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PinaPoe's Notes: See end of chapter.

Love & Lament

Epilog Two: Because We Are Friends

"Makoto, have you any word of Mr. Fiore yet?"

"No Hino-Papa." Makoto slumped at the stool in the kitchen where she was mixing up some ingredients for the evening's dinner. "I wish he would let me know if he was alright. Everyone has been through so much the last few weeks and I haven't heard anything from him."

Makoto absently sampled what she was mixing before adding a pinch more spice and setting it aside. "How is Sensei doing?"

Hino let out a tired sigh as he climbed onto a high legged stool at the kitchen counter. "How are you doing?" Makoto interrupted before he had a chance to speak.

The muscular brunette set aside her mixing spoon and started to rub her soon to be adopted father's shoulders. Makoto frowned at the absent perverted remark from Hino, which meant he was still exhausted and worried. The old man remained silent for a moment as he enjoyed the massage from Makoto's strong hands.

"Her fever has yet to drop. At night I hear her cry out; I don't recognize her voice." Hino took a sip of the coffee Makoto had pored for them. "Whatever that bastard did to her, it is not healing as quickly as it should."

"This is good coffee." Hino muttered after a lengthy silence.

"I don't understand, I thought Sensei was injured while the ship sunk? Does this have something to do with the airport and why Ami is in the hospital?" Makoto stared at Hino over the lip of her coffee mug. Steam obscured her vision, but she was not seeing him anyway.

"Probably" Hino set down his mug, which made a soft tink as it hit the saucer. "Miss. Tsukino said that Soldier V killed him. Things should calm down for now. I just wish my Granddaughter would get better."

"I don't understand any of this." Makoto's voice was hollow, her eyes remained fixed on a point beyond the steam rising from her mug.

"It's best that you don't." Hino tried to speak soothingly, but sounded tired. "I already have one daughter mixed up in all of this. I wish you to have all the peace that Rei will be denied."

Nothing else was said as Makoto dumped the remainder of her coffee and continued to prepare the dinner. Tomorrow would be a busy day, as Ami was being released from the hospital. The Hino's ate their meal in silence, both lost in thought.

In her room, lost in the dementia of her fever, Rei whimpered and clawed at the floor. One of her nails caught on an imperfection and tore deep into the wood leaving it scarred. Her nail ripped from her finger halfway through the scratch, no blood flowed, and soon a new stronger one had grown in its place.

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"Comfortable?" Ami managed to gasp out as Makoto rest her heavy head against her small chest.

"Mmm Hmm" Ami felt more than heard the purred response rumble through Makoto's large frame that was snuggled warmly against hers.

Makoto pulled herself closer to Ami, listening to the smaller girl's steady heartbeat. She looked up as she felt Ami's breathing still for a moment. "Blue?"

"Are you sure you are ok with this?" Makoto's voice was softer than usual, and laced with uncertainty.

Ami considered the situation as she wrapped her arms around her friend's broad shoulders, pulling her tighter to her body. The last two weeks had been a painful experience both mentally and physically. After Jadeite was killed, Ami, Ayanee, and Usagi were taken to the hospital. Ami, with her stomach and head wound, was the most critically injured. Usagi was treated for shock and many minor cuts and abrasions, Ayanee, for a concussion a broken collar and shoulder bone.

Ayanee was out of the hospital in three days, and was picked up by Umi and Tsuzuku. Tsuzuku, Ayanee's friend and popular model, had prepared his and Umi's home for Ayanee to stay for a time. He knew that Ami would want to stay elsewhere but still offered her a room, which she politely declined. He had also gotten a hold of Juni's old lawyer, who agreed to help Ami and Ayanee with any legal inquiries that would occur due to their presence at the airport massacre.

Ami had spent two weeks in the hospital as her gut mended. The doctor's were amazed at the speed of her recuperation, but they could not find a way short of skin graphs to lessen the ugly scar it would leave. Ami declined the option. She did not mind the scar, she was alive and thankful enough for that.

Ayanee had visited her daily, as had Makoto and Grandpa-Hino. She was worried about both of them. Hino looked tired and old, and Makoto more stressed than she had ever seen her.

