Disclaimer: I do not own Sailor Moon, which belongs to Naoko Takeuchi
Sailor Moon fanfiction by Vayleen
They didn't talk much on the ride back to the hotel. Instead they listened to the whir of the Audi's engine and the buzz of late evening traffic. Ami was leaning away from her husband, her hand holding up her head as she leaned her elbow on the window. She was watching cars pass in oncoming traffic, since Yukio preferred left-hand-drive whenever he rented or imported a foreign vehicle, and it meant that Ami was nearest to the center line. At first it gave her an odd little thrill to see the oncoming cars pass so near as they sped along the freeway, but the novelty had worn off. Many aspects of their marriage had worn off, making it feel more like a business partnership with every passing year.
In the many years of marriage Ami shared with Yukio, she had developed the ability to accurately deduce his moods and feelings through mere observation. Yukio was the type of man who did not like being predictable, Ami noticed, so she was careful not to finish his sentences anymore, to ask about his day even though she could tell what kind of day it was by the way he walked into their suite; big things like that. But the ability certainly came in handy when he was required to go on these diplomatic missions on behalf of the King and Queen, especially when Ami had to accompany him. (And Singapore was still Singapore in the sense that they had their fierce independence and were continually reluctant to join the fold of a world government, controlled by a monarchy, despite the plethora of benefits Crystal Tokyo was bringing to their country and people.) She could discern his mood from across the room. She caught sight of the back of his blond head, and the stiff way he held himself. To her, it radiated exhaustion and irritation.
In was nearing the end of the party they were attending so Ami decided to see if her husband was ready to leave. "Excuse me," she said to the old geneticist talking to her. "It looks like Yukio is looking for me."
"Give Akane-sama my regards," the man replied before Ami slipped across the room.
When she reached him, she placed a hand up on his shoulder to let him know she was there. He was talking to a group of politicians, but acknowledged her presence with a half smile, wrapped up the conversation, and excused himself.
"Dr. Koh says hello," Ami told him.
Yukio glanced in the direction Ami had walked from with the corner of his eye, a small smile on his lips.
"I hope he didn't bore you," he said, blue eyes returning to focus on her.
Ami smiled. "Actually, I found his theories on dormant human longevity... riveting."
"You would," Yukio said, a bit sardonically, but not at her. She knew it was because he was tired, even for a man who preferred working to sleep.
"Do you want to leave soon?" she asked.
His answer was allowing his mask to drop enough to give her a weary smile. "I'll have to talk to the Prime Minister again, but I can meet you out front with the car in a half hour."
There were places like Singapore all over the world, Ami supposed later while they were driving, but lately it seemed Yukio was traveling there at least twice a month. He was a talented politician, but she could tell that even he had reached a breaking point and she was relieved when he told her things were looking up in that country. But, he said, King Endymion needed him to go back again, for a more "social" visit, and if it would please the Queen, could Serenity spare her for a week to accompany him as his wife?
The distinction was apparent. Unlike the King's Shitennou, whose identities were known in Crystal Tokyo even when they used civilian names and forms, the Sailor Senshi remained incognito. While she was here with Yukio, she was Mrs. Ami Akane, or Dr. Ami Akane, since her profession seemed to add a certain amount of prestige and respect to her husband's position as ambassador. In public, they played the part of husband and wife perfectly, but in the private silence when it was just the two of them, like the ride between the party and the hotel, Ami felt the weight of that role heavily on her shoulders. She didn't feel like Yukio's wife. She rarely felt like his friend.
Ami was in the middle of elementary school when her mother finally accepted that her father wouldn't be coming home after being unreachable for over two months. It was early in the evening when Ami's mother sent her to bed early and asked to be left alone for awhile. Ami obediently complied but snuck out of her room late in the evening after she pretended to be asleep when her mother checked in on her.
A soft knock came from the front door. Ami peered from her hiding spot between the railings on the second floor and saw her aunt reaching forward to hold her mother after the latter opened the door.
"Oh, Saeko-chan," at the murmured name, her mother collapsed in her aunt's arms.
