Disclaimer: Sailor Moon doesn't belong to me. Ah well, what is one to do?

The Peril Within by Sunkissed Sapphire

Chapter 1: Eyes in the Storm

The rain still hadn't stopped. Five days of relentless, pounding rain. The ground was swollen. Branches drooped low from the trees, sagging with the weight of it. The streets were torrents of water, a rushing deluge of leaves, trash, and general city debris. The rain flew in all directions, even upward, defying gravity. It seeped through windows and under doorways. The wind lashed against windows that creaked in protest.

And then there was the lightning. It began three days into the storm and wasn't your typical lightning which was usually loud and bright, brief and instantaneous. No, this lightning was a menacing black light that spread slowly through the darkened sky like cracks in ice. Accompanying it was continuous crackling and low electrical hum, a deadly noise. But it stayed in the sky. Not one strike was to be seen hitting trees, power lines, or the tallest of Tokyo's buildings. It was indeed a very strange storm.

Ami turned away from the window she'd been gazing out. She had an hour before she'd have to meet her fellow senshi to discuss the storm but for the moment there was a more pressing matter for her to attend. Dozens of brochures from colleges and universities were sorted into neat, even piles across her desk and her computer screen displayed an open spreadsheet. She had been receiving pamphlets from hundreds of universities from Japan and abroad. Most of them were an easy decision into the trashcan, but that had still left her with one hundred. She was able to reduce it to fifty by inputting them into the spreadsheet where she could sort and rank each one by international ranking, distance from home, available programs, expense, and population. But here she was stuck, unable to narrow it any further, no matter how long she stared at the computer screen.

Most of the problem lay in that Ami couldn't make the difficult choices before her that would be necessary to move on. What kind of doctor did she want to be, exactly? And how far from home was she willing to go? If getting the best education meant studying abroad, could she abandon her friends and her duty to do so? She had always dreamt of attending Jikei-e Medical School where her mother had graduated, which would eliminate the dilemma of leaving, but this was a big decision and she needed to weigh her choices rather than rushing into one. And she couldn't pin all her chances on one school. A heavy sigh escaped her lips and she pushed herself away from the desk again. She would have to worry about it later.

After donning any and all clothing that might possibly keep her dry, Ami made her way out into the storm. Unfortunately the rain, on top of forcing the schools and most businesses closed, had also shut down the buses. But the meeting was necessary. At Rei's insistence it was to be at the shrine, the furthest from Ami's house, but also the only one with a sacred fire. Hard to argue with that. At least she wouldn't have to walk the whole way by herself. She planned on stopping at Makoto's first so the two of them could brave the storm together.

Ami's attempts to stay dry were hopeless, it turned out, as she stood dripping all over Makoto's doormat. But she was surprised when an equally wet Makoto answered the door.

"Goodness, is it raining inside your apartment?" Makoto looked a little sheepish as she grinned at the smaller girl, holding the door open for her. She handed Ami a towel and began to mop herself up as well.

"It may as well be. The rain's been getting through the seal around my porch door so I've been rolling towels at the bottom. I was just replacing the wet ones and ringing them out in the tub but I slipped and turned the shower on." She chuckled and stopped trying to dry herself off. "Guess there is no chance staying dry out there though. You look like you swam here."

Ami smiled, handing back her towel. "I may as well have. I suppose we ought to get going to Rei's then. This isn't likely to let up anytime soon and there is no sense in delaying the inevitable."

"You're right there. This meeting had damn sure better tell us something about this freak storm with all the effort we're going through." And with that the two of them went back into the fray. It was as though the rain swallowed them up. It was falling so thick they couldn't see more than ten feet in front of them. It obscured the light from windows and streetlights and made it so dark even daylight seemed remote. The only thing they could hear was the pounding rain, howling wind, and the sinister crackling from the lightning above. It was an eerie feeling, as though the rest of the world had simply stopped existing and only the two of them were left.

Makoto bent close to Ami's ear, close enough for her to feel the tickle of her breath, at the same time grabbing her hand. "So we don't lose each other!" Makoto seemed to be yelling but Ami could only hear the faint sound of her words. "This is crazy!"

Ami squeezed her hand to show she agreed and kept trudging. It was indeed crazy, but it sure had its perks. Ami didn't mind the rain in and of itself, but the storm as a whole was unsettling, and it was nice having something strong and sound to hold onto in the chaos surrounding them. It made her feel better. Safer. Ami's mind lingered on the feel of Makoto's warm hand wrapped around hers as they walked the rest of the way to the shrine.