Usagi had also come to visit her. Rather, Usagi had stayed with her for a few days. That was an unexpected and in hindsight, pleasant event. The hyper active pigtailed girl had walked timidly into the room, without her guardian cat, before running to Ami's bedside in a fit of tears. She had cried as she thanked Ami for saving her life. She hugged Ami, and would not let go for the better part of an hour. At first Ami was surprised by the sudden contact and wanted to push her away, but after a moment she found herself responding. Usagi was warm, soft, and familiar. Ami had cried with her that day, both for the loss of innocence, and for the families of the hundreds if not thousands of people who lost loved ones in the tragic massacre.

Usagi had ended up staying by Ami's bedside for the better part of four days. She slept in a cot some of the days, and was made to leave others, but she always returned first thing in the morning. Things were uncomfortable at first, though the ice was broken somewhat when they had spent that first day crying together. Ami had learned more about Usagi those four days then she ever thought she would know. More importantly, she liked what she saw there. Usagi was a caring, kind, and very loving individual. Yes she had her faults, many of them in fact, but Ami was finding it harder and harder to bear any type of ill will towards her. Ami never did ask her about the night Juni died, she never would, but she felt in her heart that Usagi would do anything to change what had happened if she knew the true circumstances.

Usagi had left on the fourth day needing to spend time with her family. She had returned two days later, but left after Ami had fallen asleep. During her final day with Ami, Usagi had presented a boxed lunch claiming that the hospital food was so bad that Ami would have to stay longer if she ate just that. She insisted on feeding Ami, which was awkward at first, but soon had the two of them giggling at all the spilled food. Ami had grown tired afterward, and fell asleep. As she slept she had a vague feeling that Usagi was trying to tell her something important. Ami dreamt that night that someone had kissed her. When she woke up she was alone in the hospital room. She thought of the dream and touched her lips. Usagi had not come back after that.

That unexpected interlude had left Ami confused and lonely. She missed Juni, and felt guilty that she no longer held any anger against or placed any blame on Usagi. Far from anger, she felt strongly disappointed when the bubbly girl did not return the next day, and depressed when she did not return anymore during her stay there. Usagi did show up as Ami was being discharged from the hospital. She did not say much, just expressed her happiness that Ami was finally out of the hospital and complimented her on the haircut that the doctors gave her when they stitched her head wound. She hugged her once before handing her a large, poorly wrapped package. While Ami had looked at the bundle in surprise, Usagi had nervously excused herself.

The package had contained a large cute rabbit head pillow and a short note written upon a bunny and pink ribbon bordered piece of paper. The note had read "For when you are lonely or sad, you will always have me as your friend" it was signed Chibi-Usa.

A tear had unexpectedly found its way into Ami's eye. She looked up from the note, looking for Usagi, but the pigtailed girl had already left. Ami unconsciously hugged the bunny head to her body, and was surprised to note that it smelled a bit like Usagi's hair. She squeezed the rabbit again, inhaling deeply of the comforting scent and thought of the girl who was unexpectedly becoming dear to her.

Ami cleared her mind of that for the moment as she regarded Makoto, who was still looking up at her with uncertain eyes. Ami felt sorry that her friend always lived with such doubt and uncertainty.

"Truthfully, I think this is as therapeutic for me as it is for you." Ami responded to Makoto's concerns of them sharing a bed. They had slept in the same bed together for some time since Fiore left. It helped to sooth Makoto's nightmares when Ami held her. "Even if it was not, you are my best friend. I would help you no matter what."

Makoto broke eye contact with Ami as she felt tears forming in her green eyes. Ami could not see them, but felt them as they slowly soaked into her sleeping shirt. Ami could not know what a sign of trust this was from Makoto. The scared young woman had not cried in front of anyone except Fiore since she had met him years ago.

Ami felt Makoto's body tremble as she tried to hold back her forming sobs. Ami felt the need to further comfort and reassure her friend. She untangled herself from Makoto's grasp and moved down the futon until the two of them were on their sides facing each other. Makoto tried to quickly wipe away her tears, but Ami stilled her hand and did it for her. After her tears subsided, Ami looked into Makoto's eyes, until the older girl's attention was fully upon her.