The sight bewildered Ami. Her mother was usually composed, pristine. She always smiled and held her shoulders straight, even when Ami could tell she was upset. Now her shoulders were hunched and she was crying bitterly into her aunt's shoulder. If Ami had stayed in her room like she was told, she wouldn't have seen her mother like this and would have been to far away to hear her cry. Part of her wished she had.
Instead Ami hugged her knees and silently cried along with her mother.
Later, Ami heard her aunt and mother talking late into the night while her mother drank sake right from the bottle. It was the only time Ami would ever hear her mother relate stories about herself and her father, no matter how many times Ami might ask about them in the future. They met while Saeko was in her third year of medical school. She was walking towards the train station after a late night of lab work at the hospital and was captivated by an art display she noticed through a gallery's windows. An older man had approached her after she spent a particularly long time at one window, a painting of a sunset over a forest tree line.
Ami tried to picture the way her parents must have looked. Her father, with his long dark hair and hands with long fingers. Eyes so large, round and dark that they absorbed everything around them. Her mother, ten years her father's junior. Ami looked almost exactly like her mother, except for her hands - she had a painter's hands.
"You only courted for seven months before you married, right?" her aunt asked her mother. "I guess artists are as romantic as they say."
Ami could hear the uncharacteristic wryness of her mother's answering sigh. "Or good in bed," Saeko retorted.
Ami blushed furiously.
"But I was never his true love," Saeko continued, the tears returning to her voice. "That was his art. Looking back, I don't feel he ever gave me the same amount of love and passion as he did for his paintings."
Ami bit her lip.
"I hope that Ami never marries a man like her father," Saeko said. Ami could hear the swish of the alcohol as her mother took another swig from her bottle. "I would never wish this pain on my only daughter."
Ami didn't think much of that statement when she was ten-years-old. But the warmth of her mother's heart slowly faded with every passing year, and Dr. Saeko Mizuno became more consumed by her professional life. Ami knew that her mother was a good person, that Saeko loved her and would like to spend more time with her, but Ami could feel the growing distance and resented it. And Ami began to reflect on her mother's wish, subconsciously absorbing it, if only to keep herself from distancing herself from those she loved.
It had taken years before Yukio could convince Rei Hino to trust him enough to date him. He had to get past her innate distrust of politicians and lawyers, for her father was both and Rei hated her father. Yukio also worked closely with her father's people, which irked her. But Rei had bewitched the poor law student. Yukio admired her ethereal beauty and natural elegance. He could feel the solid passion burning beneath her calm, serious exterior. It was a trait he could relate to.
But Yukio was diligent, as he was with all things, when he pursued her affections. He was exceedingly patient in his confidence, sometimes cocky. Eventually they became friends but they argued frequently, over all things big and small, especially when they talked about their friends. (Since they were both ardently loyal.) Minako casually pointed out one day that she didn't know why they were arguing; they were both making the same points on the same side. All they had to do was listen to each other.
They both gaped at the blonde until Rei turned back to Yukio and shut his open mouth by pushing at his chin with her fingertips. Yukio glared at her but was caught of guard by the funny smile she was giving him.
"I'll see you later, Yukio-san," she said before walking out of the Crown Fruit Parlor.
It was the first time she had used his first name.
She agreed to go out with him later that week. Yukio remembered the few moths of their relationship being the most intense he had ever experienced in the twenty-three years he'd been alive. He had reached such a poignant fervor that he was sure he'd never experience anything like it again.
The relationship remained intense and they still fought, too much for them to function properly as a couple. Yukio was ambitious, sometimes to the point of avariciousness, in his career. He was a celebrated student and invested a lot of time into making the connections with the people that counted. Because of this, and because he was preparing for finals, he broke or rescheduled many of his dates with Rei.
"You're taking me for granted," Rei told him the night she broke it off.
