Sailor Moon Fan Fiction ❯ Tumultuous Tides ❯ Chapter 5

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

Shingo stared at the pile of clothes he had on his bed, his eyebrows drawing together as he tried to consider what clothes he might need on a weekend away at the Hillstop Hotel.
"Well, I'll definitely need these," said Shingo chucking into his open suitcase his newest pair of swimming trunks. Staring at the mountainous pile of clothes that he had sifted through Shingo was surprised to hear a knock at his bedroom door.
"Come in," said Shingo, confused at who would be wanting to talk him.
Usagi's head poked around the door, her eyes taking in the hunched form of her younger brother and the hideous pile of clothes beside him.
"Oh, hey Usagi," said Shingo, watching as he sister came to sit on his bed, looking uncommonly serious, "What's up?"
"You're going away on a weekend with Ami, aren't you?" asked Usagi, clearly distraught by this news, though Shingo couldn't see why.
"Yes…" trailed Shingo, unsure of what Usagi was trying to get at.
"You'd tell me if anything was going on with you, wouldn't you Shingo?" questioned Usagi as she played with the seams of one of his shirts.
"Yeah, I suppose," replied Shingo, giving his sister a sidewards glance as he continually re-organised his suitcase, his fingers anxiously creasing the fabric.
"So, you'd tell me if you were interested in someone?" queried Usagi, obviously trying to get to the point she was attempting to make.
"Um…" started Shingo, he and Usagi had gotten closer over the past years, and he did tell her almost everything now but Shingo wasn't sure if he could tell Usagi about this romantic endeavour, "I'm… I guess so."
"You don't have to if you don't want to," clarified Usagi, dropping her hands to her side and looking sternly at her younger brother, "I just want you to be careful."
Shingo's eyes widened somewhat, "You think I should be careful with Ami?" he asked, stunned so much by his sister's truthfulness he forgot about being coy.
"If there's something going on with Ami," started Usagi, biting her lip, "It's just, Mama is worried about you. Ami's recently developed a habit of coming and going as she pleases and, don't get us wrong, we still care for her, it's just that she's not the Ami she used to be."
Shingo stared at Usagi, and anger rearing up inside of him from a place he didn't know existed within him.
"You think Ami's that different? That she'd just come and go?" Shingo's voice got louder as he spoke, trying to fight the flames of rage that scorched his insides.
"You have to admit she's different Shingo, you are her friend too, maybe even more so than me now," admitted Usagi sadly, the fact that she was no longer close to Ami clearly disturbed her.
"She's not that different Usagi," said Shingo, trying to think of how he could explain Ami, "She's still the same person, she's just grown to encompass more of the world, just like all of you have. Yeah, she does focus herself a lot on University but she's smart, so why shouldn't she? And you know, she does still want to be friends with all you girls but being the way you were when we had that dinner the other night just made it all the more evident to Ami that she didn't belong anymore. Ami probably didn't mean to shut herself off when she left for University, but because she stopped reaching out to you, you stopped reaching back when neither of you really wanted the friendship to end. Your friend is still there Usagi; you've just got to reach out to her a bit. She's intimidated by the intimacy that she no longer feels apart of so all you've got to do is find a way to bring her back."
Shingo surprised himself with his speech, and it seemed, surprised Usagi also.
"Shingo I came in here to talk about a romantic relationship," whispered Usagi uncertainly.
"Ami and… Me?" Shingo's voice was incredulous but inside he knew that was what he was wishing for.
"I guess we were wrong. But… You're smarter than I give you credit for Shingo, I'll give you that," laughed Usagi, "And I would like my friend back, but it's not as easy as you say it is. Friendship is a two way street Shingo."
Shingo sighed as his sister got and up left. Shingo was not amiss to the palpable happiness that Usagi had from the conversation.
Would a relationship between Ami and me really be that bad to them? He questioned, a little put-out by Usagi's response as he resumed trying to pack for the weekend.
Ami glanced at her small array of clothes scattered around her room as she hastily prepared for what was going to be a very awkward weekend.
"Where did I put my green top?" murmured Ami as she again went through another pile of clothes which she had discarded.
"What are you looking for sweetie?" asked Saeko, standing at the door and watching her daughter anxiously pack.
"My green top that ties at the back… And it has the ruffles at the hem…" said Ami, not looking at her mother, instead her eyes and fingers still eagerly coursing their way through pile after pile of clothes.
