Sailor Moon Fan Fiction ❯ Tumultuous Tides ❯ Chapter 9

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

Ami was quick to pack, but Shingo was quicker. As Ami signed out of the hotel, a full seven hours earlier than expected, Shingo went and got the car, insisting on driving the whole way back to Juban.
"You should let me drive Shingo," said Ami, gently taking the keys from him, Shingo nodding wearily as he let himself be coaxed into the passenger side of the car.
Ami tried to talk to Shingo on the way back, but none of the words seemed right in her mouth, as if they were strangers looking for idle conversation.
Trying again, Ami started, "So Shingo, you haven't told me what you're planning for University next year?"
Ami was slightly surprised as she finally got a response from Shingo.
"I'm going to Juban University next year to study Medicine," said Shingo softly, as he thought back to the many University applications that had scattered his desks for months as he had tried to decide on a course.
"Of course it'll probably take me the full six years. I'm not as smart as you," continued Shingo without any real enthusiasm, his mouth seeming to run-on with no consultation to his mind what-so-ever.
"You never know, and I'm not sure being as smart as me is really a good thing," sighed Ami, taking a brief glimpse out the side window and watching the scenery fly past her as if she were somehow racing to her destiny.
"Of course it's a good thing," replied Shingo, no emotion in his voice like there might have been if he wasn't so depressed.
"I'm sure they'll be fine Shingo," comforted Ami, reaching her hand over to Shingo's but stopping midway, unsure if it was really the best option.
Of course they'll be alright, they're the future King and Queen, thought Ami, secretly wishing she could tell Shingo of the certainty she knew.
"Why didn't you keep in touch Ami?" asked Shingo suddenly, obviously paying a lot more attention that Ami had previously given him credit for.
"I really don't know anymore," whispered Ami as the tears pricked at her eyes.
"So what do you want to major in at Uni?" questioned Ami, trying to turn the conversation away from her.
"I don't know yet. Either Pharmacy or Surgery," replied Shingo, looking at little more interested as they passed through yet another small town.
"They're both hard to get into, you'll have to make sure you stay in the top 10%," said Ami automatically, repeating the words her mother had said to her when Ami started Uni only three years before.
"I know, but I can do it," said Shingo with surprising force.
"I know you can too," said Ami without thinking, her hand still wavering in midair as her indecision whether to grab Shingo's hand still fought inside of her.
Ami jumped slightly as her indecision was taken away from her, Shingo having reached out and grabbed her hand that was suspended in midair.
"I would've been nice if you were at Juban," said Shingo, obviously more content with the happier topic.
"Yeah," agreed Ami, shocked because she had never before considered if she could have actually liked Juban. It wasn't as prodigious as her university, but it also didn't cost as much even though the score for the courses was just as high. Why didn't I think of Juban? Ami questioned herself, trying to remember the feeble reason that she had given her mother.
As the silence descended upon the pair again Ami considered how her life could have been if she hadn't moved out of Juban, if she had stayed with her friends and mother.
We could have stayed the way we always were, thought Ami in anguish, wishing she could somehow take back the past three years of her life.
You can't change the past, Ami reminded herself as she took a sloping corner, hoping that driving with one hand wouldn't impair her if a quick, sharp corner suddenly loomed on them.
I could have been there when Chibiusa was born, I could have seen the opening of Makoto and Rei's restaurant, I could have witnessed Minako's rise to fame and I could have… I could have saved myself…
Ami thoughts rattled in her brain, as if tempting her to feel guilty but all that Ami felt was loss as she wondered at all the things she had chosen to miss because she thought that the distance would impair her relationships.
You were a fool Ami, she thought to herself, sighing and noticing how Shingo's eyes looked over at her in concern as she did.
One big, stupid fool.
Shingo was quick out of the car as Ami dropped him off straight at the hospital, Shingo having given Ami a key to the house so she could drop his stuff off before returning to her own apartment.
Shingo didn't ask if Ami wanted to come in, though he knew that the other girls were likely to be there.
