A/N: I know, its been a very long time since the last update, but that's what happens when real life kidnaps you away from make believe. LOL. Anyway, here's the next chapter. It's very short I know, but it is very tense and when writing dramatic chapters I like to keep them shorter than the others. This one qualifies as intense. Please read and review.
Fan fiction + Disclaimer = Sailor Moon... I DON'T OWN IT!
Chapter 5: Darker Secrets.
"If you keep scowling at that math book you'll never finish." Ami laughed quietly. Another study session was taking place in the living room of her mother's apartment. Usagi had nodded off quietly in the corner while Minako blasted music from headphones. Meanwhile, Makoto was dealing with a book report that seemed never ending and Rei struggled through her worst mathematics subject. Geometry. "Give it a rest and go back to your history work book for a while. Change it up a bit, you know?"
"I have to finish this math by second hour...I won't have time in lunch to scribble it all down. At least I don't suck in history class, I can finish my report when I cram leftovers in my mouth. The vocabulary for the new chapter shouldn't take more than fifteen minuets tops." It was her best subject. Rei loved history. It came easily and also held her interest. It helped that her grandfather often spoke on the subjects she learned in school. The elderly man found great delight in aiding her studies, and now that he was older, history had been the only one he could truly lend his help for. High school had contrasted largely from his youthful day. Things like math and science became difficult leaving him unable to help in those areas.
Ami nodded but didn't move closer. There had been a time that she and Rei didn't have such issues with personal space, but that had been dashed to bits after Ami came out of the closet. It wasn't like Rei was afraid of Ami, or repulsed, but the space between them became noticeable rather quickly. Minako was the next to doze, and Ami stood, walking to the linen closet. They would no doubt turn this into a sleep over now that two of the five of them found peaceful slumber. She grabbed the blankets and pillows, knowing full well that where ever her friends fell, that's where they would stay. "The shower is open if either of you would like to use it." She spoke as she placed the blankets on the floor, covering Usagi with one of them, and then Minako with another.
"No thanks." Rei declined only partially offhandedly. She knew Ami offered it as a formality, but that was another thing. Memories of when Rei would have taken a shower, and then parade around in skimpy sleepwear were still rather vivid. Instead, she fought down her discomfort. Makoto stretched, stood, and excused herself, obviously taking the offered excuse to leave her homework alone. The tension in the room became something you could almost taste. It was bitter, it was cold. Like that of a frozen lemon before the lemonade. However unlike such a wonderful cool drink, this was nothing but a painful sour taste, one of failure, one of regret. Ami sat quietly at her work, eggshells not even close to the proper term.
"I'm sorry." Her face hidden as she looked down, short locks of her hair covering her eyes as her body shook slightly. "I shouldn't have told you." Broken glass. That was the correct term. It was as if both were stepping barefoot in a sea of easily shattered emotions that would cut them like knives. Each step, positive or negative would be painful. "I shouldn't have expected you to take on my burdens. I just felt like...if I told you, you'd keep it quiet. That I could trust you."
With measured breaths, Rei looked on before her. She knew this was her doing. She wasn't the only culprit, but she, herself was enough. Closing her textbook, she sighed. "I haven't done anything to betray the trust you've given me, however, if you wish to keep this a further secret from Usagi or Minako then we'd better take this conversation elsewhere." Rei's words weren't cold. She didn't feel hatred. It was more like she simply didn't know. Confusion. That was it. "Let's go." She ordered after a moment. Ami didn't move. She couldn't walk on any further, couldn't be pushed away, or held close. She just couldn't move anymore. Rei stood, and waited, but Ami didn't do the same. "I said come on." Her order was again ignored until she picked Ami up herself, carrying her into the kitchen quickly.
She put the smaller girl down, a soft smile on her lips. It was false in many ways, rueful others. Ami still trembled, still awaited to be hit, scolded, anything. Anything at all to be admonished for her sins.
"I remember a time when we all did this for fun." Rei spoke carefully, she really didn't have words of comfort to give, but, she did have memories. "Remember? Stupid little games. That one started because Minako called herself fat. What did you say?" Rei knew the answer, everyone knew the answer, but that was during a time when no one held secrets. They were Senshi, had seen so much, and died together. Screw personal space or laws of social normality. That's how it was back then. Ami didn't talk when she felt pressured, or when she felt as if she were in trouble. This was clearly one of those times. "You told her...that if you could pick her up, she wasn't fat. Why did you say that?"
"Because I was the weakest Senshi." Ami's voice quivered with the admission. "If I could pick her up, she wasn't fat."