Yukio had just finished running up the steps to the Hikawa Jinja and couldn't respond to that statement right away because he was severely out of breath. It was Rei's twentieth birthday and he was very late meeting her. He had been talking with a prestigious professor after class and was reluctant to insult him by excusing himself from the conversation in order to catch the bus on time. But after an hour, he finally had to break the conversation off and run to the Jinja.
Rei was waiting for him in front of the main building. She was sitting and was staring at her hands in her lap when Yukio finally reached the top of the shrine. When she looked at him, Yukio was shocked and wary of the alien emotion in her dark eyes: defeat.
He knew what was about to happen so he took that moment carefully and stored it in his mind. She had dressed up for him, had combed her dark violet hair out until it gleamed in the light. There were long, silver chandelier earrings caressing her cheek and jaw. Her eyes were shimmering with tears she refused to shed.
"I don't want to do this anymore," she whispered when Yukio finally reached her, standing up to look him in the eye.
Yukio tried to apologize but Rei had shut him out. So he tried fighting with her but she wasn't the same, there was no spark in their argument, no fire.
"What is it about me you hate so much? What can I do to prove myself to you?" he demanded after she turned to walk back into the shrine.
Rei turned back and looked straight at him. "You can't.
"My mother died of a terrible illness when I was a child. During that time, my father never came to see her. I think that weighed on her heart and ultimately caused her death.
"I refuse to ever love another man like my father," she said and walked back into the shrine and out of Yukio's life.
It was a complete coincidence that Ami saw Yukio later that night. She had walked down to the park she had been going to since she was in high-school to watch the water move across the lake. It was the only thing distracting her from the mess her life was becoming. Yukio must have noticed a familiar presence slumped in the park bench because he came over and asked if he could sit with her.
Ami would have preferred solitude but was reluctant to say no, out of politeness because Yukio was a friend and because he had a can of vending machine beer in his right hand. He didn't appear to be terribly intoxicated and Ami figured he'd likely stay so with company nearby. She could easily deduce what had happened because it was Rei's birthday and Yukio was probably the most sober person she knew aside from Rei. She imagined something that drove this man to cheap beer was significant enough to cause concern.
Given her own circumstances, Ami felt an odd kind of kinship with Yukio.
Even the most brilliant woman in the world, arguably so, could make the most foolish mistake. Ami knew she did when she pushed Kihochi away. She daily thought about what it would have been like if she had said "yes" to the man she loved instead of what she did say. (Or didn't say.) Afterwards, Kihochi left Japan, she assumed for Europe, and the only reason why she knew he was alive was because he contacted Kazuo on a regular basis and Ami could get information about that through Minako.
Kihochi was her true romance. He was sweet, touching, demure and gave her a love she had missed in her life. Ami might never have known Kihochi liked her if it wasn't for the fact that she caught him sketching her profile one day. She had been studying for her high school finals by the Koi pond at the Hikawa Jinja when she noticed him dozing near the main building. He frequently sketched and painted at the Jinja so she didn't think much of it until she walked by and noticed the sketch was of her.
She was staring at it, confused, when the sketch book suddenly shut and Ami looked up to see Kihochi awake, his eyes dark with worry and an emotion Ami didn't want to name. She could feel her face flushing quickly and fought the terrible urge to flee from him.
"Did you see?" Kihochi asked her, a silly question.
Ami nodded. "Gomen, Kihochi-san."
"It's okay," he said, smiling a little. "You would have eventually found out somehow, knowing you."
Ami, who was completely aware of her self-inflicted ignorance when it came to love and romance, said nothing.
They ended up taking a walk together that afternoon and talking for hours. Kihochi couldn't stop smiling. Ami discovered how much she enjoyed making him laugh, making his green eyes sparkle. He had a full, relaxed laugh that put her at ease. It was the first time she had spent so much time with someone of the opposite sex since her father left, with the exception of maybe Artemis, and the occasional conversation with Mamoru. She soon found herself seeking his company whenever she felt she could spare the time and was grateful that Kihochi was content sometimes to only sit with her in the library and draw or read while she read her books.