"Did you put it in the wash?" laughed Saeko as Ami's head shot up at the sudden realisation.
"I did, didn't I?" said Ami, scratching her head causing another laugh from Saeko.
"Come on, I've made you a coffee, you can finish packing tomorrow, you aren't leaving until late afternoon anyway," said Saeko as she waited from her daughter at the doorway.
"I guess, and I could use a drink," said Ami, standing up properly and turning to join her mother in the door way.
"Come on then, anyway it might take the night to dry," said Saeko as she put an arm around Ami's shoulders, leading her down the familiar stairs.
"I have a question Ma," said Ami as she fiddled with the bracelet on her wrist.
"Sure," said Saeko happily as she turned Ami into the kitchen.
"Why're you here? I mean, isn't Caleb and Fureo waiting for you at home?" asked Ami referring to her mother's new husband and son.
"This is home for me as well Ami," said Saeko sternly as she looked down at her daughter.
Ami hadn't taken the news lightly when her mother had re-married two years ago, quickly producing a son for her and Caleb. Of course that meant that Saeko had left Ami her old apartment in Juban but Ami didn't feel like this was home anymore. This was a halfway-house for both her and Saeko. Ami's home was the dorm-hall at the University where she studied, while Saeko's home was the new, little house in the recent housing development just outside Juban where she lived with her new family. Ami stared around the apartment that used to be home for so many years. Ami had always imagined that Saeko would stay here forever and that a piece of her childhood would forever be preserved in this space, but it wasn't quite so. Even though Saeko had left the whole apartment as it had always been it didn't live up to Ami's childhood memories. There was too much dust and dirt around the place, the fridge was never full and the freezer was just a huge block of ice. The floorboards weren't polished and a small film of dirt and grim now covered the windows. But the biggest change of all was the emptiness. Ami had mostly always been alone in the apartment but she had never felt like the apartment had an emptiness to it, she only realised later that it was her mother who gave the apartment its life and not her.
Ami sighed as her mother handed her a coffee, stirring the spoon around and around until it made a little whirlpool in the centre of the cup.
"You know that no matter how much I love Caleb and Fureo, I'll always love you too Ami," said Saeko softly as she sat at the bench with the daughter, like they used to whenever Saeko was home from work.
"I know," said Ami quietly.
"Caleb asks about you all the time. He can't believe how well you're doing at your course. I wish you would visit more often Ami, you haven't seen Fureo in several months; he's learning to walk now," said Saeko as she tried to pull Ami into her new life.
"I bet he's real big too," laughed Ami, remembering how chubby her step-brother Fureo had always been.
"Yeah he is, but he's a growing boy," laughed Saeko back.
Silence fell as the blue-haired women slowly drank their coffee.
"I saw Usagi and Mamoru at the supermarket the other day. Their daughter is so beautiful. Reminds me of when you were little," said Saeko, obviously thinking back to her first marriage and how much time had passed since then.
"Do you ever think of Papa?" asked Ami, a little bit worried about asking the question.
"Of course, he was my first love, and he was incredibly talented to," said Saeko, her eyes glazing over somewhat as she moved back into the depths of her memories, leaving Ami a little time to think over her own life.
"I was only your age when I had you," said Saeko wistfully, continuing to press her lips to the cup even though she had already drunk all of the coffee.
"Yeah," said Ami, swallowing back as she thought of the pregnancy test she had yet to look at which was sitting in a bag in her underwear draw.
"But I was so happy, I had a beautiful baby girl," Saeko's voice seemed to get further away as Ami's hands moved to her stomach where her own uncertainty seemed to pulsate.
Would I be happy then? Could I? Asked Ami ruefully as she considered a future with a small child in her arms, yet no man by her side.
I would make a further mockery of our name, just like my parents had with their divorce, stated Ami as she pondered the possibilities that her life still had to offer.
"Anyway, you'll probably finish your studies first, then you'll work and find a man to marry. You'll be sensible Ami," stated Saeko clearly as Ami mulled over her own immoral and impure behaviour.
You aren't as correct as you think you are, replied Ami to herself as she searched the remnants of her coffee for the answers she needed.
"You'll be sensible, right Ami?" asked Saeko, still half in a daze.
"I'll try," murmured back Ami as she looked out the window, wondering how on earth her mother would take the news if Ami was indeed pregnant.
