Sailor Moon Fan Fiction ❯ Super Sailor Mercury: Shattered Ice ❯ Chapter 24

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

Super Sailor Mercury: Shattered Ice
Part Twenty-three
"Ami? Ami, wake up," the familiar voice called.
Ami Mizuno opened her eyes, the blue haired young blinking a few times to look up at her mother's somewhat anxious face. "Mom?" she managed to ask, feeling a moment of disorientation.
"Do you know where you are?" Nicole gently pressed, her darker blue hair falling into concerned eyes. Around her Haruka, Michiru, Setsuna, Hotaru and Chibi-Usa all looked on anxiously.
Taking a moment to look around and get her bearings Ami dryly answered, "I'm laying on my living room couch, is this a trick question?"
"That's our Ami," Haruka grinned in relief.
"You gave us a bit of a scare when you fainted," Luna said from where the black cat was perched on the top of the couch.
Ami winced a bit, "I'm sorry, I..."
"It's all right, Ami," Nicole patted her hand gently. Looking up she smiled at Chibi-Usa and Hotaru, "Do you think you can keep an eye on her a few minutes?"
"Sure," Chibi-Usa said, the pink haired girl smiling brightly.
Locking eyes with Haruka, Michiru and Setsuna she rose as Nicole said, "Let's talk."
"Mother..." Ami started but Nicole had already lead the three out of the room.
"Don't get up," Hotaru gently put a hand on Ami's arm as Ami tried to rise, then the black haired girl smiled, "do you want her annoyed at you, too?"
"Guess not," Ami said, deciding it was the better part of valor to lay back down.
"Is she all right?' Haruka demanded, her sandy blonde hair somewhat more messy looking than normal.
"I can't find anything physically wrong with her," Nicole reassured them. Her voice went oddly flat as she asked, "As far as I can tell she collapsed from exhaustion.. what's going on?"
After exchanging looks with the others Setsuna faced Nicole, her greenish tinted black hair flowing around her. "I'm sorry," she said, "it's all our fault."
"A new enemy has appeared recently," Haruka elaborated, "and we've been going out on patrols every night searching for them."
Nicole sighed, rubbing between her eyes. "You all know that Ami's doing advanced course work, clubs, taking care of Chibi-Usa and working with you... didn't you realize that adding nightly patrols might be a bit much?" she asked.
"I'm sorry," Michiru repeated softly.
Nicole softened a bit when she saw the clearly repentant looks on the three women's faces. "I don't have any authority over you," she said gently, "but please keep in mind that Ami can only be stretched so far... before something like this happens."
Luna looked almost as guilty as the cat perched on Haruka's shoulder. "We'll try to find a better way to handle things," she promised.
"Actually," Artemis sounded thoughtful from where the white cat stood on the floor beside them,. "Ami may have already come up with a solution."
"Eh?" everyone looked at him in surprise.
"We can leave Ami at home while we do the patrols," Artemis explained patiently, "then wake Ami with the communicator if we run into a Phage."
"Why didn't I think of that?" Setsuna said after a moment.
"Because it's simple," Nicole noted, "and most people don't think of simple answers."
Out in the living room Ami smiled at Hotaru and Chibi-Usa and said, "Sorry if I scared you."
"I think Setsuna was more worried," Chibi-Usa volunteered, "Puu actually transformed and went to get your mom."
"I wondered how she got here," Ami looked up at the clock, noting how short of a time had passed since she fainted.
"I'm glad you're all right," Hotaru said with her usual gravity.
Before Ami could reply the others headed inside, the group heading over to where Ami was sitting up on the couch. "I don't see any blood shed," she joked, "is everything all right?"
"I wouldn't hurt your friends," Nicole said reassuringly then she flashed a smile as she added, "well, not too much."
"It's all right," Setsuna hurried to reassure her.
Haruka sat on one end of the couch, meeting Ami's eyes frankly. "Your mom thinks you collapsed due to overwork," she explained.
Ami looked away, "It was probably just healing the Phage that did it..."
"Either way," Michiru said, "I think we have a suggestion to solve the problem." With that Artemis explained their idea, then they all looked at Ami to see how she'd take it.
Ami frowned as she examined the idea from all angles. "It seems workable," she finally admitted, "but I'm not bowing out of patrols all together."
"And we aren't expecting you to," Setsuna quickly agreed, "but we'd like to save your strength for the times we really need it."
"I can't really argue with that," Ami conceded.
"Good," Nicole stretched tiredly, "now, if your sure you're all right I need to get home." A smile, "I have morning rounds at the hospital tomorrow."
"Do you want a drive home or...?" Haruka asked curiously, nodding towards where Setsuna stood meaningfully.
"No offense intended," Nicole smiled at Setsuna, "I'd rather take the ride."
"None taken," Setsuna smiled.
"All right then," Michiru said briskly, "we'll drop Nicole off when we all go home."
"Thank you for coming," Ami hugged her mother a bit hesitantly as she said, "and I'm sorry for worrying you."
Nicole hugged her back warmly, "It's all right, I'm just glad you still need me."
Quietly Setsuna said to Michiru, "I'm going to stay a bit, if you don't mind."
"We'll see you at home," Haruka nodded as they collected Hotaru and Nicole, then the four women and Artemis headed out.
"Are you all right?" Setsuna asked as she sat on the couch by Ami, just after they had put Chibi-Usa to bed.
"Other than feeling pretty embarrassed about fainting," Ami smiled wryly as she sat back with a sigh, "I'm fine."
"It wasn't your fault," Setsuna shook her head. After a moment she added, "In fact I'm feeling pretty guilty myself."
"Huh?" Ami looked confused.
Setsuna looked away, her eyes troubled, "I'm a nurse and I'm around here so often... why didn't I see that anything was wrong?"
"I think my mother is overreacting a bit," Ami reached over to squeeze Setsuna's hand comfortingly, "it probably was just normal tiredness plus healing the Phage."
"I'm not taking that chance," Setsuna said, her voice filled with emotion, "I don't know what I'd do if you were hurt..."
"Setsuna?" Ami looked at her in surprise.
Without another word Setsuna bent forward and gently pressed her lips to Ami's....
To be continued!