Their relationship grew slowly. Ami knew it was a relationship but was still uncomfortable and blushed when Minako and Makoto started referring to Kihochi as her "boyfriend." She brushed off the unsettling feelings and didn't think of them again until a little over a year later when Kihochi had his first successful art show. Then the feelings returned threefold and Ami was struck with an echo of her mother's evocative wish that she had made almost a decade prior.
And it troubled her more still when Kihochi started traveling. Sometimes he would forget to tell her or call her when he did; he always came back, with stories and pictures, but every time he left Ami wanted to panic. She wandered through her apartment staring at his drawings, hoping that it wasn't all she had left of him, like the wrapped paintings from another man collecting in her storage unit.
And Kihochi noticed the change and it confused and hurt him. Ami hated herself for it. But he was in love with her, and trusted her; he still wanted to be her husband. But when he asked her, Ami froze. She blanched. She wanted to panic.
Everything Ami didn't say was answer enough for Kihochi. Hurt, angry and bitter, he left her by the lake in the park she loved and disappeared.
Two months later she was sharing a bench with another broken heart.
"Are you hungry?" Yukio asked her after awhile.
He was spinning the empty beer can on his finger like a child's top. It was the first time Ami had seen him use telekinesis in civilian form. She deftly took the can from his finger before someone else happened to see it too.
Yukio glared at her. "I don't think it's fair that you can use your supercomputer whenever you damn well please while the rest of us can't use superpowers." Which was a lie, he knew exactly why, but Ami knew that. Yukio probably just wanted to fight.
"There isn't a delicate difference between a woman using a compact computer and a man spinning a can in midair."
Yukio smirked. "Are you hungry?" he asked again.
Ami hadn't really eaten much lately. It wasn't so much that she was starving herself but that she never got hungry anymore. Essentially, she just forgot to eat.
"Yeah," she answered.
Ami and Yukio had been married for just under a year when the world seemed to rip itself apart.
Tokyo became one among thousands of world cities that was cloaked in darkness and a criminal silence. There were no more lights, no more nightlife, nor was there a feeling of good persevering over evil. Besides the youma that remained from the energy of the evil Sailor Moon destroyed when she transformed into Neo-Queen Serenity, there was an internal war amongst the people of Earth. Even the power of Serenity, Endymion, and their soldiers could not completely purify the damage done to the heart of their planet.
World War III escalated among the nations that were once united. Governments had been overthrown, powerful civilizations were suddenly broken up into factions. Anarchy reigned. Crime was rampant in the streets. It was as though, when the world fell to evil once more, it had reached into the hearts of the people and the world followed those hearts. And that blackness was apparent everywhere, from the yellow sky to the crying and screaming Ami heard in her dreams, in the rain, in the rivers.
The water was speaking to her and warning her of the changes coming. Yukio, in his own way, could feel it too. Crystal Tokyo loomed in their future.
"This happened before," Makoto said to them. "But it wasn't here. I remember the hearts of the people changing and the planet falling into despair. I remember hurricanes turning the oceans red, trees as old as gods crashing down, and the skies becoming darker and darker. I remember a planet's heartbeat going erratic. And then I remember silence."
Makoto's memories paralleled those many of the Senshi shared and the images of celestial bodies dying out like starlight gave them a sense of urgency towards a future they barely understood. Ami had subconsciously deluded herself into thinking they'd be ready for it, that they'd be prepared. Instead the path to the future was narrow and shrouded and all she could do was walk down it and hope she made it to the end whole.
There came a night when Usagi and her Senshi, and Mamoru and the Shitennou, met in their civilian forms for a final time before the change was made. The future king and queen seemed to glow in the ruins of Tokyo and the sky of yellow clouds. Yukio had subconsciously reached for her hand but refrained from grabbing it. It was the first time they had seen Kihochi and Rei since the wedding. Now that they were about to live in a giant crystal palace together, as a court and family, Yukio and Ami were reluctant to cause any emotional upheavals, however minor they seemed compared to the final days of the world as they knew it.