...

Rei shifted her weight from one foot to the other under the cover of the shrine's porch while she watched for her friends through the rain. The storm made her uneasy. Not just because of the ferocity and unearthliness, but because of the deep sense of foreboding lodged within her that she associated with the storm. It signaled the beginnings of something much bigger. Rei wasn't sure what, but it was something different than the usual evil. She couldn't even sense any evil at this point, but there was no doubt it was coming.

Her eyes tried to pierce the gray curtain of water that hung in front of her. Usagi would of course be late, but Ami and Makoto should be around soon. Minako was already there, but that was less due to punctuality than to the fact that she had been there when the storm started, and with school cancelled and the buses down, hadn't seen any particular reason to go home just yet. Not when she could have so much more fun here.

At that moment Minako came out to join her, her arms wrapping around Rei's chest and her chin resting on her shoulder. "You'll catch a cold, you know, if you keep waiting out here. And then what fun would that be? Of course, I could summon up Nurse Minako to take care of you."

Rei unfolded Minako's arms and turned around. "I don't think so. I've had enough Nurse Minako to last me a lifetime. I haven't forgotten that porridge episode."

Minako feigned a hurt expression. "My porridge has greatly improved, thank you. But you won't even give me a chance." Then an impish smile. "Maybe I'll just have to take the initiative." Her voice was husky as she closed the distance between them. "There might be enough time for Nurse Minako to show you just how well she can take care of you."

"Minako! They could be here any minute." Rei turned a blushing face around, scanning for anyone creeping up to them through the rain. When she saw no one she relaxed a little and turned to see Minako doubled over with laughter. "You are so twitchy! I love that about you." She looked as though she was about to kiss Rei, but her eyes narrowed at something behind her. Rei spun around again and sure enough she could just make out the forms of Makoto and Ami bent against the rain, walking steadily toward the shrine with hands clasped.

"Geez, you guys are soaked!" Rei pulled the both of them under the porch.

"Well, what did you expect? Tokyo, or maybe even all of Japan decided it would rather be underwater."

From all appearances, the walk over had put Makoto into a sour mood but Rei brushed it off. "And that's why we're here. I have a couple of spare dogis if you two would like to lay your clothes out in front of the fire.

"Thank you Rei," said Ami gratefully as she tried going inside without dripping too much water on the floor.

"No problem, just go into my room, they're laying out with some towels. Don't worry about the water. You too Mako-chan."

"Thanks Rei. Minako, you sure look dry. When did you get here?" Rei froze, waiting to see what Minako would tell them. But if Makoto noticed this, she didn't say anything.

"Oh, I've been here a few days. They stopped running buses while I was here and I didn't exactly want to walk home in this."

"Really? I think I'd go mad, cooped up here with Rei for that long." Makoto grinned at Rei who harrumphed at her.

"You'd be surprised. I've found plenty to keep me occupied." Rei cringed, waiting for the questions to come. She just wasn't quite ready for everyone to know but everyday they all seemed closer and closer to finding out.

Makoto searched Minako's face for some sort of sign of what she'd been up to, but Minako just smiled back at her. "If you say so." Makoto shrugged and walked inside to find Ami already laying out her clothes in the fire room. By the time Makoto had changed and made it back there was a very drenched, very dirty, and very upset Usagi on the porch.

"Odango, you are filthy! Why on earth are you covered in slime?" Rei was pressed against the wall, as far from Usagi as she could get.

"I tripped and fell into the street right into a huge gooey pile caught in the drain," she whined. "It was so gross. Do you have clothes I can change into? I'm all wet and smell funny."

"Yes, but you're going to have to change out here and leave your clothes outside. Let me go get something for you." Usagi was so thankful she didn't even comment about having to change outside.

Five minutes later they were all assembled in the fire room. All of them but Minako were wearing the red and white uniform of a shrine maiden. Ami looked around, sensing something out of place. "Where are Luna and Artemis?"

"Well, I left Artemis when I came over a few days ago. Last time I talked to him he was quite enjoying his uninterrupted catnaps. But he knows we're having a meeting and I'll catch him up later."

"Yeah, Luna couldn't decide if she should come or not, so I told her to stay. I know I didn't want to be out in this, so I really couldn't expect her to. And it's so scary out there. I hate thunderstorms." Usagi looked miserable. Her long hair was still wet and she had mud streaked over one eye. "Why couldn't we have waited till the storm stopped?"

