Ami prided herself on being the sort of intelligent, bright young girl that was staunchly open-minded, but suitably skeptical in certain trying situations, with a level-headed attitude that might come quite in handy if the future so demanded it. Certain rules applied to nature and her place in it, such as the basic laws of physics like gravity, to the more complex ones she found satisfying to know; if her body was going to pop like a balloon without a spacesuit whilst aimlessly drifting through the cosmos at any point in the near future, she wanted stubbornly to know why. Slightly more personal rules, the quiet ones of a child pertaining to her father's abrupt departure from her life, existed to set the youthful and nearly forgotten foundation of her perception of the world, but she hardly considered those anymore. Today, though, she was rapidly running slipshod in a panicked, screaming manner through every single memory she had logged away in her photographic memory, as if something existed therein that might help her justify what she was currently experiencing.

She was failing miserably.

"You talked," she said in a trembling voice to the black feline – lanky, feminine, and somehow annoyed in appearance – currently crouched on her windowsill. Clearing her throat, the small, shaggy-haired girl tried again, the timbre of her voice quavering, "But that's absurd, of course, as you're a cat and everyone knows cats simply can't talk. You aren't biologically inclined to such, and I must be overextending myself with my studies." Perhaps she should only attend two cram schools a week; three really was overkill, especially if she was going to begin having eerie hallucinations involving talking ebony cats speaking of undying evil and some rabbit who had gotten itself into a bloody awful mess.

"Oh, for God's sake," quipped the cat in irritation. Ami felt the urge to blink and, deciding she had little else to lose, promptly obeyed it. "Of all those impulsive girls, Ami, I would've thought you at least to have some recollection of Usagi, much less the princess." The sulking look that passed swiftly as a shadow over her already soot black face strongly implied she was hurt the girl had not remembered her as well and the petite teenager shuffled her feet guiltily on the blue carpet of her bedroom. "You have the eidetic memory, if I remember correctly." The cat hesitated then murmured thoughtfully, "Or maybe that was Rei…"

"Hino?" asked Ami before she could inform herself she had gone stark mad. At the cat's sudden piercing gaze, she shrunk slightly and, almost stammering but managing to save that dangling scrap of her dignity at least, offered in weak retribution, "Of the Hikawa Shrine down a ways. I've met her before, once, I think." My God, she thought with amazement, and she blurted, torn between scientific excitement and the blunt cats-can't-speak-you-raving-loon sanity tussling for control of her senses, "You really can talk, can't you?"

The cat looked at her as if she truly were mad, which somehow managed to give her a chastised feeling and another urge to shuffle her feet over the carpeting. "Of course I talk, Ami," she said icily, miffed, and continued, "and if you really have forgotten, I am Luna, and I am most displeased that you who I have counted on the most cannot even drag up the faintest memory."

"Well, I'm very sorry," Ami replied honestly, a sorrowful expression on her face belying the fact of her internally deciding she was obviously sleep-deprived and in need of a good sedative. "If I happen to meet any more talking cats in the future, I'll try a bit harder to remember them."

Luna's expression was a priceless mixture of disgust, insult, and exasperation.


A teaser from the second chapter of 'Moon Ring' (which I'm finally working on again, thank God!). I should expect it in about a week. Flame me not, people! ^-

My sincerest apologies for the length of the wait, and I promise some Frodo in the coming chapter, some Pippin, and a full explanation of the scene I took this from. Good eve, ladies and gents!


June 8, 2003.