I'm not in that family anymore, Ami reminded herself as she drove around the familiar streets, taking in how much of the scenery had actually changed in the short time she had been away. The Juban council had been re-paving all the sidewalks and re-lining all the streets as a new initiative to re-beautify Juban's residential areas.
It is beautiful, thought Ami as the sun shone down on the new paving stones, lighting upon the freshly planted trees and gardens.
How could the world be this beautiful when everything could be so wrong? Sighed Ami resignedly as she considered Mamoru and Usagi.
They'll be okay, Ami thought as she parked in the driveway of the Tsukino's house.
Getting out of the car, popping the boot and grabbing Shingo's suitcase Ami looked up at the old weathered house where she had spent many an afternoon with Usagi and the girls. Of course majority of them afternoons had been deeply un-productive, the familiar memories of sitting out on the balcony, their legs through the bars and their arms entwined displayed to Ami just how much she had lost when she had left Juban.
"I'm sorry," whispered Ami to the house as she let herself in, knowing the path to Shingo's room only too easily as she carried his relatively-light suitcase, up the stairs.
Ami kicked open Shingo's door, placing his suitcase on his bed just like he had specified. Ami tried not to look around the room but as she did it only made it more obvious to her how much Shingo was the same as the 11 year old boy who used to tease and taunt Usagi every night and day.
Ami meant to go straight back downstairs and back into her car but as she passed by Usagi's old room she couldn't help but take a peak into it.
Ami's throat instantly constricted as the tears welled up inside of her, Usagi's room was exactly the same as it always was. Throughout the four years that Ami had regularly spent time in the room it had never changed, and even though another three years had passed and Usagi had moved out and was now married and a mother, the room was still untouched by time as if it were a simple reservation to the past that could be entered upon at will.
Ami quickly closed the door as silent tears found their way down her cheeks, free-falling to the wooden floors below her feet.
Taking her leave quickly, Ami was sure to lock the house, even remembering to hang up Shingo's keys on their hook.
Climbing back into the car Ami finally let the tears envelop her.
I'm sorry, pleaded Ami to herself as she silently wished to be able to leave Juban for ever.
This was why I left…
Shingo raced into the intensive care ward, not really knowing what he was expecting, but what he received was something far from that of the image his brain had concocted.
"Shingo!" exclaimed a happy and cheerful Usagi, her arms full of the small Chibiusa as usual as she sat up in the hospital bed, already surrounded by family and friends.
"You're okay!" exclaimed Shingo, giving Usagi a tight hug, careful not to touch her obviously broken bones.
The fact that one of her legs was in a sling, most likely broken, or that she had apparently broken her shoulder and cracked her skull were the most insignificant points in Usagi's life.
"We need to stop all bumping into each other like this," joked Usagi, poking Minako as she said so.
"How did you get back so quickly Minako?" asked Shingo, his eyebrows furrowing and all concern having evaporated as soon as he had seen Usagi and heard that both her and Mamoru were going to be fine.
"Helicopter," said Minako simply, shrugging at Shingo's wide-eyed expression.
Shingo shook his head, smiling again at his older sister, taking Chibiusa in his arms for awhile as Usagi was delivered her dinner.
"It's only five pm, isn't it a little early for dinner?" considered Makoto as she took in the mildly repulsive hospital food.
"It's never to early for dinner," replied Usagi, not put out by the foods less than satisfactory appearance, popping a forkful straight into her mouth without looking at what she was eating.
"So has Mamoru been awake?" asked Shingo as he walked around with Chibiusa who was hiccupping along with Shingo's strides.
"Yeah but apparently they gave him a few drugs so he might be out for awhile," shrugged Usagi, obviously not to concerned.
She sounds like Ami, so sure and easy about the whole predicament. She almost died as she's acting that she knew she was going to pull through all along, considered Shingo as the small Chibiusa reached up and was giving Shingo's chin a good few whacks with her tiny fists.
"At least you're all here!" exclaimed Usagi with a mouthful of food, causing Rei and Makoto to roll their eyes, Minako just laughing at her friend's exuberance.
Not all of us, thought Shingo sadly, his mind wondering to where Ami would be right now and if she knew that Usagi and Mamoru were alright.