"Because it isn't a normal storm. It isn't natural. What if it didn't stop?" Rei was feeling irritable, but then again at least she didn't have to walk in it. While she was glad the storm had given her and Minako an excuse for spending so much time together, it was also bad for the shrine's business. That and her fire readings were setting her on edge.

"Not stop! That would be terrible!"

"It is true that no one can explain the storm," Ami said. "Meteorologically speaking, it makes no sense. Aside from the strange lightning, a storm of this magnitude shouldn't maintain its strength for this amount of time. The duration defies any rational or logical explanation."

"So could it have something to do with a new enemy? Have you seen anything in your fire readings Rei?" Makoto asked.

"I haven't seen anything, but I am sensing something. It's a little confusing. I don't sense any sort of malice or even intention behind the storm. But it is connected to someone or something that is making it happen." The fire crackled and popped in front of them.

"An enemy," Makoto stated. She had been lounging across the wooden floor but was now sitting up, focused and alert.

"Maybe, maybe not," said Minako. "Rei said it didn't feel like someone was doing it on purpose, and certainly not for evil."

Makoto scoffed. "Not on purpose? You think it's an accident?"

"Not exactly an accident. It just feels…like they don't realize what they are doing. And it's out of control." Rei stared into the flames as though they might give her just a little bit more.

"Which makes it potentially more dangerous." Minako looked at them seriously. "We all need to be on our guard for anything suspicious. I mean, besides this rain. I say if it doesn't let up by tomorrow we need to start searching the city. Rei, do you think you can push your fire readings, maybe get a general area where this is originating?"

"It's possible. I haven't been able to get much, but I was focused more on the cause than a point of origin."

"Well let's give it a try. You should too, Ami, with your computer. With the two of you working on it we should be able to get something by tomorrow." Ami nodded at Minako. "So we'll contact each other tomorrow and work out a plan once we know a little bit more. How does that sound Usagi?"

"What?" No one had noticed that Usagi had slid away from the circle and was now turned toward the wall. "Oh, that sounds good."

"Usagi, what are you doing?" Rei moved menacingly toward her as Usagi turned around while simultaneously trying to shove something underneath her without anyone noticing. "That isn't one of my manga, is it?"

"No," Usagi said in a small voice.

"Usagi!"

"Ouch. Rei, you're so mean." Rei pushed her over and retrieved the comic book. "You never let me read your manga."

"Usagi, how did you even manage to get this out of my room? If you got any mud on it-"

"Right," cut in Makoto. "So are we all decided about tomorrow then? Guess that makes the end of the meeting."

"What? The meeting is over all ready? I don't want to go back out there." Usagi glanced anxiously toward the door.

"Well you aren't staying here." A thoroughly irritated Rei was combing her manga for any dirt whatsoever.

"Oh, that's a great idea! Can I please Rei? I won't touch your manga anymore without asking. Don't make me go back out there." Usagi turned her puppy face to Rei, eyes big and bottom lip quivering.

"No." Rei's tone was final but she was avoiding Usagi's eyes.

"Please Rei? It will only be for one night, I'll leave after we do our search tomorrow. You let Minako stay here this whole time."

Minako slung her arm around Usagi's shoulders. "Don't worry Usagi-chan, I'm sure Rei wouldn't mind letting you stay." She winked at Rei.

"Oh, all right. But just one night. And you will have to keep yourself occupied if I'm going to be doing fire-readings." She thought about that and gave a defeated sigh. "I guess you can read some of my manga. But you have to get all that mud off you first." She sounded grumpy, but when Usagi scampered off to wash up Rei couldn't help but smile.

"Ami? Mako? How about you two, do you want to stay tonight? We can make it an all out sleepover."

"Oh, thank you Rei. But there is a chance my mom might be able to make it home from the hospital tonight and I want to be there. She hasn't been home since all this started. I think I'll go change back now. Thanks again for letting me wear this."

"No problem, really. Mako-chan?"

"Thanks for the invite but I have to make sure my apartment doesn't turn into a swamp. It hasn't been faring very well against this storm."

"Alright then. Guess it's just me with these two." She jerked her thumb toward the two blonds who were now huddled in the corner, giggling secretively.

A few minutes later Ami and Makoto were standing on the porch getting ready to leave. The others had come out to see them off. Usagi shivered at the sight of the drenching rain.

Makoto was also eyeing the storm warily. "Ugh. I was hoping it would have let up a little. No such luck." She shrugged and began walking toward the steps.