"Makoto, I am still me. Rei is still Rei. No matter what happens, we are who we are, and we will always be here for you." Ami's voice was gentle and reassuring. She knew Makoto had been bothered by everything that had happened, especially seeing Ami as Merci and finding out that Usagi and Rei were Senshi. It did not help the older teen's fragile state that Fiore had not checked in since the battle at the airport. "Sometimes we will be in danger. I see now that we can not change that, but we will always come home. One way or another."

Ami tensed, and felt a warmth spread through her body as she felt Makoto's hand start to trace the large scar left on her belly. "But you got hurt; you could die."

Ami swallowed deeply as she tried to calm her breathing and rising heartbeat. "Makoto, your hand… I" Ami was caught by something she saw in her friend's eyes. She saw a sadness and uncertainty, but also need and desire.

Ami had an idea of where this was leading, she knew of Makoto's need for physical comfort in times of deep pain and stress. She became uncomfortable because she was not sure she should be the person to provide that for her. "Makoto, I am still alive. Your Fiore healed me and saved my life."

Makoto continued to touch Ami's stomach with gentle movements. She wrapped her free arm around her smaller friend drawing her closer to her. She was making her intentions plain and clear.

"He's not mine. He loves another man… He, he chose a phantom lover over me." Makoto drew in a sharp breath and tried to stop another bout of tears, but could not control herself. Tears continued to flow freely from her eyes, eyes that reflected her heartbreak and the turmoil she felt.

"He was the only person who loved me. Lots of other guys said they did, but Fiore was the only one of them who was genuine. God Blue, I love him so much it hurts, but that isn't enough; I'm not enough. I mean less to him than a God damned memory!"

Ami pulled her friend into a tight embrace, comforting her while she cried out her frustrations. She ran her hand through Makoto's thick locks and whispered reassurances into her ear.

"Why didn't he choose me Blue?" Makoto asked in a fragile voice, almost drowned by tears. "Why couldn't I hold the same place in his heart that he holds in mine? It makes me feel ugly and undesired, am I really that worthless?"

"Do not even think that Makoto!" Ami whispered harshly, before gentling her voice and once again drying her friend's tears with her small hand. "You are not ugly. You are strong, beautiful, and very desirable."

Makoto's tears had stopped, but her eyes continued to water. She looked at Ami with an intense, unreadable expression. "Then why didn't he choose me?"

Ami blushed darkly as Makoto cupped her cheek and firmly drew her face closer to hers. Ami's heart thundered in time with Makoto's as she felt the older teen's breath mingle with her own. Their eyes locked on each other, neither blinking nor turning away. Ami could feel the tumult of emotions pouring off of her friend, and knew she must be exuding the same. "I need someone to love me Blue. I need you to love me."

"Even if it's just for this night." Eyes still locked, Makoto closed the slight distance between their lips, and covered Ami's with her own.

Ami was shocked by the bold move and froze. Makoto tried to deepen the kiss, but pulled away when she realized that Ami was not responding. She felt horrible when she saw tears falling from her friends blue eyes, but could not give up. "Please Blue… Ami, I need this. And, and I think you do too."

Ami willed her tears to stop as she studied her friend. She trembled slightly as she delved into the dark swirl of emotions that were plainly written amidst Makoto's emerald eyes. Ami was not sure what she was looking for, or even if she found it, but she found herself closing her eyes and slowly parting her lips in invitation to her hurting friend.

Makoto did not hesitate. She pulled Ami into a long, deep kiss, savoring the gift her best friend had given her. Makoto was torn by the agony of a broken heart, made worse by the upheaval of her world. She needed this, and though she held no long term expectations, she was happy to know that at least for tonight she would be loved.

Ami was taken aback by the immediacy and hunger of Makoto's kiss. At first her returned kisses were hesitant, and her touches timid. She realized though that this was not what Makoto needed this night. Her friend needed to feel loved, cherished, and desired. :Juni, wherever you are, please understand. She needs me. I love you, but I think maybe I need this too.:

Ami's body started to relax as she made peace with herself. Once her doubt was calmed, Ami assumed the role that she knew Makoto needed. Makoto did not resist, and willingly surrendered control to her friend.

