Five year old Ami Mizuno didn't know it at the time, but it was her last trip to the park with her father. If she had, she might have spent more time on the park bench with him, reading their favorite book from the library. It was a Sunday tradition: if the weather was nice, they would stop at the library for a book, and then go to the park to enjoy the weather.
However, Ami was more lively than ususal, and eager to use the swings. Her father had barely shooed her away before she had bolted, grabbing the swing at the end that was just a little lower than the rest. Waving to her father, she pumped her legs hard, trying to get herself high into the air. Swinging was almost as much fun as swimming.
Though both her father and mother admonished her for jumping off the swings, Ami only cast one furtive look towards the bench where her father sat before pushing off the rubber swing. She was flying,
She landed with a painful thump on a boy close to her age. "Watch where you're going," he grumbled, pushing her off of him. He had dirt smudged on his nose and was rubbing at his face with a scowl.
Ami turned red, partly from embarrassment, and partly from anger at the way he had shoved her. "Sorry."
"Zan! Are you all right?" A woman was yelling from across the park, down near the pond, and the boy got up off of the ground. He didn't look back.
Ami looked up to see her father standing over her, frowning. "Ami, we've told you not to jump off the swings. You could have hurt that boy." Picking her up, he dusted the dirt off of her shorts. "Until you learn to be careful, we can't come to the park. Do you understand?"
Ami nodded, pulling her lip in tight so she didn't pout. Her father hated pouting, and it always made things worse. Taking her hand, her father walked back out the gates of the park and towards their apartment.
He would leave his wife and daughter two days later.
Ami never jumped off the swings after that.
Ten year old Ami Mizuno wandered into the park near her apartment with a look to her watch. She had forgotten the key, and would not be able to go home until her mother was done at the hospital. She sat at the park bench near the swings with a wistful smile. It hadn't been that long ago that she'd come to the park with her father. Their special tradition.
It was different now.
Shaking her head, she pulled out a book from the library, ignoring the children and families enjoying the Sunday afternoon. She was so engrossed with the book that she never heard the crack of a bat or a warning shout.
The baseball hit her in the face, cracking her glasses, but leaving her relatively unharmed.
A boy with blonde hair ran up, not much older than herself. "Didn't you hear me yell? Are you all right?"
"Yes. Yes, I'm fine," Ami said, but her voice was wobbly as she pulled off her broken reading glasses.
"I'm really sorry."
"It's ok, really," Ami said, just hoping this boy would go away so she could cry. She wouldn't cry in front of him. Not over this. She'd look like a baby.
"Zan! Is she all right?" another boy yelled, this one holding the bat.
The boy turned, looking once more over his shoulder. "Sorry." Running back to the other boy, Ami could hear his reply fade away. "She's fine..."
Ami carefully put the glasses in her bag and walked out the gates of the park. Careful not to jar her bag, she made her way back to the library.
Ami never read in the park after that.
Fifteen year old Ami Mizuno tentatively balanced her coffee cup on top of the stack of books she was carrying as she attempted to push open the door. Unfortunately, someone was trying to enter the coffee shop at the same time she was exiting, and their tug on the door was her unbalancing. Coffee and books went flying, the first on the unfortunate customer, the second all over the entry floor.
"Oh, I'm so–!"
He bent to grab her books as she took a thick wad of napkins from the counter. As he stood, her breath caught in her throat, her red face abruptly paling. The blonde hair was cropped close, but the green eyes were the same. Muted, she exchanged the napkins for her books.
There was no way he could be Zoisite.
He blotted the coffee on his blue shirt carefully, and Ami clutched her books close to her chest.
"I'm so sorry."
He looked up and smiled, causing Ami turn redden once again. "It's my fault, really. Can I buy you another coffee?"
Ami shut her mouth with an audible click. "No, no. That's fine. Thank you, but no. I really should be going. I'm sorry about your shirt."
He seemed amused and nodded his head. "All right."
Nonchalantly, he went up to the counter, and Ami could hear the barrista greeting him as she exited. "Hey, Zan, nasty spill..."
Her cheeks were still burning as she rearranged her books. For all the people to spill coffee upon, it had to be the one that could fluster her the most. He wasn't Zoisite. It simply wasn't possible. It was simply a coincidence.
Ami never studied in the coffee shop after that.
Twenty year old Ami Mizuno wandered through the quiet shelves of the third floor of the university library. She was researching for her independent study, and had yet to find the elusive material that she needed.
Pausing to look at the results from a case study, she never noticed the books on the shelf above her start to move.
A few encyclopedias came crashing down, causing her to cry out in alarm. She heard muffled cursing from the other side of the shelf, and she rubbed her head, ready to give whomever it was a piece of her mind.
However, the sheepish man who came around the corner took her anger away. She hadn't seen him in five years, but she'd know him anywhere. It was the Zoisite doppelganger, once again.
"Are you all right? I'm so sorry about that," he asked, stepping forward, his eyes examining her for injuries.
"Yes, yes, I'm all right. Scared me more than anything," Ami said weakly, more startled by his appearance than the falling books.
He moved to pick up the offending items, and Ami started from her stupor. "Oh! Let me help you."
"It's all right. I've got them. I'm so sorry about that," he told her, his voice all sincerity and smiles. "Let me make it up to you. Can I buy you a coffee?"
Ami bit her lip and took a chance. "Sure. I just need to check these out first."
"Med student, too?"
"The independent study is killing me. What's your topic?" He reshelved the fallen books, and took hers in his hands.
Ami blushed at his gesture. "Oh, just a simple study. The correlation between juvenile diabetes and prenatal care."
"That doesn't sound simple. What made you decide on that?" He smiled again as they headed for the stairs, and Ami felt a flutter in her stomach.
Ami never studied in the library alone after that.
Twenty five year old Ami Mizuno walked briskly towards the park. She was supposed to meet Zan there five minutes ago, but had been delayed by a phone call from Usagi. Much as she loved her, the girl had no concept of a quick phone call.
Smiling to herself, Ami passed through the gates, navigating around the ice. She had almost made it to the park bench where Zan was sitting, but slipped on a bit of ice she hadn't seen before.
He jumped up to grab her arm, and slid himself, and in a feat of clumsiness, Ami managed to land on top of her boyfriend.
"Sorry!" She apologized, but couldn't help giggling.
He smiled, but had a thoughtful look on his face. "You know, I think you've done this before."
"I was in the park a long time ago, and some little girl with blue hair jumped off the swings and landed on me. The only reason I ever remember was I still have the scar on my arm."
Ami flushed. "I think that was me. I can't believe you remember that! I used to get in so much trouble for jumping off the swings."
They both gingerly stood up, arms out like tightrope walkers. Ami giggled again, linking her arm around his. "I guess you could say I've been abusing you for quite some time," she teased.
He dropped a kiss on her nose. "Wouldn't have it any other way."
Ami blushed once again. "Why did you want to meet in the park?"
"I thought we'd go ice skating on the pond. They're renting skates down there. Though, I'm not so sure that's a good idea now," Zan joked.
Ami elbowed him. "I can skate just fine, and you know it."
Zan smiled. "Okay, okay, I give. You are the most fantastic ice skater, and most certainly should have the gold medal for Japan."
"That's more like it." Ami smiled in return. "So, where is this medal of mine?"
Zan was suddenly more serious as he pulled a small velvet box out of his coat. "Well, it's not a medal, and I know I'm no prize," he started.
Ami's mouth dropped open in shock. "Yes!" she shouted, throwing her arms around him before he could say anything else.
He laughed, nervousness gone, and captured her mouth in a kiss.
Ami never loved another man after that.