"Wait." Rei looked torn about something but then stepped forward. "Before you leave, there is something else I wanted to mention." She looked around seriously at the group. "I get the sense that this storm represents the beginning of something more sinister. I don't really sense any kind of evil presence yet, but I'm sure something is coming. We just need to be careful and keep our eyes out." The girls all nodded in agreement and silence fell over the group.

"Well that's enough seriousness for tonight. Don't you two drown out there," said Minako as she hugged them in turn.

"We won't." Ami smiled. "It's just a bit of rain. Right Mako-chan?"

"Hmpf." Makoto looked slightly less than enthusiastic to be going back into the storm.

"It is just water Mako-chan, dihydrogen oxide in a liquid state that has condensed to a sufficient density to come down from the atmosphere as rain. It can't harm you in and of itself."

"I don't know. Anything that sounds that scientific can't be good for me. Well, let's do this. Bye you guys! With a wink at Rei she added, "Don't have too much fun." Rei just rolled her eyes. Then Makoto clasped Ami's hand once more and stepped into the downpour. Minako's eyes followed them for a moment and then she turned to Rei, her eyebrows arched in a knowing sort of way. Rei shook her head and walked inside.

...

Makoto tried to ignore the unpleasant sloshing of water in her shoes and the way the rain plastered her bangs to her face. She felt soggy and dirty and all around miserable. She glanced over to see how Ami was faring and was surprised to see that the smaller girl seemed utterly unfazed by the rain coming down in buckets around their ears, though she did seem lost in thought. Fine for her, she's in her element. But then again, I'll admit this lightning kinda gives me the heebie jeebies. She looked up again at the black, crackling lightning still spreading slowly across the sky.

Makoto and Ami crossed another street, the water surging up over their shoes, the current tugging at their ankles. Makoto wouldn't have been surprised if one of them fell and the water simply swept them away. She couldn't wait to be warm and dry inside again and cringed at the thought of Ami having to walk the rest of the way home alone in this storm. Maybe once they got to Makoto's apartment she would offer to walk with her and then back to her place on her own. Makoto wouldn't admit how protective she was of the girl, but she didn't like Ami walking by herself, especially in something like this.

After a little while they reached a street corner that opened into a small park. Makoto half-considered cutting through but decided against it when she saw water pooling in the grass. But a tug on her hand made her stop anyway. She turned around to see Ami pointing at the park. Makoto leaned in close to her and yelled, "The ground is soaked. We'd be up to our knees in mud. Let's keep going this way."

"No, I think I see someone." Makoto felt the hair rise on her neck. She clenched her fist around her henshin pen and prepared to summon the power of Jupiter when Ami spoke again. "I think it is a child." Ami's eyes were fixed on a small playground halfway through the park. Makoto followed her gaze but couldn't see anything.

Makoto relaxed a fraction. "Do you want to check it out?"

"I think we should." Ami began leading them into the park. The ground was indeed saturated but not as bad as Makoto had feared. The springy grass kept them from sinking in the mud, even if it did gush water into their shoes. They made their way underneath the drooping cherry trees toward the little playground.

It stood before them like a covered fort on stilts, a conglomeration of bars and platforms at various heights with slides, poles, and nets. The normally bright colors were muted in the eerie darkness. Off to the side the swings moved back and forth with the occasional gust of wind. Water poured out of an enclosed plastic slide, spraying sand and water in all directions.

Makoto still didn't see anyone but followed Ami's lead as she crouched under the slide and slipped under the construction. The sound of the rain died as the metal flooring and plastic roof above them directed water away, creating a little pocket where the storm may not have even existed.

Makoto dropped to her hands and knees as the floor above them sloped downward, the gritty sand sticking to her wet clothes. Suddenly something very cold and slimy was tracing the bare skin of her neck. She yelped and flung herself sideways, her eyes penetrating the closing darkness for whatever was there. Then another drop of water hit her in the face and she realized she was stopped underneath a seam in the construction.

Just water. She took a deep breath and tried to calm her racing heart. The storm, the deserted playground, the idea that someone was there just out of sight; it was unnerving to say the least. She shook her head, trying to dispel the adrenaline and tension mounting in her body. She glanced over at Ami to see how she was doing and instead found herself face to face with a pair of wide, dark eyes staring at her.

She yelped again, falling backward this time. When she sat up she still saw the eyes but now could also see the small boy they belonged to. He was tucked into the corner, sitting with his knees drawn to his chin and his arms wrapped around himself.

