chest.

Ami walked straight home that night. All the time, she kept remembering the menace in Makoto’s eyes and they ice in her voice. It frightened Ami to every extent. Did she hate me that much? Just because I told her the truth? Did I hurt her that much? It’s all Yuuhi’s fault. It’s always been your fault, like that time the teacher thought I cheated. Yuuhi, that was your fault. Everything is your fault. And taking away Makoto was your fault, before I got the courage… That night Ami cried herself to sleep.

Yeah, baby.
I wanna reach out and feel you beside me,
Right here beside me, baby.
Take you in my arms right there,
Scream 'I love you' right out loud.
Some day I pray, that I'll find the strength,
To turn to you and say,

Makoto stirred when she felt a motherly hand against her forehead. She opened her eyes but all she could see was a large colorless blur. She blinked several times but the image was still hazy. Her vision cleared up after a while and she saw Ami’s mother kneeling down next to her.


“Yes, Makoto. Are you all right? Isn’t it a lovely morning to take a nap out here? Where it’s all nice and wet after the rain.”

Makoto looked down, hesitant. “I guess I fell asleep. I was taking an early morning walk. Thank you for waking me, Mizuno-san.”

“Would you like a ride home?”

“Sure. Thank you. I was afraid I’d be late for work. Thank you.” She stood slowly and almost sank back down, surprised. Her legs felt like nothing, since she had sat on them for so long. She knew it was there but she didn’t feel it.

She leaned onto the tree. Ami’s mother rushed to her side and supported her, wrapping one of Makoto’s arms around her shoulders. Makoto grunted at the pain. Her ribs burned like fire from the sudden move. Mrs. Mizuno froze, recognizing the sound of silent pain coming from Makoto. Her breath came in short, labored gasps, though she tried hard to hide it.

“Makoto,” she stated, as a doctor then. “Are you injured? You are!”

“It’s nothing. I’m fine. My legs are just asleep. They’re tingling right now, that’s all.” Ami’s mother gave her a scrutinizing gaze; her eyes told that she knew Makoto was lying. Makoto did her best to stand up straight, but she kept her gaze averted.

“Makoto, can you turn to upper body for me?”

Makoto clamped her teeth onto her tongue as she turned slowly to the left, and then to the right. She cried out when her teeth pierced her tongue. Mrs. Mizuno grasped Makoto’s hand and gently led her to the car. “What happened?” She glanced at her young charge and saw her close her doors. “That’s all right, you don’t have to say anything.”

“Thank you, Mizuno-san. I’m sorry.”

Mrs. Mizuno smiled at her. “It is quite all right, Makoto. I’m just concerned.”

“Can you…can you not take me to a hospital please?”

The doctor considered for a moment. She took a long look at Makoto, sizing up her condition. “Only, if we stop by my house to take at look at your wounds and take care of them.” Makoto slowly nodded, a slight smirk on her face. She bowed her head.

“Thank you, Mizuno-san.”

Ami did not want to wake that morning. She didn’t feel like doing anything. Usually an early riser, Ami was still lying in her bed at 8:00AM, staring at the ceiling, wanting to sleep but could not, wanting to rise, but would not. Ten minutes later, she decided she needed to study and hauled herself out of bed and into the shower.

The hot water caressed her skin and massaged her tense muscles. She allowed it to soak her hair and run rivulets on her body all the while she leaned on the shower tiles. She allowed her mind to carefully pick at her every emotion and analyze them: love, anger, angst, despair, want, longing, impatience, fear… which one to start first? She lost track of time, as her mind was in a whirl on confusion and feelings. She allowed her thoughts to center on Makoto as well as each emotion she felt. She loved her, yet hated her. She longed for her arms around her if only in a safe hug, yet she feared to meet her even out on the street. Ami was impatient at Makoto, for not seeing Yuuhi as a bastard. But she understood how Makoto thought she found the one for her. The one who acted like prince charming, but had no heart in reality.

Baka…” Ami reprimanded Makoto. “That’s what you are, and that is what I was for finding a friend in him. If only…I can tell you the truth. If only I wasn’t so damned scared. I wish to be brave. Then I can tell you to your face Makoto, that I love you and I want you to be happy and I want you to stay away from Yuuhi. And so many other things.”

