Disclaimer: I own nothing.
Author's Note: Now I remember why I never attempted to write a Sailor Moon story before. Too many female pronouns!
"Ami-chan needs to study! I, Usagi, will not allow anything else to get in her way!"
Ami appreciated the support she received from her friends. She really did. It was just that it was getting to the point where she felt the only thing she was any good at, were her grades, and even then she felt like everyone expected her to be able to do so much more. Getting a good grade seemed like a regular expectation, like it didn't surprise anyone because she was so smart. She felt as though being smart was naturally her only skill, and if she didn't have that, then what would the others think?
And as much as she enjoyed seeing enthusiasm from Usagi, who was best known for failing her own grades in their small group, it was really starting to get to her, although she tried not to show it.
"No, really, Usagi-chan," she said, attempting a smile. "It's alright. I don't mind. Oh wait, I - I forgot something at the computer lab! I have to go!" Her voice had begun to tremble just a bit, and as she turned around, Usagi thought she saw tears in the other girl's eyes.
Later that night, Ami was sitting in her room, staring at the papers on her desk. A homework sheet lay on top of it, and a few pens and pencils were neatly placed next to it. She knew she should be doing some of the research for her English essay, but she could not seem to focus herself on the task waiting for her.
What was she, but a computer nerd genius? Her only real value as a Sailor Soldier was being the brains of the team. Her attack power was still relatively weak, even after months and months of helping fight with the others, and her battle instinct was rarely, if ever, accurate. Other than her ability of quick thinking to calculate what they needed to do to escape a situation if it was futile to keep going, she wasn't of much use. Besides, when she grew up, she knew she wanted to be a doctor. If she had to help the others throughout most of her teenage years, she could not possibly keep up her studies and calculate their chances of winning the next fight against whoever. She could not spend hours studying if she had to worry about when the next Dark Crystal would be located. She did not even have an offensive attack if the situation arose.
She was a genius, all right, but she was not smart enough to save her own life if things did not go as planned.
In the end, was she of any real value to the team?
Just then, the doorbell rang. Ami closed her eyes and prayed it was not her friend. The last thing she felt like doing was being questioned about her odd behaviour earlier. She could hear her father heading down the hallway and then the door opened.
"Oh, hello Usagi-san. What brings you here at this hour?"
"I'm really sorry. I know it's late, but I just came to talk to Ami-chan. I'll only be a minute, I promise," she heard the voice of her friend say.
She's probably come to talk to me about earlier. What can I say to her?
"Don't worry, you're not intruding," he assured her.
Ami quickly got up, put her papers back into her binder and then stuffing her binder into her backpack as footsteps came up the stairway. A few seconds later, the door opened, Ami closed her backpack, her back facing the visitor.
"Hi, Ami-chan," Usagi said, stepping in and closing the door.
"Hi," she replied softly, for some reason not wanting to look up at her friend.
"Um… I wanted to talk to you about earlier," Usagi continued nervously. "I didn't say anything to upset you, did I?"
"Oh, no." Ami laughed, trying to make the situation sound dismissive. She forced a smile, which probably looked rather unconvincing. "Nope, not at all. I'm fine. Really," she added, because Usagi was looking doubtful. "I just… had some things on my mind. That's all."
Usagi approached her and gave her a slightly scrutinizing look. "Are you sure? You looked like you were about to start crying."
"No, I'm fine." Ami didn't know how long she could keep pretending everything was fine, and she was sure her uncertainty was starting to show through. "I'm just studying a lot."
Usagi did not look convinced, and it made Ami feel slightly uncomfortable.
"Anyway, you should leave soon. There's school tomorrow."
Usagi shook her head. "There's something bothering you, isn't there?" she said knowingly. "I'm not leaving until you feel better."
"It's nothing." Ami looked away, while knowing perfectly well that her façade wasn't fooling either of them. "Thank you for your concern, but…"
Usagi put a hand on her shoulder. "Ami-chan."
"I'm fine!" She shrugged her friend's hand off and attempted a smile that was somewhat ruined by the way it never quite reached her eyes. "I just…" she started to say, then stopped, not knowing what she was about to say. She went over to the window and rested her chin on her hands, her body tense.
Usagi appeared at her side, watching her intently. "You're not fine, Ami-chan. Just tell me. You know I'll listen to anything you have to say, anything that would make you feel better."
Ami covered her eyes with her hands, trying to hide the fact that she was close to tears. She took a deep breath, steadying her voice.
