Ranma 1/2 is Owned by Rumiko Takahashi.
Sailor Moon is owend by Naoko Takeuchi.
Ah! Megami-Sama! is Owned by Kosuke Fujishima.

Not Another SI Fic!
By; Taiteki Kagato

[knock knock]

"... the hell?" I asked, glancing at the clock. Indeed, it was as I'd thought, an annoyingly early
four-thirty in the morning, and someone was knocking on my door. I blinked, then sighed,
reaching for my discarded pants.

{knock knock}

"Yeah yeah, keep your pants on." I said to the door, muttering after words, "while I pull on mine."

Finally getting the old kung-fu pants I'd kept from my failed attempt to reintroduce myself to
martial arts, I reached under my futon, grabbed my (extremely dull) sword, went to the door and
opened it, blocking the sword with the door, so as not to initially startle my early visitor.

I blinked. Once. Twice.

"Oy." the woman in the doorway said.

"... the hell?" I asked again. The sword fell away as I continued to stare, and I finally realized my
guest was saying something to me. I shook my head then grinned sheepishly at the person in the

"What?" I asked, somewhat nervously.

"..." The woman, a really beautiful woman at that, frowned and closed her mouth. Then she
closed her eyes, muttered something in Japanese, and then looked at me again.

"Hey." She said, in typical American English.

"Umm... Yeah, sure. Can I help you?" I asked, unsure of what was happening, but not willing to
question it... yet.

"Well..." she started, frowning again, "I'm not sure. Can I come in?"

"I guess." I replied, glad to have cleaned up earlier in hopes of getting a visitor. That Kate had
never arrived was a disappointment, but at least my cleaning wasn't for nothing.

"How… cute." She said, staring at my Christmas tree. I just closed the door behind her, then
motioned to my couch-futon for her to sit down. She did, and I sat in my nice, soft executive-style
leather chair, swiveling it to face her.

"So... thanks, by the way. About the tree, I mean. Umm.. what can I do for you miss...?"

"Mara. Just Mara, if you would." She said, smiling smugly. Suddenly, I recognized her.

"Mara.. Demoness Mara?" I asked, frowning at her. Her eyes widened in shock then, and I
quirked a brow at her, surprised by her rather extreme reaction.

She looked like Mara, too. Blonde puffy hair, a slightly evil-ish grin, dark clothing one would have
trouble finding anywhere, and extremely piercing brown eyes. I wasn't quite sure how to respond,
so I just stared at her. Finally, I broke the silence.

"Nice costume. What can I do for you?"

"It's not a costume. You just proved you know who I am, stupid. Don't act dumb now." I blinked at
that, frowning a little.

"Look.. it's four-thirty in the morning. What can I do for you? It's a little early for me to go out
cosplaying, and I don't have much in the way of costumes, as-is. Hell, I don't even look like
anyone, really. So..." I said, trailing off with a shrug.

"Cosplay?" She asked, when I was done.

"... Yes. You. Mara. Anime. 'Ah! My Goddess.'" I frowned at her look of confusion. Scooting over,
I grabbed my 'Mara Strikes Back' Manga off my lower bookshelf, and the first Ah! My Goddess
DVD and tossed them to her. She picked up the Manga, and stared, intently, suddenly ignoring
the apartment around her.

I watched, worried, as she grew pale. What the hell was going on? Here I was, four-thirty-five in
the morning, watching an obvious Mara-cosplayer acting like she was seeing Mara, or Ah! My
Goddess for the first time ever.

Finally, she turned to me, and asked, (in an eerily empty-voice) "Where the Hell am I?"

"My Apartment. Denver, Colorado. A little east of the rocky mountains. Who are you again?" I
asked, hoping to get her real name. The glare she gave me, and the odd illumination shining in
her eyes (a rather worrisome red) was enough to shut me up. Finally, I decided to ask what the
rational part of my brain kept telling me wasn't possible.

"Are.. are you really Mara?" I asked, a bit of wonder creeping into my voice.

"Yes, dummy. I said that already. But.. Where? What the hell are these? What's going on? Did
you summon me, or something?" All these she asked rapidly, looking more and more worried.