Rei tipped her head to the side as she considered Chibiusa's face, "I think she definitely looks more like Mamoru."
"Yeah but we all know that she grows up to be much too similar to Usagi," teased Makoto, throwing a chip at Rei, Rei catching it in her hand and eating it.
"You say that like its bad a thing," said Minako as she wandered around her huge bedroom, looking for her incense burner.
"It might be," stated Makoto shrugging as she grabbed Rei around the middle and tickled her.
"Can you two not do that right now? I'm currently the only one without a partner and it's really annoying when you two are being all lovey-dovey, not to mention the happy-weds," stated Minako, pouting as she considered her boyfriend-less state.
"Oh come on Mina-Chan, you could get any guy you wanted!" exclaimed Rei, laughing, causing Chibiusa to let out a short cry at the sound.
"I don't think you two are doing a very good job at babysitting," stated Minako, finally finding the misplaced incense burner and throwing it into one of her five suitcases on the massive bed.
"I don't think you really need all this stuff," retorted Rei as she looked through the five suitcases sprawled out on the bed.
"How would you know?" teased Minako, picking up one of the chips out of the box that Makoto had brought.
"Because, tell me, what are you going to use your old The Three Lights CD for?" laughed Makoto as she picked up the album.
"Mako-Chan!" exclaimed Minako, hurriedly grabbing the album out of her hands.
"I wonder why they haven't come back and seen us?" questioned Rei, quirking her head to the side in thought.
"Planning on ditching me are you?" questioned Makoto flippantly, elbowing Rei in the ribs lightly.
"Of course, what else would I do?" joked back Rei.
"I said stop it!" Minako pouted with fake anger at her two friends.
"I see you're teaching Chibiusa the way of the Scouts," laughed Mamoru as he rounded the door, instantly picking up a disgruntled Chibiusa out of her pram.
"We just stopped for a chat," said Makoto as Usagi came slowly from behind Mamoru, an uncertain look on her face.
"What's up goldilocks?" questioned Minako taking in the look on Usagi's face.
"Shingo's going away this weekend with Ami to the Hillstop Hotel," said Usagi, her brows furrowing as she spoke.
"I've told her it's not big deal but she seems to find it a point to worry," stated Mamoru as he tried to hold onto the squirming Chibiusa.
"That's where you're going, isn't it?" asked Rei to Minako.
Minako nodded, "Yeah, I'm going there this weekend, but I don't get why it's such a big deal. I mean they're friends aren't they?" she questioned.
"Usako thinks they're more than friends," said Mamoru as he held Chibiusa above his head, causing a delighted squeal from the child.
"Ah," started Makoto, instantly getting all their attention, "They were both acting a bit weird yesterday when Shingo sort-of ran into us at the Crown Fruit Parlour."
Usagi's eyebrows rose as she considered this information, "Shingo came back late from work yesterday."
Mamoru tilted his head and sighed, "I'm sure it's nothing Usako, you worry yourself too much."
Usagi looked over at her husband, "I do not."
"Actually you do, you've turned into quite the parental figure Usagi-Chan," joked Rei as she thrust a chip into her mouth.
"Yeah, but she still trips over things and eats ridiculous amounts of sweets and sings really badly in the bath," stated Minako, matter-of-factly.
Usagi contorted her face into face anger, "Oh yeah, well I don't see you being oh-so mature Mina-Chan!"
"Mina-Chan's never been mature, remember?" stated Makoto, poking her tongue out at Minako.
"You haven't always been that responsible either Mako-Chan," shot back Minako.
"Well I think you've all been rather childish, everyone except me that is," stated Rei calmly, popping another chip into her mouth as she spoke.
"Well who was it that always rushed into a fight and never thought things through?" said Minako.
"And who was it that always used to fight with Usagi over comic books, and sometimes still does?" retorted Makoto.
"And who still insists on borrowing all our clothes and not returning until we come over to get them," stated Usagi.
Rei laughed, "Okay, so I'm still childish, but you got to admit I do it in style," suggested Rei as the three girls laughed at her.
Usagi sighed, it was so easy to be fun and light-hearted around the girls but she couldn't shake the feeling that something that wasn't quite right was going to happen, and she knew that it involved Ami.
Please be careful Shingo, prayed Usagi as she watched her three friends throw taunts at each other.