Disclaimer: I don't own SailorMoon; I just like to write about the characters.
Author's notes: This chappy gave me problems…a lot of problems…eh…I hope you all like.
Chibi-yumi: Thanks! Glad you enjoy the story!
Catherine: I had lots of fun writing the masquerade. The Rei and Mokoto parts were like icing on a cake, simple and sweet.
Arabella Silverbell: Here's the next chapter, enjoy!
Usagigreenleaf657: Is Zoicite going to show up in the present? Maybe. Actually, I haven't really decided yet.
TriGemini: As I stated above, don't know if I'll have Zocite show up in modern Tokyo. This is suppose to be a story with angst in it…
Suisei no mitsukai: Thanks, I try to make all of my characters as real as possible, and worry that their relationship didn't seem natural. Good to know that someone thinks so.
Bob: You know, I may just have to have two endings for this fic…
Oldestof3: I just hope you like where I plan to take this fic.
MiSSFiLiPPiNES: Well, I've written some more…I just take a long time to update.
Hana1: Here you go!
Mizu Awa: Ummm, I hope you didn't hurt yourself waiting for this update….oops…what can I say, Phoenix wasn't very helpful at all! (glares at muse)
Firegoddess372: Sorry for the wait, I hope you like.
Witchy-grrl: Yes, a babbling Zoicite is very cute, which was why he had to show up in the fic. So you want to know more do you? Well, here's a new chapter, I just hope you like what you read.
Neviegirl: Thanks for the review, now you can read and find out.
Cereberus: Thanks for the praise, I didn't mean to take so long but sometimes…I just can't seem to find the write words at all.
New York Hope: Yes, I do intend to continue, and to finish this story. I even see a sequel and/or at the very least some other stories dealing with some of the other characters from this story. I just haven't decided what exactly I want to do first.
Zoicite's choice of nickname for Ami is Mia, why? Because translated from Latin it means "Mine" and it seemed appropriate for him.
To everyone out there, I just want you all to know that I do intend to finish this fic, but I don't know how long it will take me. Currently, I work two jobs and just find less and less time to write. Please be patient with me, and I'll try my best to update.
Ami opened her eyes, and placed her hands over her face to wipe off the excess water. After their conversation, there were changes in their public appearances. To the amazement of the court, Zoicite abruptly stopped his flirtations with various women, instead he was always seen by the side of Ami, and what furthered stunned the court was her silent acceptance of his presence. They couldn't believe that Ami, the Ice Queen, would even tolerate the company of some like him. Ami smiled as she remembered the astonished whispers of different nobles as he escorted her to a concert one night. Zoicite had acquired a reputation of being "the life of the party" during formal events, but since they started being together he became much more subdue and protective of her. Meanwhile she seemed to become more outgoing with him, shocking people when she would laugh with him, and even started to stay at the events for their full length, instead of making her usual exit when it was possible.
Kunzite once congratulated Ami for "getting Zoicite to take something seriously for once;" Zoicite knew that this was the first time Ami was romantically involved with someone, and he did everything he could to prove to her that he was serious about making it work. Whenever they were in public, he knew how to stay close to her without making her feel confined, and when they were alone, he never pushed her, allowing her to control the pace of their relationship. She appreciated the gesture, aware of how much self-control he exerted when he was with her.
But they weren't lovey-dovey all of the time. They had their share of encounters with vindictive ex-lovers and disappointed suitors, along with spats and misunderstandings. Ami frowned as she remembered a particularly bitchy countess, who believed she could get anybody she wanted. Apparently, she decided that seducing Zoicite away from Ami would be an interesting challenge. Ami smirked at the memories of said countess's face when Zoicite told her that she was a "pale, weak imitation, a vicious shark, who would bore him to tears, and why would he want to be with her when he had her superior," as the warm water fell on her back. Then there was the fact that he tended to be jealous. He never liked the way some of the noblemen would flirt with her during legislative meetings, but neither could do much about that. However, he'd fumed about it when they were alone, and she had to admit there were times when it grated on her nerves, and she let him know it.
Still, there was the ever-present danger of the Dark Kingdom. Although the other planets were able to banish and destroy remnants of the Dark Kingdom, nothing seemed to be able to beat their small hold on Earth. Because of the constant presence of the enemy, Zoicite and the other generals routinely had to go to back to search out the stronghold. Ami knew it was his duty to serve Endymion and never questioned it, but she never liked it when he was gone. It made her apprehensive and after what had happened on Mercury, she was scared of losing him. Ami tried hard not to show how nervous she would be whenever he had to leave, but he knew. It was why he never told her "good-bye" when he left, always a firm "I'll come back," except for the last time.