"I-" I was cut off by another knock at the door. Looking at my clock, I blinked again. "Nani, yo?" I
muttered to myself, expending quite a bit of my Japanese vocabulary in that one breath. Opening
the door stood another girl, dressed in...

"Umm.. Kino Makoto? Or Lita Something-or-other?" I asked, dreading either answer, but
expecting to be right with one or the other.

The girl in question blinked. "H-hai." She said, before speaking more Japanese I had no hope of
comprehending. I turned to Mara, and quirked a brow. "Did you catch that?" I asked,
remembering what she'd said when she'd arrived.

".. Yeah. She asked how you knew who she was, and where she was. I thought you could speak
Japanese." She said, staring at me questioningly.

"Hai. Iie. Ja ne. Domo Arigato. Nani yo? Nani desu ka? That's about it. Little bits more here and
there, when I can remember them. It is rather late, you know."

A small cough reminded me that there was a Sailor Senshi in my doorway, albeit untransformed
at the moment. I turned back to her, then shrugged, stepping out of her way, and motioning for
her to come in. Her slight frown turned into a look of suspicious confusion, before she stepped in.
I looked around, and grinned sheepishly, wondering if maybe I had gone overboard with my wall

She sat beside Mara after a second, and turned to me, speaking again, slowly.

"You speak no Japanese?" she asked with a heavy accent.

"Ahh.. No. Um.. iie" I said, frowning as I threw the last bit in. Then I smiled a bit. "Furinkin koko wa
doko da!" I said, imitating Ryouga. They both stared at me, and my sheepish grin wilted.

"Umm," I started, remembering that 'ano' can mean the same thing, "... Mara? Could you
translate for me?"

"I could. But it would be easier if I just cast a spell to teach you Japanese, instead."

"... You can do that?!" I asked her, a look of shock on my face. Makoto glared at me, and Mara
was staring at her humorously.

".. Of course. I am a Demoness First Class, remember? If it's convenient for me, I can probably
do it."

"Oh.. could you teach her English, instead?" I asked, not quite willingly. "As cool as it would be to
be able to understand my anime collection the way it was meant to be, It'd be easier for her if she
could understand us both. Besides, if she's stuck here, then she'll need to be able to talk to other
people besides you and me."

Mara frowned a little (no doubt annoyed I'd come up with a more logical solution, or something
demonically weird like that), then turned to Makoto. Then I remembered.

"Ah! Umm.. first, tell her what you're about to do, and that your power may feel dark, but it's not..
or something like that. Because if she thinks you're attacking her, I do not want to be on the
receiving end of a Jupiter Oak Revolution or whatever attack-of-the-season she's currently got."

Makoto stared at me, a look of suspicion masking the shock I could see in her eyes. Mara
frowned, shrugged, and turned to Makoto, talking to her for a moment. After a little dialogue that I
tried valiantly to follow (but failed miserably), Mara turned back to me.

"She said she'd go through with it, only if you did first." I shrugged, then frowned, "Okay.. teach
me Japanese. And nothing but Japanese, okay?" I said, watching her.

"Look, I just want to know where the hell I am, I can't even feel much of a Nifelheim, or the push
of Asgard right now, and the sooner she can understand, the sooner you can tell us what's going

With that, she pointed at me, and a red beam of light (magic I assumed) shot out of her fingertip,
and hit my forehead. I saw Makoto pull a weird pin shaped object out of midair, but when she
didn't do any more than that, I sighed, wondering if I should feel anything else. Finally, the
lightshow stopped, and I looked at Mara again.

"That's it?" I asked.

"Yep. Easy, eh?" she said, grinning a little.

"I guess so. If it even worked." I said, frowning at her. She just grinned a little more. Then I
realized something. "Say that again?" I asked. She repeated herself, and I suddenly realized she
had spoken in Japanese. I'd responded in English, but had understood it without flaw. "Whoa."

Mara grinned, and Makoto turned to her.

"Well, I suppose, if it worked enough that he understands Japanese, you can do it to me. Your
power feels evil, though. Why?" She asked. I just stifled my grin, and sat back, waiting. Mara
shrugged, and pointed at Makoto.

After the light show finished, I looked at Makoto, and asked her how she felt.

"No different." Was her reply. I grinned. Mara turned to her with a quirked brow, but said nothing.