Ami didn’t realize she’d been crying until moments after getting out of the shower and dressing. She took a look of herself in the mirror and saw the red eyes. Hearing muffled voices outside, she hurried out to greet her mother and a guest.

Okaeri nasai!” she shouted. As she walked through the hall, she stopped dead in her tracks. She saw a familiar figure sitting on her mother’s bed with the said parent kneeling down next to her. M-Makoto-chan? What are you doing here? She thought, not with spite, just curiosity. The older Mizuno just finished tying the bandage around Makoto’s chest, when she realized her daughter at the door. Ami flushed when she realized what her mother had been doing and that her friend did not have her shirt on. And that she just barged in on them like that. Ami suddenly found her feet an interesting specimen of study.

“Good morning Ami,” her mother said. She smiled. “Breakfast’s on the table.”

Makoto put her shirt back on and turned around to face Ami. “Good morning Ami,” Makoto forced out. Though her tone was cold, her eyes were apologetic, as if she couldn’t help what came out of her mouth. Ami saw a struggle inside Makoto, and answered with the same greeting.

“What happened Mako-chan?” Regaining a fragment of their old friendship, Makoto winked at Ami, when Mrs. Mizuno wouldn’t notice. Remembering those final moments of the fight they had yesterday, Ami suppressed a gasp. “Well, I’m going to eat first. Is Makoto-chan joining us, Mom?”

Makoto shook her head but thanked them both, and excusing herself by saying she is already late for work.

Ami turned to her mother at the breakfast table. “Mom, tell me the severity Mako-chan’s injuries. Do you know what happened?”

Her mom tilted her head over, thinking the order of her answers. “I don’t know for certain the extent of the injuries, since she refused to step foot in a hospital, but I can tell you that, from my estimate, she fractured several ribs. It may range from just a stress fracture to maybe even a compound fracture. I can’t tell without more sophisticated equipment.” She paused for a moment. “I found her unconscious this morning near the park. Then I brought her here.”

Ami idly played with her food, going over her thoughts. She was injured. Of course she was injured. But I didn’t notice it. Why didn’t I notice it? I was too busy fighting back tears. I was too busy trying to suppress my anger at her. I was too busy to notice. But how did those injuries come about? Her mind replayed the entire fight. The supreme dragon, it has to be that. She took the blast back into her after she released it. Why? She almost choked on a morsel she was eating.

“Ami, are you all right?” She nodded and went back to her thoughts.

To save me. I was in the way. Baka! To save me. Would that blast have been strong enough to kill me? From that distance, Ami? Yeah, I would think it would not only have killed you but eliminated you off the face of this planet. No, I don’t think so… But… she tried to save me. You stupid idiot, Makoto. I’m not that weak. I’m not that strong either…

“Ami…” her mother began. Ami looked up to see her mom fidgeting, opening her mouth then closing it. She steadied herself and looked at her daughter with observing eyes. Although her daughter was already twenty-one years old, she never really felt that separation from Ami, as most teenagers do when they begin to emerge from their childish selves. Ami rarely behaved so distantly and when she did, she usually told her mother. But now… Ami hasn’t said a word about what has been bothering her and now her eccentric behavior began to bother Mrs. Mizuno.

“Yes, mom?”

“Ami…what’s wrong?”


She eyed her daughter once more and carefully considered asking her next question. “Ami…is there something going on…between you and Makoto?”

Ami looked up and then down, when she felt her cheeks burn with embarrassment as she stuttered out an answer. “N-n-no… there’s…there’s nothing going on. N-nothing between us. No. No. “ She shook her head violently. Her mother smiled and then started to laugh making Ami bright red.

“Oh Ami, if you reply like that, I’m inclined to believe something.”

Ami stared helplessly at her mom, stuck between spilling her emotional heart out or to not say anything.

“I’ll listen Ami. I won’t laugh or anything at what you say. What’s been bothering you these few weeks?”

These few weeks? More like months, Ami thought to herself.

“Promise?” Ami whispered. “Promise you won’t overreact to what I have to say?”

“Why would I overreact?”
”Well. I don’t know.”

“Remember that you’re an adult now, and well… whatever you do in life is your choice. Sure I may have an opinion on it, but I can’t do anything. I’ve already directed your life to what I hope is the best direction for you. Now you’ve grown up and you are making decisions by yourself. Even though you still live under my roof,” she added the last comment lightheartedly.