Ami was waiting for him by the pool. She stood by the side drawing small circles in the water with her foot when she felt his arms around her waist and his lips on her neck as she leaned back into his body. They stood there just watching and listening to the water before he seemed to realize that she was shaking. "Mia," he only called her that when they were alone. "Why are you shaking?" He asked concerned.
"Am I? Sorry, just anxious I guess." She replied trying to keep her voice from trembling.
He held her tighter, "It'll be all right," he stated correctly guessing the reason for her nervousness. "According to our intelligence Beryl's stronghold is somewhere in Europe. If we can take it out, then not only will Earth be safe but the alliance as well. We can get rid of the Dark Kingdom for good."
"I know; I, I just wish I could go with you, Zoi. I hate waiting to hear whether you survived a skirmish." She finished with a sad sigh.
He gave her a soft kiss at the base of her neck, "I know it must be hard for you, but there's no way I'd let you come with me. If you're on the Moon, I'll know that you're safe and won't have to worry about you. I want you to be alive, but more importantly, I want you to be happy." He turned her around so he could look at her face, "Do you know how frightened I was on Mercury when I saw you collapse?" She shook her head, "I was a nervous wreck for the next two days before you woke up; Queen Serenity ordered me out of the infirmary because she thought I would end up hurting myself." Zoicite laughed at the memory, "I kept telling myself I was so concerned because you a good friend, a good warrior. Then you woke up, but you were a ghost, and I didn't understand why it pained me so much to see you hurting like that.
It wasn't until we left that I finally figured out how much I cared you." He shook his head before looking at her again, "And you know what was ironic?" She didn't answer him, waiting for him to continue. "Realizing my feelings for you frightened me more than the thought of loosing you in battle. It was unfathomable; I, who had flirted, seduced, so many different women, be afraid of a quiet, studious princess. I thought that I was just infatuated. I agreed to come to the masquerade to prove something. I was going to prove to myself that you didn't have that power over me, but as soon as you placed your head on my shoulder I knew I was lost. You could have ordered me to jump off the balcony that night, and I would have done it. So afterwards, I thought of all the reasons why we wouldn't work. How many different ways I could just end up hurting you, your reputation, distracting you from your duties, I had a fairly sound argument too. I had hoped that you would hear the speech and get so mad at my arrogance that you'd kick me out and order me to stay away from you. And, well, you know what happened."
"Zoi, why are you telling me all of this?" She implored softly, not understanding his urgency. "You're going to come back. You just said-"
He placed his index finger on her mouth. "I only said that things will turn out 'all right' I never said that I'll come back. I won't lie to you Mia, we're both soldiers, we know the risks of war, because we are at war. No, let me finish what I have to say." He told her when she opened her mouth to protest. "We going to be attacking the strongest base of the Dark Kingdom, I've already calculated the odds and they're not good Mia. But that's not what I have to tell you, on my way over, I discovered something. I never told you I love you." Her eyes widened at his admission. "So before I have to leave I'm telling you now, I love you Ami." He cupped her face in his hands as he leaned forward so their foreheads were centimeters apart. His voice was only a whisper, "I love how you can be an innocent princess one second and then a fierce fighter the next. I love that you can be serious and in an instant, you can be laughing, even if it's at my expense. I love the way your face lights up when you see me. I love the way you relax when I hold you. I love the way you pout when you don't get what you want. I love the way your eyes reflect every emotion your feeling. I love you so much I feel pain when I'm not with you. I love your mind, your heart, your soul. If I don't come back I want you to know, to never doubt how much I love you. I don't want to leave this life without letting you know how much you mean to me." He trailed off as he kissed away the tears falling on her face.
"I scared Zoi; I'm frightened because I love you. I hate the idea of you leaving me to fight, and you might not come back. I feel so helpless and scared, and I abhor the fact that I'm admitting this, because I have to be strong for the others, for you, and for myself." She lowered her head, but he placed his hand on her chin to bring her face up.
"What is it Mia?"
"What if worse happens and none of you come back? How do I know that I'm strong enough to stand that, that the girls can handle that possibility?"
He pulled her into a tight embrace, his head on top of hers, "You are strong enough, because you've gone through it once, you can survive it again. We don't know the future; one of us may still come back." He backed away slightly to grin at her again, "So...you love me?"