"I.. hey! I understood you! And you were speaking English!" she said in Japanese. Then she
frowned for a second, before saying in perfect (if American English can be considered perfect)
English: "I am speaking in English, now." then she laughed.

"Heh. Won't Minako be jealous when you get back?" I asked, testing the water.

"You bet she wi... how do you know so much about me?" She said, turning towards me. Then she
gasped. "What the hell..." She asked, walking over to the bookshelf. I turned, following her gaze,
and spotted what caught her eye. My little Sailor Moon figurines I'd gotten back in Jacksonville.

"Oh. Those. Great, aren't they? Too bad my ex stole my Mercury." I said with a frown. I also said
that in Japanese, to see how well I could do it. According to what I suddenly knew, and the
reactions I got, I did fine.

"Where... where am I? Nobody sold these things at any of the stores I've been to." Makoto said.

"We were just discussing th-"

[knock knock}

I groaned. Mara stared at the door angrily, and Makoto was still staring at the figurines. Thankfully
(I suppose) she hadn't spotted the DVDs one shelf down.

I moved towards the door, unsure who to expect this time, and pulled it open. There stood...

"Nabiki Tendo?" Well well. Isn't this a nice surprise. Hey, you two," I called to them in English,
"Don't act dumb, don't get smart with her, and for the love of god, if you have money on you, don't
let her know about it."

Nabiki stared at me, Mara glared at me, and Makoto just nodded as she pulled her figure's
ponytail off.

"Money?" Nabiki asked, accented, but understandable. The interest in her voice, however, was
very obvious.

Oh yeah. Nabiki was a bit more on top of things than the others. It wasn't surprising she could
understand more English than Makoto had. "Mara? Could you..." I asked, motioning to the figure
in the doorway.

Mara nodded, and, after Nabiki entered, she hit her with the English-ray. I caught, however, the
brief look of surprise as she spotted my Ranma wall scroll. After the light subsided, I turned to
her, and grinned.

"A little lost, Nabiki?"

"And you are?" She asked, frowning. Her frown suddenly grew as she repeated herself in
English. Then she looked at me, then Mara.

"Wha.. This is interesting." She asked, a bit of wonder in her eye. I thought I also caught a
glimpse of greed, as well, but knowing exactly who she was might have skewed my perception of
her a little.

"I taught you English so nobody would have to explain everything he," Mara said, motioning
towards me, "Is about to tell us, to you."

"Not that I'm complaining or anything, but couldn't he have 'explained everything' in Japanese. He
certainly knew how to ask if I was lost well enough."

I sighed, then shrugged. "Makoto.. want to join us for our 'where are we' discussion?"

Makoto whirled, then blushed. "Sorry.. yes. Umm..." She said, looking around. I signed, then
pushed my chair to her, walking to the closet. A moment later, I emerged with a folding chair, and
set it down so that it faced the couch. Makoto, in my chair, Nabiki sitting aside my pillow, and
Mara sprawled out (upright, somehow, both Nabiki and Mara on the Couch-ified futon) looked at

"Well.. I suppose introductions are in order." I started. "Since I know who and what you all are, I'll
make this short, so we can get to the bottom of this fast."

Looking at Makoto and Mara, I pointed at Nabiki first. "Nabiki Tendo, Middle Tendo daughter,
Over Akane, Under Kasumi Assumed/Eventual sister of Ranma Saotome, Daughter of Soun
Tendo and his departed wife. She's very, very smart, very good at extracting information and
wont hesitate to make a buck at your loss." Nabiki was grinning and nodding (the grin turned into
a full smile when I complimented her intelligence) before crashing into an indignant frown and
shout at my finish.

"You seem to know me pretty well, Kyle." I stared at her in shock, then thought about it. My name
was all over the place, you just had to look for it to find it. Still, that was pretty good. I decided to
exercise a bit more caution around her than I'd already decided to.

The others were looking at her a little nervously then, so I pointed at Makoto next, shrugging off
Nabiki's comment.

"Makoto Kino. A parentless high school student who's been expelled from various schools for
fighting," I glared at Nabiki, who'd snorted in amusement," She's an excellent cook, a good friend
to have watching your back, and seems to think every other guy looks like her old boyfriend. Oh
yeah. She's also Sailor Jupiter, and, judging from her reaction earlier, the Sailor Galaxia arc has
been completed, though how long ago that was, I'm unsure."

