Ami notices a lot of things. She prides herself on her ability of observation. She may not always like what she's seeing, especially when things start laying out a picture that doesn't end up as beautiful as it seemingly starts. However, it doesn't stop her from watching.
For someone striving to excel scholastically, being proven wrong would usually be frustrating. Ami, however, likes to be proven wrong. She wanted to be proven wrong when her father disappeared. She wanted to be proven wrong when her mother began working longer hours to make ends-meet. She wanted to be proven wrong when the students at the high end academy that her mother insisted she try were just as cruel as they would be elsewhere, judging her for her intelligence and belittling her for her lack of emotional response to their taunts.
Moving to this new and average seeming school had not been a hard choice. She'd managed well enough the past year, and this new year seemed no less daunting or horrible than those past. She was used to the looks, the snarky comments made behind her back or to her face. She is well versed in burying herself in her studies to ignore such meaningless drivel, trying hard to keep her emotional balance as she'd managed this entire time.
She is long used to pretending to be the robot many of the other students call her. It has been one of the worst names they have come up with, to be frank. It is the one that seems to sting the most. However, instead of letting them win with such petty remarks, she takes on the namesake, smoothing out her expression and maintaining a stoic approach to all things dealing with her peers. She's taken the name for herself, making it part of her, owning it.
Her new class this year is not very much different than years past. The only major difference is that she's mostly left to herself, the Robot left her own little corner and ignored. Ami takes this as an opportunity to carefully gauge her new classmates, learning who will strike at her and who is most likely to leave her alone.
Usagi is very easy to notice. The blond is late on the very first day, no less. She barges in without warning, disheveled and out of breath. Haruna Sensei has no pity for the blond, apparently very used to her antics. She verbally berates the girl before sending her to her seat.
Ami is somewhat alarmed it is close to her own seat. Such a character could not be beneficial to be associated with.
This is proven more so as time passes. Usagi proves to be loud, easily distracted, and forgetful. Ami discreetly watches as the blond goes through each day, willfully butting heads with Haruna Sensei and blatantly ignoring most of what Sensei says. When they pass in tests, Usagi's handwriting proves illegible, and Ami is extremely grateful she is never partnered with the blond. More so when Usagi frequently comes to class without her homework assignments.
Despite all her reasons to avoid the blond, Ami still finds herself discreetly watching said blond. Usagi is happy and carefree, living in each moment as if ones to come are not to be bothered with. Usagi has a huge appetite, and is nearly constantly with her friend Osaka Naru and occasionally Gurio Umino. She is spirited and completely energetic when class isn't in session.
Ami has no idea what to make of the blond, really. She is everything Ami is not, and it's a bit confounding to make sense of it all.
It's when Usagi comes in looking truly haggard one morning that Ami begins forgetting her reasons for ignoring the blond. Usagi seems more distracted and distant, brushing off extra time with Osaka after school even though she seems terribly concerned over her friends health at the same time. Ami notices the discreet concerned looks the blond shoots Osaka during class, analyzing the curly haired girl as if ensuring she isn't injured.
As the week continues, Usagi's new found exhaustion simply gets worse. Her naps in class are more frequent and her doodles on her notes replaced with drool. She repeatedly comes up with sketchy reasons to be busy after class, and her appetite, miraculously, doubles.
When Usagi isn't catching extra sleep during class, there are long periods she gazes out the windows with a distant look. Her brow is slightly puckered and her lips pulled slightly down in the corners. Ami has never seen the bubbly girl look so melancholic.
Ami is repeatedly talking herself out of following the blond. The blunette has plenty on her plate, after all. She has extra study sessions and large amounts of self allotted homework she really shouldn't become lax with. Just because Usagi seems to be having some issues outside of school does not mean that Ami can start ignoring her own work to investigate.
It is perchance that they meet.
Ami wishes they hadn't, not in such a rough manner, anyway.
Ami is on her way to one of her after school sessions when Usagi barrels around the corner and crashes right into her. There's, strangely, a black cat resting on the blond's shoulder. Ami, despite herself, can't help but pet the cute animal. She calmly introduces herself, thinking it ironic she'd witnessed Usagi meet some college student under similar circumstances a few days prior. She wonders if it's some strange method of meeting new people that is unique to the bubbly blond.
