Sailor Moon Fan Fiction ❯ Super Sailor Mercury: Shattered Ice ❯ Chapter 11

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

Super Sailor Mercury: Shattered Ice

Part Eleven

Keiko led Ami and the others over to the dining table, moving with confidence through the crowd. Arisugawa's Locket was crowded as usual, young ladies of various types mingling and talking animatedly all around them. The dance floor was packed and a line-up waited patiently up by the bar as three bartenders rushed to serve drinks.

"Wow," Chibi-Usa murmured softly, looking around her in awe.

Hotaru walked beside her, the taller black haired girl staying protectively close. "I'll agree with that," she nodded.

"Don't worry," Setsuna smiled down at the two little girls, "the Locket is neutral territory, there's never any fights or trouble here."

Ami smiled slightly, her eyes dark as she said, "It's quite the place."

Setsuna was about to ask her something when they reached their table. Ami held out a seat, and she settled down with a smile, "Thank you."

"Sorry," Keiko smiled sheepishly, her brown braid flowing down her back, "but we're really crowded tonight. It'll be a few moments before someone can take your order." She bowed, "But you will be served in a few moments." With that, she was off.

Hotaru looked around wide eyed, "There's a library, too?"

Ami smiled, "I noticed that, too. A good selection, though some of it's not appropriate for younger readers."

"Ah," Hotaru nodded, "like Haruka-papa and Michiru-mama's books."

A long beat of silence, then Setsuna looked down at Hotaru thoughtfully. "What sort of books?" she asked curiously.

"The ones that they keep hidden in the back of their bedside dresser," Hotaru explained to them innocently.

It looked like Setsuna was doing her best not to laugh aloud and Ami was fighting to maintain her straight face. 'I'm glad Chibi-Usa isn't jumping in,' Ami mused.

A tall violet haired woman in a Chinese dress reached them, moving through the crowd with confidence. Shampoo beamed at them, the busty young woman holding a order pad, "Ohayo! How can I serve you tonight?"

"What's good for tonight?" Ami asked curiously.

Shampoo nearly laughed aloud, "Everything is good out of this kitchen, Mizuno-san. Would you like our dinner special?"

Ami looked over at Setsuna and the others, weighing their opinions. Setsuna nodded with a smile, both little girls chiming in their agreement. "Okay," Ami turned back to Shampoo to say, "we'll go with the special."

"I'll be right back," Shampoo bounced away, casually slapping off random hands as they tried to feel her bottom.

Setsuna shook her head with a smile, "It looks like she's still working part time here."

"Paying off damage from the last fight she got into with Ranma and the others," an amused voice came out of the crowd. A tall, orange haired woman stood beside the table, looking down at the four of them thoughtfully.

"Ami," Setsuna said calmly, "I'd like you to meet Arisugawa Juri-san."

"Ma'am," Ami looked up at her cautiously, feeling mildly embassased, "I wanted to apologize for the incident the last time I was here."

"It's been known to happen," Juri's voice was gently. She smiled at Chibi-Usa and Hotaru, then looked back at Ami and Setsuna, "I thought I should warn you that Rei and some of the others are here tonight."

Ami paled slightly, then she nodded grimly. "Thank you," Setsuna said, giving Ami a moment to recover herself.

"Keiko told me you were coming," Juri said as she turned to walk back towards the bar itself, "it was the least I could do."

"She had the oddest look on her face," Hotaru murmured softly.

"Juri's home reality is a different one than ours," Setsuna chose her words carefully, "and in that timeline she and I are a couple."

Ami recovered from that bombshell pretty fast, smiling at Setsuna wryly, "Then Arisugawa has good taste."

Setsuna actually blushed slightly at that comment. Before she could say anything in reply Shampoo returned to their table, stylishly dropped off four fully loaded plates then took off with a cheerful bounce.

"More than one Setsuna?" Hotaru asked Chibi-Usa softly.

"Puu tried to explain it to me once," Chini-Usa looked with awe at her fully loaded plate, "about every event birthing an infinite number of possible futures." She paused before adding sheepishly, "But I fell asleep midway through."

"Infinite numbers of all of us," Hotaru mused. She tilted her head to the side, "I'm not sure if I like that idea or not."

"Forgot to order drinks," Ami noted. She smiled, pushing back from the table smoothly, "I get some sodas for the girls. Is there anything you like?"

"Sake, actually," Setsuna frowned slightly, "but do you want me to...?"

Ami smiled down at her wryly and said, "If something does happen, you can always come rescue me again."

"I doubt you'll need rescue," Setsuna murmured, watching her stride towards the bar.

Ami cut through the crowd casually, her black suit soaking up the dim light. She recieved a few startled glances, as well as eyes tending towards her scar. She ignored it, reaching the bar itself and taking in the three women bouncing along the counter to serve the press of women.

"What can I get you?" the black haired woman asked, the blue haired twins busy.

"Two cans of soda, a bottle of sake and a cup as well as..." Ami trailed off thoughtfully.

"If I remember right you take a shot of whiskey," the blue haired woman appeared with a smile, taking in Ami's scared face. "Good to see you, Mizuno-san," the woman smiled.

"Have we met?" Ami raised an eyebrow in question.

"Ryouko," the blue haired woman flipped her long mane of hair back as she poured the whiskey, "we met once, but you may not remember."

"Ah, my binge," Ami winced.

"That wasn't a binge," the scarred twin chimed in, "my sister drinks like that for fun." She smiled at Ami, "Minagi."

Ami was about to say something when hands grabbed her from behind, squeezing tightly as a familiar voice cried out, "Ami! What are you doing over here?" Ami turned quickly, watching the black haired woman freeze in surprise as she took in her scarred face. Rei Hino took a step backwards, "I'm sorry, I thought...."

"It's all right," Ami said, feeling an odd mix of tearing pain and pleasure at seeing Rei standing before her, "I guess this sort of thing happens here a lot."

Rei smiled back, seemingly sensing the emotions that Ami hid beneath the calm surface. She looked Ami up and down and remarked, "The suit looks good on you."

With that Rei collected her drink and left, soon meeting with a Ami that looked much younger. The two hugged, a surprisingly intimate gesture, and Ami found herself wondering at the paths not taken. With a shake of her head she laid cash on the counter and collected the drinks, carefully retracing her way back to their table.

Setsuna looked at Ami as she set the drtinks down and tyook her seat. "Something happened, didn't it?" she asked, gently laying her hand on Ami's.

"I saw Rei up at the bar," Ami said softly, eyes clenched shut as she fought to retain her control. She was surprised to feel another hand on her arm, and looked down with eyes swiming with tears at Chibi-Usa.

"You told me it was all right to cry," Chibi-Usa said softly, "that goes for you too, right?"

Setsuna reached out to pull Ami close to her gently, holding the young woman as a few precious tears streaked her face. She stroked the back of Ami's head, patted her back, and generally said all the things you do when a friend is crying.

"You need to wipe your eyes," Setsuna said gently as Ami pulled back, "your face is all red." Gently teasing, "You don't know how to cry at all."

"Gee, thanks," Ami managed a smile, pulling a cloth from her pocket.

To be continued...