Makoto, like Nabiki, had expressed a lot during my speech, from a frown at the 'parentless'
remark, to a pleased grin at my compliments, and finally a shocked look at the revelation of her
secret identity. I shrugged before she could deny it or ask how I knew, and pointed at Mara.

"Mara... umm.. Mara. A fickle individual currently assigned.. I think, to destroying the relationship
budding between the Goddess Belldandy and Keiichi Morisato. ... that's about all I know. Oh!
She's also a Demoness First Class. Don't piss her off. At least, not here, please. And no, Nabiki,"
I said, responding to the look she gave me when I called Belldandy a 'Goddess.' "I meant that
literally. I'm not deluded, like a certain Kendoist you and I are thinking of."

Nabiki closed her mouth, and sighed. I pointed to myself, and cringed, thinking about how dull my
own introduction would seem, now.

"Kyle's my name. 20 years old. I write Anime-based fanfiction, know a little bit about electronics..
and just about any other subject on the planet, and serve food to Denver's demented population
in..." I looked at the clock, "five hours. So! If you all could excuse me, I'm going to go to sleep,
now. Please don't wake me up.... Nabiki? Mara, could you move? Thanks."

I pulled my futon into it's bed-shape, and pulled back the covers, before looking at the others. The
stared back at me, frowning.

"... what?" I asked.

"Typical male." Nabiki said, sighing. I just glared for a moment, before sighing. "Fine. Fine. I'll
sleep on the floor. You all can fight over the bed."

"I don't need to sleep, really..." Mara said.

"Great!" I said, turning my back to her as I went to dig for a blanket.

"... and neither do you." She amended.

"Eh? Um. Yes. I'm tired. It's late. And I... oh. Heh. Guess we're not through talking yet, eh?"

My nervous 'heh' and follow up sentence just sort of came out, when I turned around to look at
her. Mara was holding up a fist that was glowing with more reddish energy, though I doubt I'd be
learning anything other than pain if that light touched me. Makoto and Nabiki were both glaring at
me, as well, arms crossed. I sighed. Work was going to suck tommorow.


"So you're saying my entire life was just for entertainment?" Makoto said, angrily.

"Well... you've brought hope to a lot of people... probably." I said, not wishing to anger the
obviously upset Senshi of Jupiter (untransformed). I'd just explained how I knew so much
(deferring to a couple of my favorite Sailor Moon episodes when words weren't enough) about her

"Oh. That's real comforting. My parents are dead to add a little suspense to my life's story. My old
boyfriend was nothing more than comic relief. I can't even remember his name, and now, I find it's
just to give me a more mysterious past. If I was sure it wouldn't have bad repercussions for my
friends, I'd blast this 'Naoko Takeuchi' into the next world..." She stared down at the Sailor Moon
Manga I'd handed her. "... And what the hell's this LITA crap? It's Makoto. Ma-Ko-To." She
slumped in my chair, and I looked at Mara or Nabiki for help. Not getting much more than a pair of
amused stares, I sighed.

"Umm.. Makoto.. would you like some food? I've got some Ramen I could throw on..." I asked,
hoping to take her mind off all the information she'd just recieved. Moving over to my small
Kitchenette, I pulled out the Ramen and started fixing it.

"Nabiki? Could you look through that spool of CDs on the bottom shelf of my desk? There should
be a burned CD labeled 'Ranma 1.' You're up." I said, pouring the steaming ramen into a large
bowl. Setting it on front of Makoto, I grinned sheepishly as she looked at it suspiciously.

"Umm.. something wrong?" I asked, watching Nabiki sort through the CDs.

"... This isn't like any Ramen I've ever seen. Where are the vegetables? And... are you sure this is
Ramen?" she finished, aparently unwilling to ask all the questions about it she'd like to.

"Heh." I nervously chuckled, before staring at the floor. My carpet can be really interesting. "It's
instant Ramen. I'm really cheap when it comes to buying food." Yep. That spot of carpet was
really amazing.

".. fine. Where are the chopsticks?" She asked, looking around.