Many of the politicians Yukio had internships with enjoyed western style cocktail parties and gatherings when conducting business. While they were dating, Ami would accompany Yukio to these parties as long as it didn't interfere with her own scholastic pursuits. Sometimes it worked out to Ami's benefit because she was able to converse with scientists and doctors in an informal setting, who knew her because of her mother's work.
But mostly Yukio and Ami spent their courtship pursuing their own ambitions. If Yukio needed to break a date with Ami to spend some time with a colleague, classmate or professor, Ami was content to return to her own studies. Yukio never forgot to call. Ami never felt insecure about where she stood with him. If she looked at it analytically, and compared her relationship with Yukio to the one she had with Kihochi, she would say that it was all backward. The only difference was that Kihochi reminded her of her father.
Her feelings for Yukio weren't as wild and out of control as the ones she had for Kihochi. With Kihochi, her feelings were so intense that she felt if she moved too fast they would overwhelm and consume her. With Yukio, she felt a fondness and affection that soothed her ruffled spirits. She was comfortable with him. She felt safe in her own skin.
Ami was only mildly surprised the night Yukio proposed. He was sleeping on her couch, his head propped in her lap while she read a medical journal. When she heard the change in his breathing, Ami moved the journal to look down at him. He was staring at her with a puzzled look in his eyes, like he was trying to figure something out in his mind. Ami smiled at him and ran her fingers through his tousled blond hair. At her touch, Yukio sighed and closed his eyes. When he opened them again Ami could see that he worked out whatever was puzzling him.
"Do you want to get married?" Yukio asked her.
Ami continued stroking his hair for a second while she contemplated the question. Did she want to marry Yukio Akane? Here was a man with a passion and boldness that would have intimidated her years ago. He was cocky and ruthlessly ambitious at times. He rarely laughed and joked. But he was also loyal, honest and brave. Did Ami love him?
Ami had pondered this with Minako a few weeks earlier when she began to suspect Yukio might propose. She didn't see between her and Yukio the same kind of love she saw between Mamoru and Usagi or Kazuo and Minako. Or, she thought to herself, the way she felt when she was in love with Kihochi.
"There are thousands of ways to love," Minako told her. "And the love between Ami-chan and Yukio-san may be slow burning, but it's there. Even if you can't see it, you feel it. And if you need more proof," Minako added with a wink, "trust that I can see it."
"Yes," Ami answered him after the second passed, "I want to get married."
Yukio grinned at her, the glow of his smile softening his features. Then he sat up, and his hand moved to cup her cheek. He let his eyes sweep intimately over her features. Ami felt her breath catch at the intensity of his familiar gaze. She didn't take her eyes from his face as Yukio removed her glasses and then the journal from her hand, placing both on the coffee table beside them. Then he took her face in his hands, leaned into her body, and kissed her. And in the slow burning light of the lamp, Ami gave him all she could.
The wedding was a large affair, much to Ami's chagrin, but she agreed to it when she saw how important it was to her fiancé. He was using it as an opportunity to get business associates into one room, at the biggest party of his life. There were dozens of people on the guest list that Ami didn't even know. Yukio assured her that he didn't actually expect her to go out of her way to try and acquaint herself with them; they'd do that on their own.
"You'll probably remember most of them anyway," Yukio told her.
Ami rolled her eyes at him.
It was a grand party. But it was also the first time Ami saw Kihochi since he left Japan to tour Europe. She knew that Yukio talked to him about his relationship with her after their first few dates, wanting to clear the air. From what she heard about it from Usagi and Minako, Kihochi said that if Ami was happy with Yukio then he wished her well.
Unfortunately Ami didn't extend the same courtesy to Rei, even though she got the impression from both Yukio and Rei that it wasn't necessary. They barely dated three months compared to the two years Ami dated Kihochi. Minako told her Rei would probably shrug it off if Ami tried. Both women knew that the miko would probably get angry over it. It came down what would keep the peace the most and Ami decided it would be best to avoid the subject. She questioned that decision during the reception, when she noticed how white Rei's fingers were from gripping the stem of her champagne glass. Usagi was resting her chin and hands on the miko's shoulders, silently soothing the fiery woman's temperament.