Usagi is mortified. She apologizes profusely, giving out a hasty reason for being in a hurry, one Ami is certain is false.
Ami watches her dash off once more, feeling strangely bemused by the whole incident. The temptation to follow the blond builds once more, and it takes a few minutes before she finds the will to keep walking towards the school. She has obligations, after all.
When Sailor Moon bursts into the classroom and, poorly, fights a strange creature, Ami begins wondering if she'd hit her head in that collision earlier. When the little black cat talks, she's certain she must be hallucinating. She does as the cat asks, because she really can't find a logical reason to argue when doing what it asks may save her life.
When the dust finally settles, she looks far more composed than she should. Sailor Moon drags her away, hushing her questions until they are someplace discreet.
When Usagi appears from beneath the flash of magic, Ami can't decide if she feels vindicated she that she knew something was off, or if she is horrified such a carefree girl is responsible for defeating such horrifying monsters by herself.
When they part ways, Ami decides she must be having an elaborate dream. She goes home in a half daze, reheating the food in the fridge that her mother left for her.
When she goes to class the next morning, she is wholly unprepared for Usagi to greet her enthusiastically. The fact the cat nodded at her in greeting before they entered the school did not help in the least.
She ignores the usual comments that follow her, briefly considering that Usagi hasn't noticed them. The blond's bubbly exterior seems to say she hasn't, and Ami finds a part of her desperately hoping she never does.
Ami finds herself with company for the first time at lunch in… Well, she can't remember the last time anyone intentionally sat next to her. Maybe it was before her father left? That seems about right.
Usagi acts like it's normal. She carries on without fear, filling the short break with endless chatter. When lunch ends, they walk to class together.
Ami expects it to be a one time thing. Instead, Usagi does it nearly every day that follows.
By the end of the week, they both feel the pull of their new duty. Ami grudgingly follows the screams to find Sailor Moon once again attempting to fight off a monster. Ami won't admit she's any better. Neither of them have any sort of defense training, and all this magical power stuff is completely new to them. It's ridiculously complicated to destroy the monster, and Ami wonders if there's some way to get any proper training so they won't be flailing about like fools every time they have to fight.
They both go home after a second win, and Ami really starts believing that Usagi is the last person she should associate with. She ignores the fact she doesn't really associate with anyone else, either.
It's the second week of their tenuous meetings that Usagi comes upon a group of girls giving Ami a hard time, calling her names and belittling her for her intelligence.
Ami is ignoring them as she exits the building, her usual response to such pettiness.
She is surprised to hear Usagi's sharp reprimand before the blond barrels out the door behind her, looping their arms and dragging her to an arcade, of all places.
Ami plays one of the games, at Usagi's insistence. She really doesn't see the point, but the blond is oddly impressed by her score.
As the next week and a half comes to pass, Ami finds herself strangely conflicted. They've gone on several dangerous missions together by now, and they've spent nearly a month together. Ami can no longer keep her silence.
Usagi tilts her head towards her, panting. They'd just dusted another monster and are recovering a couple rooftops away. "Why what?"
"You've heard what they call me. I'm an emotionless robot, a machine simply meant to spit out information with perfect recall. I don't have feelings. I don't have friends." Ami finds it fascinating to watch the blonde's blue eyes narrow and flash. "So why? Why are you here? Why are you trying to talk to a robot?"
"What idiot would think you're a robot?!" The blonde's response is as loud as Ami would expect, but not really the remark she had prepared for.
"They all do. They all have. My old schools, my new one just previously, this one… They all say that."
Usagi snorts, flopping back to sprawl out against the rooftop. "Well, they're all idiots."
Ami stares, ignoring the sting from her wounds and the horns from the traffic below. "All of them?"
Usagi nods sharply, eyes closed. "All of them!"
"But they all-" begins Ami.
"I haven't!" Retorts Usagi hotly. "I haven't once! And neither has Naru-chan! Nor has Umino! Everyone else is an idiot!"
Ami finds her lip between her teeth. She hadn't really noticed before, but Usagi hadn't called her any names. Not once. She didn't even really avoid her, not intentionally. Usagi simply escaped school in general, and didn't really go out of her way to talk to new people as she already had an established friendship with Osaka and Gurio.