"Umm.. you know how to use a fork and spoon, right?" I asked, sheepishly, handing her the
utensils. She looked at them, then shrugged, taking them and testing the Ramen. "It's not too
bad." She said, quietly, before slowly working on the bowl. A couple bites later, she looked at me,
and smiled a little. "Thanks, Kyle." I just grinned and nodded, before loading the first Ranma

"Do ALL these shows have annoyingly sappy theme songs?" Mara asked from the couch. She
was currently engrossed with my Game Boy, though, from what I could hear, all she was doing
was running mario off a cliff. I grinned, and asked Nabiki to let me use the computer for a second.
She scooted, and I loaded Winamp, and the Ah! Megami-sama! Theme. Mara stopped playing,
then glared at me as the singing started. I just grinned, paused the song, and started Ranma
back up.

The episode was pretty good, though when Nabiki (onscreen) started groping Ranma-chan
("Does this look like a boy to you, daddy?") Makoto started gagging on her ramen. Finally, when it
ended, Nabiki turned to Makoto, then me, and nodded.

"Alright, Kyle. I believe you. And I agree with Kino-san." she said, in Japanese. " Rumiko
Takahashi wrote my mother's death for suspenseful reasons, yet I don't see any reference to it at

"Well... hmm.. you know, that subjects never really covered, as far as I can tell. Granted, the most
I've ever seen is up to the Gambling King.. everything else I know is fannon, or second hand info,
so... " I shrugged, not bothering to continue.

"Mara?" I said, turning to the video-gaming Demoness. She looked at me, then shrugged.

"Why bother? I know my history. Besides, considering what I've seen, so far, we're all secondary
characters. I don't really feel like watching Belldandy and Keiichi act all lovey-dovey."

"Okay." I said, shrugging. "Can I go to sleep now? I've-" I was cut off by the buzzing of my alarm
clock. "-got no time." I deadpanned, pressing the off button. "Excuse me." I said, standing and
wearily collecting my work uniform. Once everything I needed was in hand, I went into the
bathroom, and started running the shower. 15 minutes later I emerged, cleaner, and still tired.

"Today is going to suck." I said to myself. Nabiki smirked, Makoto looked asleep on her feet, and
Mara had her nose inches from the screen of the Game Boy.

"Ja ne, then. I'll be back around three. Try not to make a mess, please." I said, walking out the
door. As it was closing, Nabiki caught it, and stared at me for a second.

"Yes?" I asked her.

"Can I.. can I come with you?" She looked a little nervous, but curious, too. I thought about it,
then shrugged. "I suppose so. Nobody should really say anything, though you need to be
unobtrusive at first, since I start an hour before we open." She nodded, and followed me to my
car. She glanced quizically at my front liscense plate, then shrugged, getting in.

A few minutes later, I arrived at Applebees, Nabiki trying her best to hid her fear at my wreckless
driving style, though doing so unsuccessfully. I smirked at her, carrying my apron as I walked to
the door. "America. Live fast, die young." I said. She just shrugged, looking around. Thinking
about what she was seeing, I shrugged back at her, explaining.

"Lots more cars her than in Tokyo. So we have to have big parking lots." She looked at me with a
small smile, before entering Applebees.

After explaining to Ed, the Manager, that Nabiki was a friend from Japan, and wanted to watch
me work, he reluctantly allowed her to sit at the bar as we opened up. A couple co-workers asked
her a few questions, and she answered them politely, but quickly, leading them to assume she
was just a little nervous. Finishing my side work, I asked her if she wanted anything to eat, and
then realized she wouldn't know much of what we have to offer. Showing her a Menu, she quickly
selected the Blackened Chicken Fettuccini Alfredo, and I punched it in, feeling her scrutinous
gaze on me as I did so.

Sitting with the others at table fifty a couple minutes later, we started our pre-shift meeting, before
filing off to wait for customers to arrive. I walked over to Nabiki, and leaned on the bar beside her
as she ate her pasta.

"So... this is my work place. pretty fun, eh?" I asked, rhetorically.