There was a moment, Ami remembered, when Yukio's gaze had wandered while they stood before the alter. It was brief, and afterwards Yukio's eyes had snapped back to hers, the line of his jaw clenched. Ami consciously ignored it. She had made the same mistake earlier when her eyes wandered down the line of men standing beside her fiancé and met Kihochi's bright green stare for the first time since he left her by the lake.
She had immediately turned back to Yukio, her mouth suddenly dry. And she never moved her eyes away until she said "I do."
Even though Minako told her that Rei was indifferent to Ami's relationship, and subsequent engagement, to Yukio, Ami suspected that Minako had known more than she was telling. She was also smart enough to know that Minako's knowledge probably stemmed from what Rei said versus what Rei felt. Had Ami known about this, she probably would have tried talking to Rei about Yukio long before their wedding. But Ami couldn't scry mirrors like Michiru, feel another's emotions like Minako or read the future in the stars like Eisaku. She went by what people said, and subsequently had to believe Minako when she told Ami that Rei didn't care and didn't want to talk. It was all Ami could do.
Late into that night, after Yukio had fallen asleep, Ami was awake, her head pillowed on her new husband's chest. She was contemplating her vows, especially "for as long as you both shall live." And she thought about how she and her husband would soon be living years beyond human comprehension. And she worried.
The flight back from Singapore was late and Yukio felt the exhaustion of the whole trip hit him threefold when they landed in Japan and were finally back in the palace. Yukio held the door to their suite open as Ami slipped in beneath his arm. They silently fell back into routine. He helped her out of her coat, took off his and hung them both up while she went to make them tea. He wandered up to his desk in their sitting room, set his briefcase down, and went about organizing his notes for the formal report he would have to give to the King tomorrow.
Absently, he worried for Ami. Something had been weighing on her mind during the trip and he could see the extent of how it troubled her from the way she leaned her head back against the seat on the ride home, her normally alert blue eyes glazed and distant.
"It's nothing," she said when he asked her about it. "I just need some rest."
Yukio had a way of channeling fatigue into the back of his priorities so that he could always be working if he needed to be. Usually he did, but he didn't that time because he wanted to get her home quickly, though they still had to report to the King and Queen when they got to the palace. Endymion and Serenity met them in one of the informal receiving rooms about halfway between their respective suites. Both of them were wearing denim and were smiling like old friends, looking more like Mamoru and Usagi then they'd seen them in a long time. The relaxed atmosphere was probably how they noticed Ami and Yukio were exhausted and so the meeting was wrapped up quicker than usual. Yukio was grateful for it.
"Here," Ami said, handing him his tea and interrupting his thoughts.
Yukio took the tea from her and turned in his chair to watch her walk away. The soft light from the desk lamp and the moon out the window caught in the lowlights of her hair and cast shadows that illuminated the skin on her arms and legs as she moved. He wanted to tell her this, but at the same time he couldn't. There was a polite distance between them now and he was unsure of how she would react.
"Are you coming to bed later?" Ami asked him. A curl of her hair fell over her forehead, and his fingers twitched, wanting to brush it back over her ear.
He grasped the tea mug with both hands instead.
"In awhile," he answered. "I want to set these out for tomorrow."
She nodded, like it was the answer she expected, and left him to his work. Yukio watched her walk down the hall to their bedroom until she disappeared. He thought about what she was doing then, watched her in his mind as she unbuttoned her dress and hung it up in her closet, watched her brush her short, layered blue hair, watched her crawl into the left side of their king-sized bed, curl up, and drift off to sleep...
Yukio sat up straight in his desk, his sudden alertness quickly blocking the images of his dreams. There was a blue down blanket thrown over his shoulders but he carelessly threw it off and walked quickly down the hall, only to meet Ami halfway there, her henshin pen clutched in her hand.
"Something's wrong," she whispered.
"We have to go," he agreed.
Insurgency was a regular occurrence in the utopian world the Neo King and Queen struggled to create. But rarely did it require the amount of power a Senshi or one of the Heavenly Kings could wield.