"And what happened that day?" Rei's firm tone seemingly forced answers. It wasn't like the girl of raven tresses liked that about herself...but it was helpful.
"It turned into a small contest of who could pick up and throw people into the lake the furthest...Makoto won, but we knew she would. It was only logical." Ami explained.
"But who came in second?" Rei again quizzed the girl before her, again she got quiet. "You."
"It was only pure luck." The defense was only partially there.
Rei didn't wait, knowing Ami was going to deny the realities. "You came in second. You were the one who could actually pick up Haruka. You were the only other person who could."
"Rei, that was basic science." Ami shook her head, not getting the point of all this. "I knew I wouldn't be able to lift her, but I could pull her backwards with me. That's all. Anyone, even Hotaru if she tried hard enough, could have done that." She dabbed at her eye with her shirt sleeve, even if the puffiness didn't disappear. "But...that." She didn't know what to say. "That was during a time when I wasn't different from you."
"What the hell do you mean you weren't different?" Rei growled. "Were you not gay back then? Did you like boys? Or did you get a rise of throwing us all into the lake? Didn't Makoto have a sort of joy carrying you around all day? You liked it didn't you?" The barrage of questions were hasty and ill planned. "I'm not stupid Ami. I'm not going to pretend that I didn't notice, I just assumed I was jumping to conclusions back then." It was Rei's turn to get unglued, and she promptly did, her explosive temperament taking over. "But then, out of nowhere, you drop the bomb on me, and me alone that you like girls, and honestly I don't give a rats ass about that. What I care about is the fact out of everyone, you chose me. Should I feel glad you chose me to confide in? I sure as hell don't think so. When the shit blows up on you, I don't want anyone crying to me. It's hard enough your mom starts grilling me, I don't need it from the others. Not when I don't know how I'm supposed to feel about it."
"I'm sorry." Ami's voice fell on deaf ears.
"No, you aren't." Rei was angry, but apart of her found hurt. She couldn't understand, but didn't try either. "I don't want you to be sorry. I want answers for things I don't have. Questions keep pounding at me like waves and I can't answer them. Do you know how much that pisses me off? Do you have any idea what it's like to continually question the friends you have and the things they place upon you? I was raised in a shrine Ami. I've gone to catholic school. All I know, all I understand is that being gay is wrong. It's sick and twisted and yet... you're one of the best friends I've ever had. I know you...and I know Haruka and Michiru. The thing is, they know who they are...they don't need my help. You do, and I, I don't know what I can tell you. I don't know what I should say."
Rei sighed then, trying to collect what little was left of her sanity. The pieces were fractured at the moment. Emotions ran high. "Like I told you before Ami, I always suspected it." Rei gulped down her anger, trying to quell her nerves. "But, you came to me, told me you needed help with it. I was happy to just assume, and even if you would have come out, if you would just say "Hey, I'm gay." Then...that would have been fine. I would have never bat an eye. But, I can't guide you, I can't help you. I can't tell you being the way you are is wrong...it's what I'm told I should say by the nuns that preach like idiots. I don't think it's true, but...even if I don't think that, I can't say that it's alright either. I can't Ami. Not when the fear of god has been beaten into me since I was five. Dad said it was wrong and grandpa...even if he doesn't seem offended by things like that, he never told me it was ok to be that way either."
"All I want is the truth Rei." Ami was also trying to collect herself. "What do you really think? I'm not asking about everyone else. I...just need my friend right about now. You know? Mother doesn't want this to be talked about with anyone. It isn't fair to Makoto though. I'm lost Rei, and I need help. I need my friend to tell me what she thinks."
"Haruka and Michiru are great people, and you...you're a person I'm afraid to lose. As a Senshi I fear you crossed a dangerous line. As a friend, I'm still trying to cope." It was simple but it was the truth. Ami didn't have words. Logic eluded her, and base emotions weren't in her mind. She didn't know what she could say, or what to do. Rei attempted to keep her upbringing out of it, but it wasn't easy. "I think the same things I've always thought. They aren't positive, or negative things Ami. They just...I'm on the other side of that fence. I don't like girls like you do. I can't say I hate it...or that I hate you. I just don't understand it."
