Sailor Moon Fan Fiction ❯ Neptune: Year One ❯ Interlude VI ( Chapter 25 )

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]

-Neptune: Year One-
Disclaimer: Sailor Moon is the property of Naoko Takeushi, Toei and Kodansha.
-Interlude VI-
Naru Osaka looked once more up at the posted National Mock Exam Ranking Results. She saw her name, and sighed. She had a long, hard road ahead of her if she was going to pass the actual entrance exam with a high enough grade to get into a good senior high. Not as long or as hard as her best friend Usagi, but hard enough. Her eyes traveled up on the posted results until they came to rest at the name at the top.
Ami Mizuno.
She could still remember the conversation yesterday, about how Mizuno's score was the best not just in Juban Junior High but in the entire country. Umino said that the girl's I.Q was rumored to be near three hundred, and another girl overhearing the conversation mentioned how she went downtown every day to a special cram school and how her mother was a doctor. The girl went on to say that Mizuno had a bad attitude though, and that she thought she was better than everyone else. Naru hated people like that.
She could hear the traffic in the hallway dying down. The last thing she wanted to do was daydream her way into getting caught standing in the halls after the second bell, especially when next period was lunch. She hurried down the corridor and made it to the back of the cafeteria line. Just before the second bell rang a second set of steps could be heard behind her. She turned around to see who was behind her, and frowned. Sure enough, it was Ami Mizuno. Naru rolled her eyes. It wasn't that she was jealous mind you (at least, she wasn't about to admit that was it), she just didn't like having to be so close to Little Mrs. I'm-better-than-everyone.
Naru got her food and quickly left Ami behind as she took her tray over to a very familiar table. A pair of baby-blue eyes and a huge grin met her. “Naru-chan," Usagi asked, "What took you so long?”
“I just kind of lost track of time,” Naru said as she set her tray down and sat across from her best friend. “Oh, Usagi-chan, you'll never guess who was in line behind me.”
Usagi was about to ask who when she saw someone entering the cafeteria with her lunch tray, “Ami-chan!”
Naru blinked as she watched her best friend wave over to someone. Her eyes followed in the direction Usagi was waving and, with a shock, realized she was calling Mizuno over. The blue-haired genius herself seemed a bit shocked as well, her face turning bright red as Usagi stood up and called her name louder, causing others to look over. The girl quickly hurried over and sat next to Usagi in the seat the blonde had been saving for her.
Naru's jaw hung open in shock. Ami, for her part, put her hand up to her face as she tried to hide the fact that she was still blushing feverishly. Usagi, blissfully unaware of both Naru's shock and Ami's embarrassment, turned back to her best friend. “I'm sorry Naru-chan, who did you say was in line behind you?”
Naru was at a loss as to what to say. She looked over at Ami and saw that she was awkwardly picking at the food on her tray. “Oh, nobody,” she finally muttered.
Usagi tilted her head a bit at that before shrugging her shoulders and turning to Ami. “Ami-chan, did you have fun yesterday at the arcade?”
Ami looked nervously up at Naru, then to Usagi. “Hai.”
Usagi smiled and turned from Ami to Naru with a sort of expectant look in her eyes.
Naru meanwhile was searching her brain as she tried to figure out why in the world Usagi would want anything to do with Ami Mizuno. She struggled as she tried to think of something the three of them could talk about. “So, um… Ami-san, I hear that the cram school you went to had some sort of disturbance yesterday.”
Ami nodded, “Hai.”
Naru's left eye began to twitch. One word answers, terrific. “Well, exactly what happened?”
Usagi suddenly choked on her milk. “Wha… *cough* What happened?” The incident Naru was referring to was of course the youma battle that took place in Ami's class. It was also the incident that alerted both her and Luna to the fact that Ami was in fact a fellow Senshi, Sailor Mercury. She began to rack her brain for a rational story that wouldn't involve monsters or browbeating talking cats.
“Oh that?” Ami responded quickly, “Well some practical joker snuck a stink bomb into the computer class I was in, and somehow it shorted out all the computers in the school.”
Usagi's eyes widened. “Wow, she's good…”
Naru looked over at Usagi, “What?”
“Oh, nothing,” Usagi said sheepishly.
An uncomfortable silence fell upon the table. Usagi looked from Ami to Naru and back, frowned a bit, then suddenly broke the silence with an awkward laugh. “Naru-chan, did you read that manga I loaned you yet? Isn't it hilarious?”
Naru chuckled a bit half-heartedly. “Yeah, funny.”
“You have to read it, Ami-chan,” Usagi giggled, “there's this guy who's cursed, and whenever he gets splashed with cold water he turns into a…”
“Usagi-chan,” Ami said as she glanced once more in Naru's direction, “Maybe I should let the two of you talk, ne? I'll go sit over by the window.”
“Don't be silly, Ami-chan. I called you over because you're my friend too now.”
"Now?" Naru asked.
“I… I know, but I just feel… Well, like I don't fit in...”
“Wait a minute,” Naru interrupted, "Ami-san, just how long have you and Usagi been friends?”
Ami turned to Naru. “Since yesterday,” she replied a bit awkwardly.
Naru smiled as she shook her head, “Only been friends for a day, and Usagi-chan's already embarrassing you in public by yelling your name out in the middle of the lunch room? That's her all right," she said with a laugh. "She's always doing stuff like that. Has she told you yet about what she once did to me at a karaoke club?”
Ami relaxed a bit. “No, she didn't.”
“We were supposed to sing a duet, but there was only one microphone. Usagi started pushing me away and trying to grab the mike...”
“Hey!” Usagi yelled, “You pushed me out of the way!”
“Whatever. Anyways, long story short, we're banned from the karaoke place for another six months.”
“Because you wouldn't give up the mike!”
“Because it wasn't your turn!”
As the two girls began to bicker, Ami started to chuckle despite herself. For her part, Naru began to soften towards the newcomer. The girl, it turned out, wasn't a snob after all; she was just shy. Naru told several more embarrassing stories about her best friend and herself. Near the end of the lunch period Ami herself began to open up, telling a humorous story of how she'd once tried to give herself a haircut in kindergarten with a pair of safety scissors.
Finally, the period bell rang. As the three girls got up from their seats to head back to class, Usagi turned to Ami. “Ami-chan, you're going to sit with us again tomorrow, aren't you?”
Ami glanced cautiously over to Naru, “Well…”
“Of course she is,” Naru spoke up, “After all, I have yet to tell her the story about how you got Play-Doh stuck in your hair back in fifth grade.”
“Hey!” Usagi yelled, causing Ami to once more giggle good naturedly. Outside the cafeteria, the blonde watched as her best friend and Ami walked off down the hall together and smiled. Ami was a friend now, and it was important to her that Naru accept her. After all, between battling youma, putting up with an acerbic cat and trying to choose between Motoki and Tuxedo Kamen, she already had enough to worry about. And while it looked a bit uncertain at first, Ami eventually came out of her shell a bit and Naru warmed up at least a little toward her.
Yep, Usagi thought proudly, it looked like everything was going to work out just fine. She smiled smugly as she then decided that it would be a good idea to maybe take Ami out window shopping, show the girl what a good time was and…
The second bell brought the blonde out of her reverie. “Wah! I'm late for class again!” Usagi cried as she ran down the hall, late once again for her teacher Haruna Sakurada's class.
-End Sixth Interlude-