Ami was already moving toward him, approaching him slowly and kneeling down next to him. "Hey there, are you okay? My name is Ami. What is your name?" The boy shook his head.

He was young, no more than four or five years old. Makoto could see that he was soaked through and through, his clothes caked in dirt and sand. There were tear tracks in the grime on his face though his eyes were clear. He was shivering and he looked pale, maybe even feverish. She wouldn't hazard a guess as to how long he'd been out there.

"Can you tell us how you got here," she asked him. He looked up through the platform they were beneath, shaking his head again. Makoto wondered if he could even understand them. She made to ask him again but Ami started first.

"That's okay." Ami smiled at him again and brushed his damp blue hair away from his eyes. "Why are you out here in this storm?"

"I have nowhere to go." His voice was small but clear and matter-of-fact. It took the both of them by surprise.

"Where's your mom and dad?"

The boy looked at Makoto quizzically. "Mom and dad?" He shook his head again. Makoto's hands involuntarily contracted into fists. Someone had abandoned this poor boy in the middle of the worst storm in history. If she ever found out who they were she would—

"If you come with us we can take you somewhere dry and warm. We might even be able to get you something to eat. Would you like that?" Ami's voice was calm and soothing but Makoto could detect the note of urgency. The boy nodded, loosening his arms. "Alright then, here you go. It isn't very far of a walk." She held out her hand. "It will be okay, I promise. Just stay close to me." Ami and Makoto crawled back into the thunderous rain, the little boy clutching onto Ami's hand with both of his.

Fifteen minutes later Makoto was turning the key in her lock and letting them all into her apartment. She struggled with the laces on her shoes before just yanking them off and peeling away her wet socks. "I'll get us all some towels."

Ami dealt with her own shoes and turned to the little boy to help him with his. "Will you tell me your name now?"

"I don't have one Ami-san." He had the same even, matter-of-fact tone and was looking at Ami with solemn dark gray eyes that seemed older than his five years. Makoto came back in and handed them both towels.

"Thank you Mako-chan." She took the towels and handed one to the boy, smiling. "That's okay. But we have to call you something! How about Kiriko, does that sound good?" The boy nodded and smiled as he wrapped himself in the towel. He was still shivering. "Okay Kiriko-kun. Now let's get you into some dry clothes and something hot to eat."

"Here Kiriko," Makoto handed him a t-shirt "You can change in my room." Makoto pointed him to her bedroom. Kiriko hesitated and looked at Ami.

"It's okay Kiriko, you can go change in there," Ami reassured him. "You'll feel better when you do."

Makoto led him to her bedroom before going to the kitchen and making soup for them all. "Are you sure you want to go home tonight Ami?" It might be better if you stay here." She'd brought the water to boil and was searching her cabinets and fridge for various ingredients. "He likes you."

Ami sat at the table, looking over the counter that separated them. "I agree it may be better. I'll call my mother and let her know where I am. She won't be happy that I went out in this, but there isn't anything we can do about that. I'm worried about him Mako-chan. I'm sure he is hypothermic and I'll bet he has a fever too. I think we can handle it okay, but where are his parents? Why was he out there in the first place?" She fell quiet as Kiriko came back into the room, swimming in the t-shirt Makoto gave him.

"Are you feeling better?" He nodded at Ami and walked over to the table, climbing up into one of the chairs. "Well that's good. Makoto, can I use your phone?"

Makoto nodded and came around carrying a crock of soup and three bowls. "Here you go kiddo. Be careful, okay, it's hot. In fact, why don't I put an ice cube in yours?"

All three of them were quiet while they ate except for one small coughing fit from little Kiriko. Ami told them that her mom was glad Ami was staying rather than venturing out into the storm again and that she wouldn't have been coming home anyway. After they finished eating she grabbed her minicomputer.

"What is that?" Kiriko asked, eyeing the small device.

"It is a type of computer. I'm going to scan you with it and make sure you are healthy, if that is okay." He nodded in his small little way, just one of the many things that made Ami worry about him. Someone his age should be a little more rambunctious. Ami had him stand up as she began scanning him head to toe. She frowned slightly at the results she was getting but managed a smile when she saw Kiriko watching her.

"Okay, all done. Everything looks good but I'm going to give you a little medicine so that you don't get sick from being out in the rain all day, okay?"

A little later Makoto laid out some blankets and a pillow on the couch for Kiriko. "Would you like me to leave the light on for you?" she asked him after he'd snuggled in.

"No. But will Ami stay with me until I fall asleep?"