"Ma, can you take Chibiusa for awhile, I have to ring Ami," said Shingo, handing the wriggling bundle to his mother who looked at her son with a perplexed expression.
"Okay," she replied as Shingo strode off, not really caring what would be said about him by the other girls.
Dialling the familiar number into his phone Shingo idly wondered why it was taking Ami so long to pick up.
She doesn't usually take this long, he considered, as he started to pace in the hallway, several patients and nurses looking at him oddly as his footsteps thrummed out a rhythm on the lino floors.
"Come on, pick up Ami," whispered Shingo anxiously, now biting his lip as well as the phone eventually ran-off, leaving him with an empty tone.
Shingo swore under his breath, snapping shut his phone and walking back into the room, six expectant faces looking at him.
"That was quick," said Minako simply, turning her face back to Usagi.
"I couldn't get a-hold of her," said Shingo, trying to shrug it off as the others turned their attention back Usagi, even though she sat up in bed with a worried expression on her face as she considered her younger brother.
"Do you want to call into her house?" asked Usagi as Shingo started to continue his pacing in the small room.
"It's alright," shrugged off Shingo, "It's too far anyway."
Why didn't you pick up Ami? Shingo questioned as he shot one furtive look out the window.
Ami stood out the front of the hospital, her phone vibrating against her hand, also causing the rings on her finger to vibrate with it.
Ami didn't bother looking down to see who was calling her, it didn't matter to her all that much.
Probably just Ma, thought Ami as she slowly walked through the hospital sliding doors, the immediate smell of disinfectant and bleach attacking her nose like it always did.
Ami smiled past a few of the nurses she knew from her time in the hospital, they smiled back simply, their smiles not reaching their eyes as they did so.
You're a stranger, thought Ami wearily; suddenly realising she had no idea what room Usagi was in.
Ami paused for a moment at the elevator, before turning back to approach one of the nurses she had recently passed.
"Excuse me, what room is Chiba, Usagi and Mamoru are in?" Ami's voice came out anxious and shaky, alarming the nurse somewhat.
"Floor seven, room 14," said the nurse, checking her files and giving Ami another smile.
"Thankyou," replied Ami, making her way back over to the elevator, it announcing to the small crowd there of its position with a very definite 'ding'.
Ami wasn't sure if she really wanted to see them, but her choice was removed from her as the crowd of the people behind her pushed her into the elevator, leaving no room for deliberation.
Here goes nothing, thought Ami, taking in a deep breath as she waited for the short elevator ride to end.
Stepping out of the elevator Ami took a glance up each end of the long hall, turning right and coming to room 14 quickly. Taking in one final deep breath Ami pushed open the door, her appearance being met with seven sets of eyes.
"I just wanted to come over and make sure you were both okay," said Ami, her voice cutting in and out as spoke, taking in Usagi's plaster-covered leg and the several body parts covered in bandages of which she could see.
Shingo instantly walked over, grabbing Ami's wrist in comfort as Ami began to walk over to the bed, trying to keep the tears out of her eyes.
"Thanks for coming Ami," said Usagi, no surprise or shock in her voice, unlike the appearance of it on several of the faces surrounding them.
"It's okay," replied Ami, a small smile bracing on her lips.
"Here, you can hold Chibiusa for awhile," said Usagi, motion for Ikuko to hand Chibiusa over to Ami.
Ami took Chibiusa in her arms, the little girl giggling and laughing at meeting a new person.
"She's so big," whispered Ami in amazement at how heavy Chibiusa was.
"She eats like Usagi," joked Minako, giving Ami a small smile.
Rei looked disgruntled as she took in the obvious warmness between Ami and the two blondes, squeezing Makoto's hand in the process.
"What goes around comes around," laughed Ikuko, brushing a stray piece of hair out of Usagi's eyes.
As Ami bounced the small Chibiusa in her arms, as she was unaware of the hand that was placed on her shoulder from Makoto, or that Shingo's hand had slipped into her's.
Looking up, the sorrow seemed to attack at her again but Ami pushed it back as she received a hesitant smile from Rei and a lightning bright one from Makoto.
Almost like High School, thought Ami, Chibiusa falling asleep in her arms.