As touches became confident and kisses deeper, Ami marveled at the amount of trust her friend was giving her. She knew with absolute certainty that she would not now, nor ever, betray it. Even if they had just this night, Ami wanted to give this wonderful woman, her best friend, all the love and affection she had to give.

Throughout the night Ami made love to Makoto in a way that the older, worldlier teen had never experienced before. Though she was still relatively new to the art of lovemaking, Ami opened up to Makoto in the way that she needed. For that night, Ami loved Makoto with the fullness of her heart, giving everything and asking nothing in return.

Makoto would never forget this night, or the gift Ami had given her. She felt special, cherished, and loved. Ami took her to the sky and beyond. When she was finally filled, when she could take no more, Ami held her in her arms and whispered words of love into her ear and gently kissed away the tears that wet her cheeks.

Exhausted and half-asleep, Makoto kissed Ami, intending to give her younger friend at least a fraction of what she had felt that night. Ami smiled gently and kissed Makoto sweetly, before gently coaxing her to sleep. This night was for Makoto. Ami found that her heart was still in too much turmoil, both over the loss of her lover, and the slight budding of feelings for another. Ami was happy to have been able to help Makoto in this way, but she found that she could not receive the same type of comfort from this that Makoto had.

Ami stayed in bed with Makoto for an hour, while the older teen slept. Makoto's head rest against her bare chest, while she played with an errant lock and let her mind wander. She thought first of Juni and wished that she had had more time with her, but was happy for the time that they did have. Ami was a practical and logical person, the sting of Juni's death would be felt for a long time, but she was smart enough to not let it consume her or keep her closed up for long. Given her stance on that, she was surprised when her thoughts started turning toward the girl who only days ago she hated, or thought she did. She knew that she had no hate for Usagi anymore.

Whether it was Marci's influence on her or her own heart, Ami knew that she had been happy when Usagi had stayed with her at the hospital and lonely when she left. She turned and looked at the dresser where she kept her clothes, and the stuffed bunny head pillow. Her heart skipped as she remembered the scent of it and the feelings she had when she dreamt at the hospital that someone had kissed her.

:Was it a dream: Ami thought to herself, as she found herself tracing her lips with her fingers. She replayed the dream in her mind and noted the way that Usagi had acted after that. She turned again to the pillow that Usagi had named Chibi-Usagi in the letter that came with it.

Makoto shifted a bit, and Ami found herself detangling herself from her embrace. The older teen grasped around in her sleep, before grabbing a pillow and snuggling up to it.

"Love you… Flower Boy." Makoto muttered as she settled into deep sleep again.

"Sleep well Makoto. I hope that someday you will find the love that you deserve." Ami whispered as she stood up from the futon and looked down upon her sleeping friend. With a sad smile she grabbed the blankets that had been tossed to the side and tucked Makoto in.

In another time it was quite possible that the two of them could become true lovers and be a very successful couple, but as it stood Makoto was fully in love with Fiore. Ami knew too that if she was thinking of another girl after making love to her friend that they would not work out. :Makoto deserves a lover who thinks only about her. I do love her, but not in the way that I did Juni. I wish I did, things would be easier.:

Ami shook her head and gently pushed a stray lock out of Makoto's face. Clad only in her panties, she walked to her dresser and looked at the rabbit pillow sitting atop it. A small smile edged the corner of her lips as she noted the felt mouth peeling at one end. :This one must have been an old friend of hers.:

Ami shyly pet the pillow before grabbing a bathrobe and some fresh clothes from her dresser. Sleep was not going to find her tonight, and she had a lot to think about. Where better to think than a relaxing hot bath?

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"Ami?" The blue haired teen was startled from her soak as a hesitant voice called out from the entrance of the bathroom. The voice was instantly recognizable, and she found her heartbeat increasing ever so slightly.

"Miss. Ami," The voice continued. The speaker was obviously nervous. Ami stood from the tub, and quickly grabbed a towel. "I know it's late, but Grandpa Hino let me in and said you'd be here. Uhm… can we talk a bit?"