"Of course Kiriko-kun." She walked over to him and tucked him in tighter.

Makoto had retreated to the kitchen and was watching them, unsure what to think. She was struck by the tenderness with which Ami was now brushing the kid's hair out of his eyes and feeling his forehead. This was a side of Ami she had never seen before. Sure, Ami had always been friendly with kids, but where did all this come from? Somehow Makoto had never pictured Ami as the type to marry and settle down with kids. The idea struck her as odd, foreign, and it didn't sit well with her.

Ami settled into a chair, listening to Kiriko's breathing. He had watched her for a minute or two with slitted eyes, but he eventually closed them and began drifting off. After time his breathing slowed and evened out and Ami found herself relaxing with it. Every great once in a while he would lapse into a coughing fit, though it didn't seem to wake him.

When she was sure he was good and asleep, Ami got up quietly and walked over to Makoto. "Let's talk in your room," she whispered. Makoto nodded and led the way. Once the door was shut Makoto turned to her.

"Well?"

"He's asleep, which is good."

"How about your scan?" Makoto sat on her bed against the wall and motioned Ami to do the same.

"More or less what I expected. He's five years old, though small for his age. He is 105 cm tall and 17 kg. His temperature is high from a fever, but I'm pretty sure he was also a touch hypothermic. I think we've dealt with that well enough but the fever worries me a little. He didn't seem to have much energy and didn't really act like a normal five year old. But maybe it is just his personality. Despite it all he is lucid and well spoken. I have the feeling he is a very intelligent little boy.

"Hmm. So he'll be okay?"

"I think so." Ami couldn't quite read the look on Makoto's face. "What's wrong?"

"Nothing really. I'm glad he'll be all right. I can't believe someone would just abandon him." Makoto clenched her fists again briefly.

Ami looked out the window thoughtfully. "I don't know that anyone did. He may just be alone."

"Someone had to have abandoned him at some point. Kids don't just pop out of the ground."

Ami smiled. "No. But he kind of reminds me of Chibi-usa a little. Just showing up with no explanation of where she came from or who her parents were."

"You don't think he's from this timeline, or not from Earth?" Makoto seemed to consider it.

"I don't know. Nothing in my scan looked out of the ordinary, but then again it was just a basic scan so I could see how sick he was. It could also just be the fever. Tomorrow he may be able to tell us more." Concern flitted across Ami's face as she strained to hear Kiriko who had started coughing again.

"Yeah, maybe. You seem to care about him a lot. Where did the parental drive come from?" She was looking intensely at Ami, trying to figure out what else could be hiding behind her bookish exterior.

"Oh, I don't know about 'parental'. I've just been trying to take care of a sick little boy. I'm sorry him being here is a bit of an inconvenience. I am glad we found him though. He may not have lasted till morning." She stifled a yawn.

"I'm glad too. He seems to be all alone, and we're all he's got right now." The two of them lapsed into silence and all that could be heard was the rain beating softly against the window. After a moment Makoto felt pressure against her side and looked down to see that the bluenette had fallen asleep and slid from where she was sitting, her head coming to rest on the taller girl's shoulder. Makoto chuckled to herself, thinking her friend must truly be exhausted. She gently nudged her awake, laughing aloud at the way Ami jumped up, blushing.

"Guess it's late, huh? We should let everyone know about Kiriko tomorrow, but for now I say we should get some sleep.

"H—Hai Mako-chan." Ami couldn't believe she let herself be so clumsy, falling asleep on Makoto's shoulder. How embarrassing. "Do you have some extra blankets I can throw on the floor?"

"Actually, if it doesn't bother you, I thought you could just share the bed with me. It would be comfier than lying on the floor, and I don't know about you, but I already feel like I took a beating today.

Ami knew she wouldn't be able to sleep while sharing a bed with Makoto, certainly not after what just happened, but she couldn't think of a logical argument against it that wouldn't give her true feelings away. So she agreed and climbed into the bed again while Makoto turned off the lights.

"It's nice seeing this caring side of you, Ami-chan. I didn't know you could be so affectionate. It feels like there is so much of you we don't get to see. You should let it out every once in a while."

A knot caught in Ami's throat. If only I could Mako-chan, I would show you just how affectionate I could be. But I can't. It has to stay locked up. It's safer that way. She found her voice again. "I don't know Mako-chan. Like I said, I'm not sure where it came from. I don't think there is that much more to me."

"Oh, I doubt it." Makoto said into the darkness. "I know there is more to you than you let on, we just have to find some way to bring it out."