Ami felt a faint smile forming; she had almost forgotten she had admitted her feelings for him tonight as well. "Yes, I do. How could I not love someone who loves me so much?" She grinned at his stunned face. This time she placed her fingers on his mouth so she could explain. "I first suspected your feelings for me maybe more than friendship after you made me confront my grief and guilt, but you were on Earth and I didn't know when I'd see you again, so I buried my suspicions.
When we met again at the masquerade, you never left me, not even when we stood in silence." Her voice grew softer as she reflected on the past, "You never did that before, even on the night of my birthday, after our dance you went off to find other partners. Of course, there was that speech in my room, as I told you that day it was very logical and well planned out, but you were 'off.' I've heard things from court gossip, it's one of the advantages of being quiet; people tend to forget you're present and say a little too much. You've been with other woman friends, and you've never been known to dissuade their advances, let alone try to convince them to not be with you. So I had to ask myself why would you'd bother, and I came up with a couple of ideas, but the one that made the most sense was that you didn't want to me to get hurt.
Yet, what really gave you away were your eyes. Whenever you see me, you always give me this look, which makes me feel like I'm the most important person to you. I've seen you with other women, Zoi; you never looked at them like you look at me, that's how I knew that you loved me; but I didn't know if you admitted it to yourself. I didn't want to say anything because I was scared that if you knew how deep my feelings were, you'd leave." She concluded honestly. Then Ami became somber again. "When are you leaving?"
"Kunzite and Endymion want us to be ready before the dawn. We have about 6 hours." He told her softly.
"You should rest." She told him as she tried to leave his embrace, but he only tightened his hold around her waist.
"I'm not going to be able to sleep."
"We can't stay here for the next 6 hours standing by the pool; you should get some rest."
"And where do you purpose we do? Have me stay in your room?" He placed a hand over her mouth to prevent her from speaking, "I can just see how some court gossips would say if they saw me sneaking out of your chambers."
She wanted to argue with him, to tell him she didn't care. However, war or no war, palace life still demanded a degree of decorum and appearance. So she compromised, "Then let's go the library. The balcony overlooking the water gardens has a large settee we can use." Ami suggested.
"Are you sure the library is empty at this time; I seem to remember a conversation we had at one time..."
"Well, we do outrank any lord or lady, we could always order them to be silent." She tried to tease, but the effort didn't lighten his mood. In fact it only seemed to add to his discomfort. "Seriously, the library is closed to only the high ranking members of the court this late at night. The high-ranking members being the Queen, Serenity, and the other inner princesses. If we did run into anyone, we'd only run into friends probably trying to do the same thing we're doing."
"And what would that be, Mia?" He asked her softly.
"Playing chess, talking, kissing, arguing, I don't know, and I don't care as long as we can be together." She lowered her head a bit, "We could even..."
He quirked an eyebrow at her implication before stroking her cheek, "We could, but we won't because I want our first time to be special, because we're both ready to take that step, and not because of some threat due to war. On the other hand, a soft cushioned seat doesn't sound like a bad idea." So he wrapped his cape around her as sakura blossoms swirled around them before they were engulfed in a warm pink light and teleported to the library balcony a few steps away from the very couch Ami mentioned. They stood there for a moment before he kissed her again while the two of them made their way to the settee. When they fell on top of the cushions they finally broke away and both realized that to go any further probably would not be the best of ideas. However, they were both unwilling to separate from their embrace; somehow they decided to talk, to discuss anything other than the upcoming war.
Ami wasn't sure how long they sat there; Zoicite sitting on one side, his head being supported by one of the armrests with his legs lying across the rest of the length of the sofa, while Ami laid by his side, her head on top of his chest, as he absently stroke her hair. Even though they knew a great deal about each other it seemed as if they didn't know enough as they chatted about their childhoods; she asked about his life on Earth, while he asked her what her life was like on Mercury before she came to the Moon. He reminisced on how he met the other generals and his first impressions of the other planets. She recalled her first time coming to the moon and being received by the court of the Moon. They continued to talk until they just sat there enjoying their last moments together in silence. She wasn't sure when, but eventually lulled by the steady beating of his heart and his warmth, Ami fell asleep.
When Ami awoke, she found herself in her own bed. Zoicite must have teleported her to her room after she fell asleep. Judging by the light shinning through the windows, she knew that he already departed with the other generals; she stood up and glanced out of the window towards the large blue orb, known as Earth before she noticed the note on her desk. There was only one word written in it.
Jadeling's Notes: Yeah, I have a feeling you guys aren't going to be liking me for a while...