Still, something bugged Rei. Ami could see it swirling in Rei's eyes, conflict behind the statements. Before Ami could ask, Rei answered the questioning gaze "Furthermore, speaking as a Senshi, as Minako's second in command, I feel like hiding this is dangerous for Usagi. I feel like a traitor. I'm not saying we don't have your back, or that you don't have ours. It's just dangerous leaving things under wraps. Enemies have used our insecurities before. Things left unsaid become a weapon later. We've seen it happen. You liking girls is one thing. Being with Makoto is another matter entirely. Like I said, it isn't bad, but it could turn into a hazard for anyone. We need to look at this from every angle because of who we are. Your mother doesn't have the luxury to pull your strings about us. She doesn't need to know everything, but, we do. The others have that right."
"Rei, I can't." Her replay was stammered out as if she hadn't a good way to explain. "I wish I could, but..." Her eyes went to the floor, one of her arms coming around her protectively as she stood speechless. "If I did I would be accepting something that I can't. Something I don't ever-" She broke off, she couldn't say that. Her eyes went back to Rei, the scars she had on her body were much like Makoto, though, lucky for her they were fewer and further between. They'd already gone through so much. Did they really have to endure more of this? Life was hard enough just being teens...but this, this was just an added measure of stress, memories she'd never be able to forget. "Normal girls, even if they liked other women, normal girls wouldn't have to deal with this."
"Now, you've lost me." Rei wished she could catch that. "This isn't just about your sexuality...is it?" The question posed seemed as if it were so sinister that both of them gasped from the shock value. Rei couldn't believe she asked, and Ami remained unsure if she could answer. They looked at each other, unsure and unwilling to fully let the weight of that sink in. They knew...Rei knew that if something else was troubling Ami, and it was a Senshi matter, there was a very good chance not even Makoto knew about it. They all remained in the closet when it came to those types of matters. Each one had sins they never wanted to say.
No, they shouldn't ever speak them.
Yet, that was what Ami did. "Keep your word." Rei nodded, she knew better than to blab what ever this was. Someone should know, and she was the bearer of grief as of late. Pulling Ami's burdens away like a rag would a spill. Sadly, cloth could only sap away so much, and Ami's ocean was deeper than any fabric could possibly dry. Unfortunately, Rei felt like she had been rung out several times already. "We died." Ami began. That was a loaded statement. Rei mentally implanted the true meaning behind the words. She knew what this was about instantly. This wouldn't be good. "It won't heal Rei. It just won't heal." She forced the tears away from her eyes again with the fabric of her shirt. "You can wash and wash, but the powers, the images...they just won't leave...will they?" Rei looked down at the hand Ami's fixation was on. "It won't ever go away."
"No." Rei swallowed back the true meaning of what Ami was talking about. They all had scars from battle, they were light, they faded, but all of them had at least one that never went away, never healed completely. Rei had some of her own, the one on her hand was something that would never leave her. "They don't." She had cast fire so strong that she had actually burned her own hand, through her own glove. It didn't look like it with the naked eye, but anyone who looked, truly studied her, could tell the difference between her palm and her wrist. There was a line so faint, but it was clear the mark was there. The evidence easy to cover, but the memories never really went away.
Rei felt like she had to ask. Someone had to know how deep this really went. "You...can't shake it can you?" This was the problem with being a Senshi. The aftermath hurt like a bitch. They couldn't ever escape the downpour. Fighting was easy, dying even more so, but then, the hard part came. "You survived, realizing you had another chance...but you can't shake the feeling." Rei knew what that was like, and even vomited her own disgust in the matter early on, before she realized that she had to stand again, keep moving forward. "Nightmares?... or is it when you remember something?" Rei was trying to piece a very complex puzzle together, and she didn't have all of the information. She wasn't sure she wanted it either.
"Every damn day." She sighed as she slumped down to the floor. Rei wanted to do more than just stand there like an idiot, but honestly, she didn't know how to respond. She was well beyond overwhelmed herself and she punched the nearby wall before doing the same. It was then they heard the apartment door open and then close slowly again. Saeko was home. Ami didn't wait for her mother to walk into the kitchen, instead, she stood and briskly walked down the hall into her room, closing the door. She couldn't deal with this when her mother was home.
The woman went into the kitchen after seeing her daughter flee and Rei merely shook her head at the imploring gaze. "Leave it alone." Rei whispered. "Don't even try to do anything." She walked past the older woman then, stopping at the door frame. "She should tell the others, she needs help and believe it or not, you can't be the one to give it to her." With that she went in front of the bathroom, calling Makoto. After a few moments a towel clad Makoto emerged from the steamy room, both of them walked into Ami's, closing the door behind them. All the eldest Mizuno could do was stand there, confused and worried, unsure of what had just transpired.
Told you it was tense. anyway, there's chapter 5. Hope you liked it.