But sometimes the people of Earth had a strange reaction to the power of the ginzuishou and kinzuishou. Just as it awakened the true power of the star seeds, it awakened powers and abilities in some of the denizens of that blue planet. None nearly had the powers given to those with true star seeds, but in organized numbers and careful planning, they could be a formidable enemy to the Crystal Kingdom.
The battle was a living nightmare. Sweat and blood pooled in Jadeite's eyes as he defeated another youma. The things were innumerable, and so distorted he mused grimly that the dumb things were probably in enough pain just being what they were. But there were hundreds of them climbing out of the ravine and making their way towards the city limits. Venus and Kunzite had remained at the palace with the King and Queen. The Queen, in her delicate state, was extremely vulnerable and they all wanted to keep her away from the front lines of battle.
But it was long past the time when one of them should have reported back to their leaders and Venus and Kunzite should be arriving with reinforcements. In the meantime...
Suddenly the illusion fell away and Jadeite could see Crystal Tokyo again. Which meant the youma could once again see the city. This also meant that the woman with the ability to create those illusions suddenly couldn't anymore.
"Mercury!" Jadeite shouted. All he could hear was his heartbeat as he mercilessly plowed across the killing field looking for his wife. He couldn't hear the screams of those suffering monsters or the sound of the soldiers attacking them. All he wanted to hear was Mercury's answering call.
He turned towards the sound of the voice, calling him from the ravine. Sailor Mars was screaming his name over the noise, her face frantic and covered with bruises. She was lying on the ground with both arms hanging over the ravine, desperately gripping onto something, but she was slipping over fast. Jadeite could feel every count of his pulse, could feel the blood being forced through his veins as he sped towards the red soldier. He was seconds too late. By the time he got to the cliff, he had a moment to grab onto the arm Mars had just been clinging to just as a golden chain whipped past him and wrapped around Mars before she could plummet further into the ravine. Jadeite gripped the unconscious Mercury as Kunzite grabbed his tunic and helped him pull her to the surface by pulling him up before they both tumbled over. Jadeite was vaguely aware of the reinforcements forcing the youma to fall back. All he could do was cling to the pale woman in his arms and shake.
Ami had only closed the door before Yukio pulled her into his arms and started to shake again. When he didn't stop, Ami dropped them to their knees and then to their sides on the floor, their feet touching the front door. Yukio had one leg over both of hers, one arm across her waist and hips and one arm under shoulder, his hand cradling her head to his chest, his fingers tangled in her cropped blue hair. He clung to her like that and continued to shake violently.
Earlier Ami had tried telling him that a drop into a ravine wouldn't kill a Sailor Senshi. Sailor Mars was more than capable of landing a drop like that. But he had yelled at her, said that he wasn't even thinking about that so much as the fact that Ami had been unconscious and, yes, a drop like that could have killed her if she wasn't aware of it happening, wasn't prepared for it. Ami didn't argue. She let him storm and rage until his voice was hoarse.
But now they were home, Yukio had finished his yelling long before they got there, but he wouldn't stop shaking. Ami gently ran her hands over his back, whispered reassuring thoughts, told him she would be more careful next time. She would stay close to him. She'd never scare him again.
Most of these things were promises she probably couldn't keep and she hoped he knew that. But Yukio continued to shudder and Ami felt that she might cry if she couldn't figure out how she could convince him she was fine.
Finally Yukio pulled away. He moved the hand that had been around her waist to her cheek to brush an escaped tear away and cup her face.
"Ami," he whispered. "I love you."
"Yuki," Ami whispered. His words pooled warmly in her abdomen and slowly spread throughout her body from her core. She was crying freely now, so much that she thought she might laugh. So she did, but it sounded like a hiccup.
Yukio laughed and leaned forward, touching their foreheads and noses. "I love you," he repeated.
"I love you, Yukio," she answered.
When she kissed him, she felt that warmth, that love, and was sure she'd never feel anything quite like it again and would feel it burning hot within her for as long as forever could last.