“And you can do no more. Thank you for you guidance,” Ami replied. “And don’t worry, I’ll get out of your nose as soon as I can find time to get an apartment.”

Her mom laughed again. Ami loved her mother’s laugh. It was also…so melodious and gentle that it rang not only in her ears but her heart as well. “If you put it that way.”

“We had a fight.”

Her mother was perplexed in the least. A fight? Well, now that’s unusual, but why would a fight make me overreact? Unless it was physical and Ami had given Makoto those bruises and broken ribs…no.

“When did this happen?”

“Last night.”

“What about?” her mother asked.

Ami looked down again and whispered, “Yuuhi…”

Her mom glanced at her thoughtfully and nodded in understanding. “Yuuhi, is that so? What about Yuuhi?” Again, Ami hesitated. Her mother wished that she had been here for Ami more often than not. So maybe now her daughter wouldn’t be so hesitant to share her heart now when she looked like she most needs it.

“Mom…” Ami whispered. “Yuuhi is cheating on Mako-chan.”

Ami’s mother sat back in her chair, a shocked expression on her face. Her hand unconsciously covered her mouth. “Are you sure Ami?”

She nodded. “I saw them together. I told Mako-chan the other day. She didn’t believe me.” Her mother took her daughter’s hand in hers. “She yelled. She’s never yelled at me, or the others.” Ami choked back a sob while her mother pulled her into a motherly embrace. After a moment, Ami turned rigid and wriggled out of the embrace. She straightened her back and said like a woman who had never shed a tear in her life, “I’m sorry mom, I don’t want to talk about it anymore. I have to go.”

Mrs. Mizuno looked at the dejected figure of her daughter as she grabbed a book and walked out the door. She felt that her daughter was not finished with her catharsis just yet.

Ami meandered down the sidewalk replaying the ‘fight’, or rather the one sided fight with Makoto. ‘Leave me alone, Ami; Makoto had said. ‘What do you know?

“What do you know Mako-chan? What do you know?” She looked up at the sky; it seemed to match her own mood at the moment. Cloudy, gray, silent, dark, and not giving a damn about anything but being cloudy, gray, silent and dark. Looks like rain.

If I was the one who was loving you, baby.
The only tears you'd cry would be tears of joy.
And if I was by your side,
You'll never know one lonely night
And if it was my arms you were running to,
I'd give you love in these arms of mine.
If I was the one in your life.

Yukishiro Kanichi watched his young protégé with a curious fatherly eye. He had never stopped blessing his God the day He had sent this young talent to him. More customers had become to come back and he has had the most profitable years since the woman with cooking in her DNA had looked for a job her at his very own family restaurant.

Today however, she seemed distracted. Though under his scrutiny she seemed to get back on focus only to lose it when he had a busboy to yell at or a customer to greet. Kanichi even noticed that she accidentally doubled some of the orders and once even switched the orders. The customers began to grumble so he called Makoto in and asked his wife to take her spot.

He suggested to Makoto to clear tables for now. “Maybe it’ll clear up your head too,” he said warmly. “Take a break if you need it, Makoto-san.” He smiled and patted her on the back. He shook his head wearily as when Makoto went inside the storeroom to grab a large tray and proceeded to clear the tables of leaving guests. He sighed; his tan face carried the wrinkles of his life and worries, with Makoto now adding another line on his face. Yukishiro Kanichi cared for Makoto like any father would a daughter, and he never ceased to respect the woman who has been on her own since her youth. Not to mention the restaurant had been quieter since- she was good with little children. Thank God. Her odd behavior only made him worry.

Makoto worked quickly to clear a table and set fresh dishes and utensils upon it. She scrubbed it with enough fury to wear a groove into the wooden table. Her anger at Ami caused a slew of emotions within her that it made coherent thought impossible.

Even if you hate me, I’ll still be your friend.’ Ami…What was it you were trying say? I am so stupid, why didn’t I listen? Stupid, stupid, Makoto. I wouldn’t let you say anything Ami. I am so stupid and I am so sorry. You may be wrong about Yuuhi, but I had no right to treat you like I did. I am such a coward. Why can’t your face her and tell her all this? Hmm Makoto? Coward.

A small bell tinkled indicating that a customer had just walked through the door. Makoto gathered all the dirty dishes and took them to the back.