She looked around, then down at her food, twirling a few noodles on her fork. "It's not bad, I
suppose. Where are all the people?" She asked, staring at the doors as she chewed her food

"Mornings here are always slow. It'll pick up by noon." I yawned, wishing I could just go home and
sleep. She nodded, watching as an elderly couple walked in the door. A few minutes later, one of
the Regulars walked in and sat at the bar nearby, ordering his regular drink. I moved to greet a
table I'd just gotten, and then went to get their drinks.

After getting that, and their food orders in the computer, I went back to Nabiki, who was now deep
in conversation with the Regular. He finally grabbed his bag of food to do and left, glancing my
way once, before walking through the door.

Lunch continued on, the crowd growing to peak around two (late, compared to most days) before
tapering off. After being cut, Nabiki watched with interest as I bargained my way out of rolling
silverware, and using a couple underhanded tricks to finish things off in a quick (if not orthodox)
way. Finally, I took off my apron, and threw my card inside it.

"Alright, Nabiki. Ready to go?" I asked, walking towards the door.

"You did good there," she said, staring at me.

"What?" I asked, switching to Japanese.

"The bargaining. You played him," she pointed to the server who was supposed to check my
silverware, "off against him," She said, nodding towards one of my friends, "to get yourself a
lower price."

"Huh? Oh." I nodded. "Everybody has a price. The trick is making them agree to yours." I opened
the door for her, and she smiled at me again, as she walked out with me right behind her.

The drive back was short an uneventful, and Nabiki took that time to play around with the money
I'd earned over the course of the day. I yawned as I opened my apartment door, leaving it open
so Nabiki could follow me in. I stopped, however, when I realized how messy my apartment was.

Makoto was sleeping away on my futon, and Mara was sitting at my computer, laughing
maniacally as she chased a scientist around in Half-Life with a crowbar. I groaned, and went to
the Fridge, stopping to stare again, as I realized all my Liquor was gone.

"... Mara?" I asked, growing angrier as I spotted the bottles sitting out on the counter. "Did you
drink all my Liquor?" I asked through clenched teeth. The TripleSec hadn't been finished, though
it was lower than I had left it. Everything else though...

"Makoto couldn't sleep, so I told her to try a little drink. She started gagging on that 151 stuff, so I
told her I'd spilt the rum with her, instead. A couple shots later, and she crawled into bed. I wasn't
quite at my limit, though, so I finished off the rum, and then the vodka. That 151 stuff is still in
your fridge, though. I like strong liquor, but that wasn't much more than lighter fluid. Even if it is
some special Bacardi blend, or whatever." She didn't stop playing, and she hadn't noticed how
red I'd gotten.

All my Liquor gone except for a bottle of Bacardi 151, and TripleSec. Great. I was hoping to have
used it for a party, but I guess Mara didn't feel that way. Sighing heavily, I looked at my occupied
bed longingly, especially my pillow, before making a bed on the floor with the blankets and sheets
I had stored in the closet.

"Goodnight." I said emotionlessly as I pulled the blanket over my head.


[Poke poke]
Someone was poking me in the back with something. I blearily pulled an eyelid open, and rolled
to glare at my antagonist. Makoto, kneeling over me, with a pen in her hand, stared down at me.

"Huh?" I asked, realizing she'd said something.

"Clean your bathroom. And then we need to go get some food. Then, we need to talk about
getting us back home."

"..." I blinked at her, wondering what kind of damage I'd receive if I rolled back over, then I sat up,

"Okay. Give me a second." I said, walking into the bathroom. Five minutes later, I emerged, an
annoyed look on my face, and a trash bag full of soaked toilet paper in my hand. Makoto entered
after I'd exited, closing the door behind her, and I walked outside, to the dumpster, to get rid of
the garbage in my hand. Then I went into my apartment, and grabbed my wallet, counting the
money I had.

Nabiki watched me, having paused the movie (Aliens) She'd been watching, as I did so. Makoto
came up beside me, and watched me count the money for a second, before looking at the door.
"Lets go, then. I'm hungry, and I'm not sure how long this is going to take."

I nodded, resigned, as I pocketed my wallet and grabbed my keys. Then I looked down.

"Hold on a second, Mako-chan." I muttered, walking into the closet. a couple minutes later I
emerged, dressed in my black silk outfit, looking much better than my work uniform.

".. Nice." Nabiki said, nodding. I just shrugged, as I walked out the door, Makoto following me.
Behind me, I heard the movie start back up, and wondered if I should get Nabiki some popcorn.

