Ami awoke with a start. Something, Mother's Instinct, she could only assume, was screaming at her that something was horribly wrong.
Her eyes swept the empty room. Ramon was dozing, quietly, in his bassinet but, over by the large window, was a sight that made Ami's heart stop and her mouth go dry.
Usagi stood there, with Saeko in her arms.
"She's beautiful, Ami." Usagi murmured, gently stroking Saeko's forehead.
Ami, still weak and exhausted from the difficult delivery, carefully levered herself out of the bed. She stood, using the rails to help her balance, and saw that the room wasn't as empty as she first thought. Makoto lay in the middle of the floor.
"She's okay." Usagi explained, "Just drugged. I couldn't have her interfering, could I?"
"Usagi." said Ami, "Please. Give me my baby." She spoke carefully, calmly, as if speaking to a dangerous and disturbed person, which Usagi obviously was.
"I was rather hurt when you didn't tell me about the birth. I wanted to be here, for you." Usagi said, sadly.
"I didn't want you here." Ami replied, inching her way towards her child while trying to stay between Usagi and her other baby.
"Ami, I'm sorry. I really am. But, I can't allow either of these two to live. I'd rather not kill you in the process but, if you get in my way, I will."
"You don't have to do this, Usagi."
"I am the defender of Truth and Justice. I have my orders. I have my duty to protect my kind."
"What Justice is there in killing an infant? She has done no harm to anyone else."
"No." Usagi replied, "But she might, one day."
"Each of us has the potential for unspeakable evil." Ami pointed out as she crept closer.
"You're really still too weak to be moving around. You'll rip your stitches out."
Ami paused to catch her breath, "I'll lay back down when you give me my daughter and leave."
"Know that I don't relish in this. Don't make this any more difficult than it already is."
"Oh, you have no idea just how difficult I can make this. Now, final chance, give me my child."
In reply, Usagi opened the window and stuck Saeko out. Time seemed to slow as Ami found strength she never knew she had and raced for Usagi as the woman let go of her infant daughter.
"NO!" Ami shrieked as she nearly leaped out the window herself in the vain hope of catching her child. Just in time, Ami spotted a pair of gloved arms shoot out from a window three floors below and catch Saeko before drawing back into the building, "Good girl, Hotaru." Ami whispered as she slipped back inside.
Usagi stood over Ramon's bassinet, "I'm sorry, Ami."
Ami didn't recall Changing. Suddenly, she had grown four feet taller and added four hundred pounds of muscle to her petite frame, "You're sorry?" She growled, advancing on a wide-eyed, pale, Usagi. Ami knew there would be repercussions for this but, perhaps not. After all, she was a Night Stalker. Either way, she really didn't care. All she wanted was Usagi's blood and she would have it.
"You should have know, Usagi." Ami growled, advancing on her former friend, "You should have asked questions about what it was you were supposed to do. You should have left when you got your orders. You should have refused."
"Couldn't? Or, wouldn't. Admit it, Usagi. You're capable of harboring hate. Yes, you are. You're only human, after all. But, there's where your mistake was. I don't care if you hate me. You can hate me and my family all you want. But, when you decided to harm my children, you crossed a big line. And now, there's no going back."
"You don't understand. I have orders."
"You don't understand. You could have refused those orders and saved your own life. Sure, Mamoru would never have spoken to you again and would have gone in your stead to kill my children, but that would have been his decision." She seized Usagi by the throat and lifted her off of the ground, "And now, you will bear the consequences of your choice. By expressing the desire to kill my children, you've forfeited your right to live."
"Ami, no. Please." Usagi gasped.
Ami chuckled, "I wish my daughter could have begged for her life. Tell me, Usagi, purely out of academic interest, is it easier to kill an infant who cannot speak to plead for her life, than, say, my mother, who screamed and fought until the very end?"
"I never laid a hand to your mother, Ami. I swear."
"Funny. I, kind of, expected that. And next, you'll say it was Mamoru."
Ami chuckled again and leaned down next to Usagi, "Perhaps, I'm psychic, yes? Just like Rei-chan?"
She opened her powerful jaws, ready to crush Usagi's worthless skull, until a thought struck her and gave her pause. A thought that would, until now, seem downright absurd but, now, seemed positively devious and completely copacetic.
"No." Ami declared, "You shall not die."
Usagi sighed in relief.
"Instead," Ami continued, "You shall live." With a single claw, she slowly cut open Usagi's arm, "As one of us. You shall become that which you hate most."
"No, Ami, please no." Usagi begged.
Amazingly, Ami's claws were so sharp that Usagi hadn't even noticed the wound. Ami held up the bloodied claw, waving it before Usagi's wide eyes, "It has already begun."
Setting Usagi down, Ami Changed, took Ramon into her arms, and slid back into the bed, "Surprise."
Turning, Usagi saw Makoto glaring down at her, "It's difficult to put a Tiger down," Makoto stated, Changing, "Wouldn't you agree?"
Hotaru wandered in, with Saeko in her arms and flanked by her parents, "Welcome to our world." She greeted, her eyes beginning to glow as Haruka spread her great, leathery wings and Michiru lounged in a chair, giving her tail a seductive flick.
"Thank you, dear Hotaru." Ami smiled, "You have my eternal gratitude. If there's anything you ever need, anything at all, it's yours."
"Anything for a fellow Stalker." Hotaru replied.
Usagi looked like she wanted to cry, "All of you?"
Ami cleared her throat, "And, if you go up to the roof, you may find Rei, our friendly, neighborhood, banshee. Though, I dare say, she may be a little disappointed having been brought out for nothing, after all."
"And don't forget me." Minako reminded them, reclining against the open window, having climbed eight stories from the street. She clicked her nails against the glass as she batted her slitted eyes.
"I do hope Oso doesn't take it into his mind to visit." Haruka said, "There won't be any room."
Everyone, except Usagi, laughed. Usagi tried to run but Makoto and Haruka blocked the way.
"Let her go." Ami stated, "She's no longer a threat to us."
"Oh, you're wrong, Ami." Usagi hissed, venomously. "I'll return. I'm not through with you or your brats."
"Well," Ami replied, "Do call ahead of time. We shall throw a party in your honor."
With a snort, Usagi fled. There was a bit of a shocked silence before everyone burst out laughing. Saeko, oddly enough, or perhaps not, began to nuzzle Hotaru's breast in her everlasting quest for milk.
"She'll keep her word, you know." Hotaru advised, returning the baby to Ami.
"And I so look forward to the day when she does return. So that way, we can sit down and have tea and...conversation."