Kanichi shook his head as a couple sauntered in and was seated. As an old, tradition oriented man, he always disapproved of the show of affection in the public popular amongst the younger generation these days. Such affairs, he thought, should be kept in the private spaces of one’s home, or at least, not in his restaurant.

Makoto walked back out as she prepared to clear off another table. She caught a sight in front of her that stunned her so that her tray slipped from her hands. Quick reflexes kicking in, she grabbed it just before it hit the ground. Her mouth hung open as she tried to work her muscles to say something, to move, but they wouldn’t respond. Finally her feet moved in their own accord towards the table where Yuuhi and another woman sat. Yuuhi had his fingers running through her hair and she snuggled up way too close to him for Makoto’s comfort. Yuuhi looked up as he realized a shadow loomed over him. He choked when he saw who it was.

“M-Makoto-san.” He was speechless. Nothing came to his mind at the moment.

“Yuuhi-kun,” the woman drawled. “Who’s this? A friend of yours?” She turned her attention on Makoto. “Nice to meet you.” Her full attention went back to Yuuhi. Yuuhi desperately tried to keep Mariko from acting so familiar with him and stuttered a weak excuse to Makoto’s deaf ears.

Makoto stared bitterly at him for a long moment. Yuuhi began to sweat under her harsh emerald eyes. Her eyes were livid with rage and yet, deep with sorrow.

“It’s over between us, Yuuhi.” It took Makoto all her strength to utter those words and the will she used to keep herself from beating him senseless left her drained physically and mentally. She turned stiffly, her back rigid, and went to ask Mr. Yukishiro for another day off. He had witnessed the brief, wordless scene but, though lacking in oral explanation, it dawned on him exactly what had passed between the two. His chest constricted to see the pain in his ‘daughter’s’ eyes. Makoto thanked the man that care for her as a father, though he was still her boss, for letting her off this day. But not without consequences, Makoto would have to make up these days sooner or later.

Makoto went to the back rooms where she changed out of her employee’s dress and exited from the back door. Immediately she noticed the wet ground and the gloomy weather. It had been raining for a while. She went back in to grab an umbrella that was spare for any employee caught without one on rainy days. Makoto sighed as she picked her way around puddles and proceeded to walk home. Her heart became heavier with each step she took as she realized how her blind ignorance had ruined the best friendship she had in her life.

Seemingly a theme today, Makoto’s feet began to pick up speed on its own with her realizing it, picking a direction that she knew wholeheartedly. She ran. It started to rain.

The rain came in big heavy drops and pelted Ami at every angle. She ran, the book providing meager shelter from the rain. In a short while, she found sanctity from the rain under a large oak tree that grew isolated in the middle of a park away from other trees. However, it also shielded a growing sapling from the wind.

She sat down and leaned against the tree. She saw some people rushing out of the rain. After a while, Ami reveled in the music that the rain sang, seemingly just for her. The rain became tears for her and it shared her sorrow, mingling pain… and hope. Stray droplets of water still found their way to soak her hair and clothing through holes that leaves could not cover. She shivered slightly, it was getting cold and the gusty winds didn’t help. But she like the calm feeling the atmosphere gave her. She felt her bond with water get stronger. Dimly, her mind was aware of the consequences she’ll suffer if she stayed soaked for long. Ami disregarded her doctor’s personality.

Makoto stood on the steps of Ami’s house and knocked on the door. It opened a moment later to reveal Ami’s mother. “Good afternoon Mizuno-san. Is Ami here?” she asked breathlessly, her chest heaving and screaming in pain. Like the good little soldier, she ignored it.

Mrs. Mizuno was surprised, barely stuttering out an answer. “N-no. She went out just a short while ago.”

“Do you know where she went?” The urgency in Makoto’s voice rang an alarm in Mrs. Mizuno.

“No, why? What’s wrong? Tell me, please,” Mrs. Mizuno begged, voice raising slightly, her eyes full of concern.

“Nothing is wrong. It’s important that I find her… and tell her I was wrong,” Makoto drifted, voice full of remorse. “Excuse me, Mizuno-san. Thank you so much.” Mrs. Mizuno slowly closed her front door and stood silently for a while, finally understanding and realizing the events, emotions and feelings of both young women, her daughter especially, … and allowed herself a smile.