The drive to Super Wall-Mart was longer than the drive to work, but Makoto seemed to not mind
the sudden bursts of speed, the (seemingly) random stops, and quick, crazy lane changes.
Getting out of my car in the parking lot, she grinned at me.

"You should talk to Haruka. She'd probably love the way you took that corner." She then looked
out, towards the setting sun, as if remembering the other Senshi wistfully. We walked into Wal-
Mart silently, Makoto looking around in surprise.

"Don't you have department stores in Japan?" I asked her, curious.

"Yeah, but they're usually a bit more... conservative. This is almost gaudy." She responded,
looking suspiciously at a stand covered in ugly generic feminine razors.

"Oh.. yeah. A cart. Hold on a second." I said, running back towards the door. I returned with the
cart, and started walking with it, Makoto following.

"You should grab what you need, or what you think the others will need, and throw them in. Try,
though, to find the cheapest of items if you can. I don't have that much money, and I really don't
want to ask my parents to help pay the rent again."

15 minutes later, we'd stocked up on quite a few feminine hygiene products, as well as some
cleaning supplies I'd been substituting wet paper-towels for. The Food Aisles were ahead, and
Makoto was staring at them in anticipation.

"Excited?" I asked her, a bit of humor in my voice.

"These.. I've never seen stuff like this before. Well, this I have. but This? And this!" I looked at
what she'd grabbed, and cringed. Frozen Eggplant Parmesan.

"Yeah... great. Umm.. We should probably stick to basic ingredients. They're cheaper that way,
and you can make things you know by heart. I've always wanted to try some of your cooking."

She perked up at this, and I reached out to snag a can of pizza sauce in passing. After loading
the cart with rice, vegetables, a few spices, and a couple chunks of meat, we made our way to
the checkout line. I grabbed a couple suckers off the candy area, remembering something about
Nabiki liking them, though I had no clue what flavor she'd like. I'd also grabbed a 6-pack of
Budweiser for Mara, and let Makoto grab herself a cheap scarf she'd seen in the clothing section
as we made our way around the store.

Passing through the checkout like, I sighed in relief as I pocketed the change. I'd worried we
might be over, but I could make up what I'd spent in a couple days. Makoto wrapped the scarf
around her neck with a grin, and we walked out the door, the cold Colorado air biting through my
thin shirt. I signed, wishing I'd remember to wear a coat, then shrugged, knowing that the leather
jacket I'd loaned Makoto was at least keeping her warm.

Throwing the items in the trunk, we made our way back to my apartment, and I sighed as I
walked up to the door, wondering what kind of mess Mara'd left for me to clean up this time.

I was pleasantly surprised, however, to find Mara asleep on the futon, and Nabiki on the
computer, watching Sailor Moon DVDs. Makoto set the groceries down on the counter, then
turned to watch Sailor Moon talk with Sailor Saturn moments before she leapt into Pharaoh 90. I
sighed as I put the groceries away, wondering what Makoto planned on cooking for us all.
Finishing, I threw the bags in the pantry for later use, then went to the bathroom. Emerging, I
watched Nabiki close down the DVD player, and walk over to Makoto.

"Have fun at the store?" Nabiki asked, looking at the scarf.

Makoto shrugged, turning to the computer. "What other movies do you have?" she asked me. I
shrugged, and pointed to my small DVD rack, when an Idea hit me.

"Hmm.. Makoto? How about you cook food, and when it's all ready, we'll all watch a movie
together. Sound fun?" She shrugged, and walked into the kitchen to start working on dinner, and I
turned to Nabiki.

"Can you get Mara up? I'll need to get everything set up if we're going to do that." She looked
over at Mara, then nodded, a slight grin on her face. She turned to the computer, and looked
around my hard drive for a moment, before shrugging, and grabbing one of the Ah! My Goddess
DVDs. Scrolling through the first episode, she came to a point I recognized as a corny-sounding
scene with Belldandy and Keiichi repeatedly saying each other's name. Turning the Volume up,
she hit play, and Mara awoke with a groan, and a glare. Nabiki giggled, and Makoto just smiled a
little, as I sat there, watching the three interact.