"I feel like a robot," huffs Ami, not realizing she's saying it aloud. She'd spent so much time alone, focused so hard on suppressing her emotions, she's starting to wonder if she has any idea if she can feel anymore.
Usagi jerks into a seated position, startling Ami from her morbid thoughts. The blue eyes staring up at her are sharp, intense in a way that Ami is unused to.
Ami doesn't realize Usagi has moved further until Usagi opens her mouth again, and Ami jerks when she notices that Usagi is right in front of her.
"Yeah, well, robots don't cry."
Ami blinks at her several times. "Pardon?"
Usagi's gloved hand, still encased in Sailor Moon's attire, reaches up and brushes against her cheek.
Ami is startled by the dampness she can feel left behind as the wind makes it chilled.
"Robots don't cry," Usagi repeats softly. A beatific smile crawls across her face. "Robots don't have hearts. They can't cry."
Ami is more than shocked when more tears spill down her cheeks, dripping from her jaw and staining her blue bow on her uniform. Ami wants to believe… She wants to feel, even if it hurts. She's felt so alone for so long, she hasn't had anyone to cling to, not since her father left, not since her mother became distant… No one has given her a chance. No one's looked deeper than the surface. No one's wanted to.
A yawning emptiness that had been threatening to swallow her whole from within her own breast makes Ami panicked. She's stared into it a very long time, pondering, debating the logic of emotions and if they're worth it. Logic tells her now that she's being foolish, that Usagi will be just like the others. One day, Usagi will leave her, abandon her, leave her an empty husk rusting with age and disuse.
But logic doesn't know what to do with the warmth that Usagi is emitting. It doesn't know how to process the fact that such warmth is spreading, reaching for Ami in a way that leaves the blunette aching with desperation. It makes all of Ami's cold limbs tingle, and blood to rush through her veins as if she's been shocked back to life. Small tremors race through her, and Ami discovers a crushing weight of need that has not been present since her father first left.
Ami's mind can't process why she's moving. It can hardly fathom what it is she's doing. It takes a seeming age to register that she's lurched forward to capture Usagi's lips with her own. It takes longer still to feel her own hands curled around Usagi's biceps possessively as she draws in the warmth that simply pours from the energetic blond.
The first hesitant signs of Usagi returning the kiss makes Ami's all that more aggressive, pulling the blond sharply until they are pressed together and Ami can free a hand to tangle with the small wisps of hair escaped from their confines of the blond's signature hairdo at the nape of her neck.
When Ami finally pulls away, her face feels flushed with heat and the burn of a fire curling in her breast. She's never felt more alive!
Usagi's cheeks are a beautiful shade of red, blue eyes a shade darker as they stare blurrily at her. A flicker of pride surges through Ami at the dazed bemused look the blond gives her.
"If I am to deny logic, then you must, in earnest, make me feel human." Fear coils in Ami's gut, trying to fight its way through her veins and deny her this chance, this moment to be human again.
"M-me?" Comes the stuttered response, breathless and awed.
Ami gently pulls her close once more, nuzzling against the other girl's cheek. "You have shared your heart with mine, brought life to this empty husk… And now my heart only beats with yours. Please…" Even Ami can hear the desperation pool in her voice. "Please, keep me human."
There's a warbled gasp, a small shudder, and then a pair of hesitant lithe arms rise and encircle her waist. Ami cannot withhold the sigh of relief as Usagi gently pulls her closer. "Y-you're sure?" Queries the blond. "I-I've never… There hasn't been anyone who…" She trails off, voice uncertain.
A quiet chuckle escapes Ami's lips. "I have had no one either. Inexperienced as we are, I trust you with my heart." She squeezes the blond. "Please, take care of it."
A nervous laugh escapes the blond, but she doesn't pull away.
Ami basks in the moment, allowing time to bleed away without care. It isn't until the blond in her arms relaxes completely, resting her cheek comfortably on Ami's shoulder for a good while does Ami feel satisfied enough to end the embrace.
As Ami gently disentangles their limbs, she gives the blond a rare but true smile. Usagi blushes under its brilliance.