A/N: For fear of another avalanche of friends telling me to post more stories I decided I'd test run Rustic Women. This is that main story that ties the entire universe and side stories together. Let me know what you think. Should I post more of the story or take it down? Please leave a review. I really want to know what you think and how you feel. My entire series of short stories and this total a little over 700K in words. This means that if I am going to commit to this and post everything I want to know a reader base will be there.

I do not own Sailor Moon. I am merely a fan.


Prologue: I Can't Say Goodbye

A woman in blue tresses stands in her cap and gown in front of the entire school. Many family members of the graduating class have attended to watch the ceremony. Her days of high school were over and it was now time to give a proper speech. She would say farewell to many old days here. Times when she felt lost and others when she felt love began a current of inexplicable feelings as the student stood at the podium. Things seemingly unimportant come rushing back as if they were the most important thing in the world. Papers that had been missed, friend's copying school work, papers being thrown in a class room, tests that she had studied for, Lunch room gossip, and the undeniable aggravation of hearing whispers behind her back. All of this and more flooded her eyes as she prepared to speak.

Her work had been rewritten many times only to fail. This speech wasn't something that could be written down. No, this required something on a far grander scale. She needed to speak from her heart. The emotions at this moment gave way to the lock that kept such thoughts conserved. Perhaps it was her friends who broke her from this prison of constantly being lonely and fearful. Her hands were clammy, her thoughts tense, but she could not waver. "Hello everyone." Her voice started to crack, she couldn't contain her emotions. "I have tried over and over to think of a speech worthy of my classmates, teachers, and you as an audience joining us on this very important day. As many times as I had rewritten the speech, as many times as it had been approved I simply cannot read that paper. You see, many wonderful people can place down their thoughts. Many others can read from a page. Yet very few can speak from the bottom of their heart. I wish to do just that today." As she chanced a moment to look around her eyes started to sting lightly. No one had stopped her and so she felt allowed to continue.

"I have spent some of the best years of my life within these halls. I have seen everything from my friends causing antics in the class room down to the very last lunch prepared for this year. I have watched fights among those I care about and teachers reprimand the actions that could cause harm. We are lucky to have been provided with such a wonderful and caring staff. We are blessed to have the friends that remain by our side. Lastly, we as alumni should be honored to say we have graduated. To say we have made it through the years of study and now we stand on the other side ready to peruse our hopes and dreams. However how hard we had to work, no matter what adversity we may have had to face we stand here now as graduates about to embark on a much longer road. It won't be any easier and no one will hold our hands forever. This is why I want you to take a good look around you. The people by your side, the friends, and the family, anyone who has given you support, I want you to thank them. To anyone whom you have caused a wrong, I want you to apologize. For those who have offered your support to us, I thank you personally and I also request that you will continue to love and support us. It is only with the help of others that we will ever be successful. Please help us see to that." She bowed as she left the podium. Her eyes were streaming with tears as everyone clapped.

That day had been three days ago. The day Mizuno Ami graduated from high school and now needed to move on in her life. Her bags were packed and she could go to university. She had been waiting for this day. She knew it would hurt but not this much. It was impossible. She just couldn't leave the ones she loved. She looked at her dresser where some of her favorite photos sat. She didn't have the heart to pack them. She didn't have the soul to leave who they contained. Her finger traced over the edges of the wooden frame shaped like a heart, her fingernail lightly pattering on the glass. She just couldn't do this. She left her bags home and rushed out the door. She was needed here. She was needed in the arms of one woman. She knew this now.

That very woman cried sadly knowing today would be a day of parting ways. She would be one of the few to stay her place. She was needed here to help her brother. She had to stay behind for his sake. Still, her emerald eyes couldn't stop their tears as her jeans became doused in the salty liquid. Her ears couldn't pick up noise. She was alone for the day. Her brother had to work and she was left in the silent apartment with depression as her only companion. Times had changed from when she had been a little girl. She wasn't a fearful child who hid under the bed, but, she wasn't a little punk anymore either. Maybe that was the entire problem. She didn't know what she was. Her name was Kino Makoto by definition, but that didn't answer the 'who' part. All she knew was that she was in love with someone who would be leaving her. That wasn't a comforting thing. They had battled high school together, stood through the ridicule of classmates, the hardship of their relationship. Coming out wasn't easy, but they had survived. Now the prospect of being alone was imminent. She would need to stand on her own and watch the woman she loved do the same in a university far away. Makoto couldn't handle that news well no matter how hard she may have tried.

She heard a knock at the door. One that was urgent, almost pressing. She knew who it was, it had to be her. It had to be Ami ready to leave. Final farewells weren't something Makoto took in stride. Her hands clasped the handle as she neared the door eager to see Ami. As soon as the door opened the smaller woman flung herself at Makoto. Eyes puffy and her nose red, she too had been crying. The voice of the small woman was muffled but it her voice boomed with volume as she continued to sniffle.

"I just can't go Makoto." Her voice quivered wholeheartedly. "I just can't say goodbye."

To be continued upon request-


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