Makoto ran hard, not thinking with her brain, but with her feet. Her feet, led by her heart, she ran against the wind, rain and the drag her umbrella created. If she did not apologize today, she had a feeling that she would be haunted tonight for her carelessness. ‘I’ll still be your friend’ Ami’s voice rang in her head again. Ami, you’ve always been so kind to me. You trusted me and I killed that trust. She’s always been there; she’s always been my friend Always gave a damn about me. She always cared… Please forgive me, please. Please. Please. She stopped abruptly, somehow knowing she had reached her destination and found her quarry. Ami was standing next to large oak, her back facing Makoto. She seemed to be staring at nothing, lost in her own innocent world, intent on listening to the message of the howling winds.

If I was the one who was loving you, baby.
The only tears you'd cry would be tears of joy.
And if I was by your side,
You'll never know one lonely night
And if it was my arms you were running to,
I'd give you love in these arms of mine.
If I was the one in your life.

Ami fingered the rough bark of the tree. She stood at a spot where raindrops intermittently fell on her head. She was enraptured with the delicate beauty of her atmosphere, from the lush greenery to the slight haze the rain created, and the cold and the winds, everything. Which was why it took her a long while to realize something was missing. Rain was no longer falling on her head. She snapped her head up, her revelry broken. An umbrella? Slowly, she turned around and saw Makoto holding out an umbrella, not looking at her but off a ways into the distance.

“This tree is lonely, isn’t it?” Eyes closed, her hand caressed the tree. Opening her eyes, she looked around seeing no trees near this one but a sapling. Ami watched her friend’s sad face, bewildered, but her heart jumped. Hoping. “You were right,” Makoto said ruefully. “Yuuhi is a damn bastard…Sorry. I forgot-”

“No. He stopped being my friend the day he stopped respecting your relationship.”

Makoto bowed her head, keeping eyes on the ground, not daring to meet Ami’s. “I wish. I wish I could take what I said back. I wish I could erase that night from history. But I can’t. You were right. I was wrong, wrong about everything. I- I can’t be atoned. I just needed to tell you that I’m sorry, and I’ll be sorry for the rest of my life. I swear I’ll never listen to a stranger over my best friend. I promise you I will listen to what you have to say from now. You don’t even have to listen to me. You can plug your ears like I did when you were trying to be a friend.

“You gave a damn about me, got yelled at by me just because you were trying to be my friend. I’ve broken something irreplaceable. I know that sorry won’t cut it, but… sorry is the most I can do. I’m sorry; so sorry. I know that… I’m not… that I shouldn’t even ask. But I’m a coward. Please, please find it in your heart to forgive me. Let me know if you can. Tell me… Let me be your friend again…”

Makoto stayed silent, hoping for repent. Hoping for at least an answer. Ami could say she hated her for all she cared. Makoto just needed to know: forgiven, or not. Then she would stay out of Ami’s life, and not put her through that pain again; the pains of having a friend reject you for a boyfriend. Her mouth suddenly felt dry, as the silent rain seemed all there was. She shifted nervously. Still no answer. Her foot slowly shifted back ready to leave. I probably don’t even deserve an answer. Some friend I was.

Ami could not say anything. She turned away, tears freely falling from her face. Her throat constricted. Her heart was fighting a battle, and her mind couldn’t do anything. Rational thought seemed impossible as she tried to wrestle hundreds of emotions at once. Her heart felt like it was clenching tight enough to burst. Suddenly, she felt a hand grab hers and press something in her grasp. She realized it was Makoto’s umbrella. Ami felt an extra weight around her shoulders. It was Makoto’s jacket, and it was still warm. She turned around, “Ma-“ Makoto was already rapidly walking away. “Makoto…”

If I was the one, if I was the one,
In your life.

Done! Yay! Any comments? Mistakes? There should be I guess. Hey, can’t blame me! First posted fic. If I Was has been approximately a month in the making. Which is not bad considering that I have stories written 3 years ago still not finished.

In ‘If I Was…’ I decided to use Ami’s mother as her confidante instead of the others because, well, Ami is a really shy person, and hey, who best to turn to rather than your own mom? Though their relationship is a bit sketchy at most. It would seem hard for a person like Ami to talk with her other friends about her emotions. Yeah, well, fill in the blanks with your imagination, because my head is empty right now. Haha…

Note: I might add a short epilogue; I just don’t want Ami and Makoto’s relationship to just hang now…

Date Completed: 25 February 2002