Ami quickly dried herself off and slipped into her fresh underclothes. She wanted to get some clothes from her room, but Makoto was still asleep. She was immensely embarrassed to meet someone dressed like this, but would bear it. She grabbed a thick bathrobe and stepped out of the bathroom to greet her unexpected guest.

"Miss. Tsukino." Ami nodded, struck suddenly that she had no idea what she should say. Usagi stood outside the door dressed in a thin pink sweater that hung low, nearly covering her shorts. Her socks were pulled to mid calf, but she was not wearing her shoes. Usagi's hair was in its typical twin ponytail style, and her eyes were locked on the floor. She was struggling with her words, and Ami could plainly see it. Not sure how to start the conversation herself, Ami decided to at least move it to a more comfortable location. "Lets get some tea, and we can talk in the courtyard. I have some things I would like to say as well."

Usagi nodded, still not making eye contact with Ami. Ami padded barefoot to the kitchen, while Usagi followed behind. Usagi's eyes kept shifting to glance at Ami's back, and watch her feet. She kept clenching her hands at her side due to nervousness.

They arrived at the kitchen to find some tea already set out for them. Ami sniffed the contents of the pot and knew that Grandpa Hino had made it; it was his special blend. She silently thanked the absent old man and made her way to the crisp evening air of the courtyard.

Ami found one of the large stone benches, just at the sidelines under one of the candle lit lamp lights. She sat on the bench, tucking her legs to the side. Usagi followed suit, but sat with her legs in front of her. She crossed her ankles and her hands began fidgeting with the end of her sweater.

Ami handed her companion a cup of the soothing tea. Usagi claimed it gladly and took a deep drink. "Mmm, it's delicious."

The side of Ami's mouth twitched into a brief smile at Usagi's simple statement. Both girl's were still deciding on their words, and used the tea as an excuse to maintain the silence. Usagi continued to stare ahead, every now and again turning to glance at Ami, whose eyes would always find hers. Usagi would blush and immediately turn away, but Ami would maintain her study of Usagi's body language and profile.

"Miss. Ami…" Usagi started hesitantly as their eyes met for the fourth time in ten minutes. "Do you hate me?"

Usagi began to tremble almost imperceptibly as she asked the question. She could not maintain eye contact and returned her gaze to the cobbled courtyard. Before Ami had a chance to answer, Usagi continued to speak. "You know, when I first heard that you were like me, I was very happy. Not just because I finally had someone to share my secrets with, but also because I would be able to spend time with you and get to know you better."

"I don't know if you know it or not, but you have a large fan base at school." Ami blushed at that, she did get a love letter or two over the last few months, but she had not even opened them, thinking they were put there as a joke. "Some people think you are cold or stuck-up, but others think you are mysterious. You are older than everyone, and when you first arrived everyone was too intimidated to speak to you. You tried out a few clubs, but quit going, I was sad, because you never tried out one of mine."

"What I'm trying to say is that I've been your fan too, and have wanted to know more about you, maybe even be your friend. My friends… They had a set view of you already and at first I was nervous to talk to you because of that, but when I did I knew right away that you were not like that at all. I knew that you couldn't be how they said." Usagi looked up at Ami who was watching her intently, listening to every word.

"When I went to your cram school to return your things, I was shocked when I thought you were a Youma. It has always been hard for me to be Sailor Moon, but my heart almost broke when I thought I was going to have to kill you."

Ami's breathing stilled and her eyes started to twinge with the beginning of tears she knew would spill once Usagi started to talk about Juni. "I thought a lot about that day, since it happened. I don't understand it, but I know that the Youma tried to save you, not kidnap you like I originally thought."

Surprisingly, it was Usagi who started to cry first. Ami sat completely still as Usagi spoke. Tears trickled from her eyes, and her skin paled slightly. "I was confused, when I burst in and I didn't think. My inexperience, my failures caused me to kill someone precious to you. Miss. Ami…"

"All that time, all those things I said, I didn't… I should have… I'm so sorry." Usagi looked down as she started to sob, wiping at her tears with her sleeve. "I never wanted to hurt you."

Ami was crying freely now as Usagi struggled to speak between sobs. "I am so sorry. I… I only wanted you to like me; I wanted to be your friend. I never wanted to hurt you; I never meant to make you hate me."

