Disclaimer: I do not own Sailor Moon.

Cigarettes and Chianti
By Silver Sailor Ganymede

The café was small, just a greasyspoon, downtown establishment where the air was constantly laced with a strange though not entirely unpleasent mixture of alcohol and nicotine. It was usually busy, punters filling every hard chair and ruined, tattered bench seat, crammed like sardines in a tin around the stained wooden tables where ashtrays seemed to glitter in the dim light. That night was no exception to the usual rule, and the café was packed as a young woman, probably not even in her twenties, walked inside, out of the constantly falling summer rain, and sat down at a table near one of the windows.

Her long, raven-coloured hair was soaked through from the rain and she sighed as she brushed it away from her face, which she then attempted to dry off. Her violet eyes, however, were only intensified by the dimness the rain and poor lighting in the café, and they shone in an almost preternatural manner as she turned and stared out of the window, the acrid taste of nicotine catching in her throat and making her feel somewhat ill. Still she knew this café and she liked it, no matter about the stench of the air.

As she fixed her eyes on the rain outside, her mind became lost to the chatter around her and the jazz music that played softly throughout the small establishment. She was meeting someone there that night, someone she had known for a long time: of course she didn't know if her friend would show up or not. One could never tell when it came to her friend. She was unpredictable, much in the same way that the rain and the jazz music were unpredictable: not, of course, that that was a bad thing.

She looked over as a waitress came over to her and, as she wasn't hungry, ordered a bottle of wine, not stopping to think of what to ask for: any wine would be fine, she thought, any wine at all. She did not have work the next day, so why not order wine? When it arrived a few minutes later, she asked for two glasses and earned a somewhat puzzled look from the waitress, but soon enough the glasses came. Small chipped wineglasses with half-visible lipstick-marks around the translucent rims, exactly what you would have expected in a place like that. She poured the wine first into the glass opposite her and then into her own, then set the bottle back down with a clink and continued to stare into the rain.

Her friend did not take too long to arrive, and when she finally did she looked exactly as the other woman had remembered her, with her olive skin, long black-green hair and vortex-like sanguine eyes. Her attaire was plain and indeed a bit more sombre than it had been before, but she supposed that that was to be expected. They were older now; they were not careless highschool girls anymore. They had jobs to keep, lives to live: clothing was something far from her mind and she expected that her friend now thought the same.

Her friend sat down opposite her at the table, looking surprisingy comfertable in the hard chair, then she took a packet of tabacco from her pocket, as well as some cigarette papers, and laid them out on the wood of the table, running her fingers along its rough contours as she did so. She rolled up a cigarette carefully then handed it to her raven-haired companion, who accepted it with a shrug as she took the lighter also and lit it. For a moment she watched the red and orange hues of the flame mignle in an eternal dance, seeminly eternal then gone in an instant, then handed back the lighter. She placed the cigarette in her mouth and inhaled, the acrid taste of nicotine a bitter poison in her mouth. She exhaled and looked at the smoke as it formed ringlets in the air around them, choking tendrils in the air, adding to the smog that was already forming. She inhaled again and chocked as she did so, the taste quickly becoming repulsive to her as the smoke from it made her eyes begin to water. She stubbed the cigarette out in the ashtray and left it there, then took a sip of the wine so as to wash the poisonous taste away.

Her sanguine-eyed friend laughed, her eyes averted from the rain, which she had just been watching with fascination. She flicked the last of the ash of her cigarette, which was still glowing red hot, then stubbed it out and discarded the stub into the ashtray. She brushed her hair away from her face and finally sipped the wine, letting its mellow taste fill her entire mouth before she set the glass back down on the table.

"How did you know?" she asked with genuine curiosity in her velvet voice.

"Know what?" the younger girl's voice, somewhat lighter in timbre, answered.

"Chianti has always been a favourite of mine," came the quiet reply.