"Being a Sailor Scout."
Usagi's mouth dropped open. "Ami-chan…"
"I don't have what it takes."
She promptly closed her mouth. "What are you talking about? Of course you have -"
Ami whirled around, facing her friend. Her gaze was full of mixed anger and a sort of desperation. "No, I don't! I barely have any power compared to the rest of the group, and even then, my attacks are pretty much useless. All I have is my mini-computer. Sure, I can calculate an enemy's location, but what good is that if I can't even call on the amount of power necessary to attack the enemy?" She paused before continuing, in a somewhat strained voice, "Rei-chan has powerful attacks, and the duty to watch over her shrine. Mako-chan has her natural strength. Minako-chan has her good looks and charming personality. Even you, Usagi-chan… you may not have the best grades, but you still have a future that's destined to be claimed once all this is over. Me… I just have my regular book skills and a computer. I don't think I can be Sailor Mercury anymore."
When Usagi tried to protest, Ami cut her off.
"No, Usagi-chan. I'm happy that you believe in me, but if I ever want to become a doctor, I can't be a fighter. I can't become the best doctor in the world if I constantly have to predict when the next Dark attack will be. I can't just whip out my Mercury wand, shout a few words and the evil force will go away. I won't be able to live two lives if this keeps up. So if it comes to trading one thing for the other… I will continue my studies." She attempted to smile, tears shimmering in her eyes. "You guys will be alright without me, I'm sure."
"No, really. I mean, you've always said that when we're not fighting bad guys we should try and lead normal lives, as much as possible. It's not like I was of much use to the group anyway."
"Stop it!" Usagi suddenly demanded, grasping her by the shoulders and forcing Ami to look at her. "It won't be better! It could never be better! We wouldn't be the same without you, Ami-chan… without you, we wouldn't have been able to come this far! You're strong, you're smart - "
" - and that's all I'm good for. Getting good grades because everyone thinks I should be getting these high grades, and making computer calculations," Ami retorted, her voice shaking. "All of you have powers that I don't have -"
"No!" Usagi insisted. "You have a strength, too! You have the strength of friendship, and that's stronger than anything else! You're one of my best friends, Ami-chan. I couldn't ask for more."
The tears spilled over, and Ami's shoulders slumped as she felt her friend hug her, offering some much-needed comfort. Her crying was muffled, and the two of them just stood there in silence, Usagi rubbing Ami's back to soothe her. Finally, Usagi spoke, her voice very quiet as she felt her friend was starting to calm down.
"You're my friend, Ami-chan. You don't need brains to prove yourself. You're fine the way you are."
Some time later, Ami saw her friend off to the door. Her father inquired as to why Usagi chose to come at such a late evening hour, and Ami simply said they had had one of their special 'girl chats'. The girls smiled at one another.
"Thank you for coming, Usagi-chan," she said gratefully.
"No problem. Besides, you had a lot on your mind; I was glad to help out," Usagi cheerfully responded, waving. "See you tomorrow!"
Ami closed the door, a faint smile on her face. It was true that Usagi's visit had cheered her a considerable amount, but that wasn't the main reason she felt so grateful. It was what Usagi had said to her:
"You don't need brains to prove yourself. You're fine the way you are."
It had really touched her, and Ami could not find words to express just how grateful she was to have such a good friend. Perhaps Usagi was right; she did not have to study all night and get the highest grade to prove she could be accepted. Her friends had never once faulted her for her constant studying; they only encouraged her to be the best she could possibly be, as long as she was happy.
She went back upstairs, closed the door again, and went over to her desk. She picked up the blue transformation pen Luna had given her, to upgrade her powers, and she stared intently at it for a moment. The symbol of her home planet was engraved into the metal at the top, glittering in the moonlight. She smiled, and laid the pen back down, staring out the window.
In her own way, she truly was a Sailor Soldier.
Inspired after watching episode 80, when she nearly gets tricked by an illusion of her friends accusing her of being a cheater due to her self-esteem; and episode 97 when she becomes overwhelmed at the realization that all she thinks she's good for is studying.
Ami Mizuno has extremely low self-esteem, and that's why I love her character so much. Not only does it give me the opportunity to write angsty ficlets, it also enables me to write about strength within the soul. (By the way, I realize it wasn't in-depth. It wasn't supposedto be in, it was just a little ficlet that kept nagging at me.)
Posted: April 10th, 2006