Usagi sobbed louder and tried to continue apologizing, though she did not need to. Ami could see, even before her apology, that Usagi would never have attacked if she had known the real situation, and she was touched that she had been able to see the truth of things and that she had bothered to think of it at all.

Usagi turned toward Ami. "I did these horrible things, and you still saved me. Even after everything, you protected me when Jadeite was going to kill me. You were hurt badly because of me. I am so thankful for you, and I am so sorry for what I have done. I wish that I never… That I…"

"You are so important to me." Usagi managed to calm down enough to say, though she did not yet recognize how strong that feeling actually was inside her. Ami trembled slightly and wiped at her eyes as Usagi continued. "Please forgive me, I understand if you can't, but I just… My heart hurts knowing that you hate me."

Ami's heart skipped as she stood up and moved next to Usagi. "I do not hate you." Ami soothed as she wiped Usagi's bangs out of her eyes before drawing her into a tight hug. Usagi let out another loud sob as she clung to Ami, burying her head into the offered shoulder. Ami returned the strength of the embrace, and let her tears flow as well.

Time found the two girls lying on the large bench huddled together in sleep. They had cried for a long time, and talked into the early morning hours. They had never let go of their embrace, and when exhaustion finally claimed them, they had snuggled tightly together. Usagi's hand had found its way into Ami's robe and rest across the scar that Ami had torn open while protecting her. Her head rest on Ami's shoulder, whose arms embraced her tightly, and legs intertwined with her own. As with the first night in the hospital, the two girls, the two soldiers shared their grief and tears, each there for the other, sharing their strength and helping each other to heal.

End of Book Two

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Pinapoe's notes: Yes! I finally finished! I was in a slump there for awhile, because I did not know how far I wanted to take this scene. I know where things will eventually lead between everyone, and I was not sure how much stuff I wanted to show. Also I had a completely different direction I was going to originally take this chapter. Usagi was never even supposed to show up in it. I had Ami in the bath, and she became hypnotized by Nephrite, who takes her away to the dark kingdom. Makoto tried to save her, but was stopped and brainwashed by Nephrite. That would have lead to my version of the Darcurey storyline. This, probably would have been more in tune with this story, but toward the end I felt that I wanted to go with my original intent to keep the Magical girl stuff in the background for the most part and deal mainly with the lives in-between the battles. This also avoids a horrible cliff hanger, I might however, still dabble in the Darcurey stuff as I really loved that arc in PGSM.

Having started writing this oh probably close to two or three years ago, many ideas have changed. I had not seen PGSM when this was originally written, and now that I have I want to incorporate more of that into future stories. For example, Usagi and Ami were to be at uncomfortable odds for all of my books. The main reason for this was that I never really liked Usagi as a character and wanted to keep her in the background, but PGSM, The little interview with Sawaii Miyuu in which she admitted that Ami was in love with sailor moon, and wonderful stories like Kanazaki's Stars Fall at Dawn, caused me to take a second look at her as a character, and begin to like her. Because of that I decided to take this route and have Usagi and Ami reconcile and build a deep friendship.

That of course leads to the third book. I originally intended to write a short book, probably a third of this ones length about Haruka, and then start this one again, six months after this one ended. I have been thinking however, and I decided that I will probably combine Haruka's story with this one, or write them simultaneously. Plus the next story will start a few weeks after this one and will chronicle important developments between the girls in a sort of short story format during the time of peace after Jadeite disappears. I will start again using my normal writing style six months after this one, when shades of darkness start to loom again over the horizon.

Now then, tell me what you liked or did not, what characters you'd like to see more or less of, pairings you would like to see, or even predictions as to where I am going with certain twists. I will probably be writing the new stuff right off the bat, but will not post anything for at least three months. That will give me enough time to get ahead a bit. And let me know what scenes you would like to see illustrated. I am going to get a pic of Ami and Usagi on the bench, of Jadeite's doom and Merci and Hyperion's wedding but I would like to get a few more.

Well, thank you everyone, and a special thank you to everyone who takes the time to let me know what you think, it means a lot to me. Peace!

PinaPoe yeah I do not think I ever put a disclaimer on this, so… I do not own these characters, and make no money writing this.