Standard Disclaimer: I don't own Sailor Moon.
Ami had been on her way to cram school, before ending up hiding in a dirty alleyway in a not very nice part of the city. She was hidden between a dumpster and a few cardboard boxes. It was tight smelly, and she could barely move in fear of knocking over anything allowing her presence to be known. The fear wasn't for her person even though a part of it should be, instead for Makoto who was directly dealing with a gang near her hiding spot.
It was because of Makoto that Ami was here instead of safe inside of a classroom. It was not the brunettes fault but rather Ami's curiosity. The tall girl had left the senshi meeting early, being a little secretive about where she had to go so urgently. Ami had wanted to follow her then, but unlike the two blondes of her group understood other peoples' privacy. It had not been then when Ami had followed, but on her way to cram school when she caught sight of Makoto near her school, out of any normal travel plans for the other girl. Ami may have let it go then, if not for the outfit the tall girl wore. Makoto liked to, for the most part dress feminine when outside of school, contrary to the rumors their classmates would say. Now the tall girl was dressed as a street punk. Baggy clothing, torn pants, hoody, slightly dirty and with an attitude screaming "Don't mess with me." Surprised by the odd appearance Ami felt the need to follow.
It was only after a few minutes that they entered a part of the city Ami had always been told to stay away from. It was just a few more turns later that she found herself in the alley with Makoto staring right at her. "What are you doing here?" The words filled with anger, looking ready to fight.
"My cram school is a few blocks away…" Ami stopped not really wanting to admit that she had followed her friend to spy.
Makoto sighed, and Ami could see some of the tall girls anger fade. The tension was still there. "You have to leave now. I can't explain now. Just go back to school and don't ever come to this neighborhood again." Ami wanted to ask for an explanation, she wasn't ready to leave, but the serious way Makoto said that made her nod and begin to turn around.
A whistle sounded from the way Ami was headed, another sounded behind her. Makoto swore. Ami looked at her shocked. None of the girls swore, though in retrospect she had found it odd that the brunette had never sworn in one of her angry rages before. So the swearing now unnerved her. Makoto walked over to her shoving her into her current hiding spot. "Don't move. Don't make a peep. No matter what. Don't move until I come back for you." And with that the boxes moved in front of her and Makoto was hidden from her sight, along so with the people that had caused the fear in Makoto's eyes. There was a small gap that she could see some delinquents through, but not her friend.
"Koto-kun!" A boys voice filled with a sarcastic joy.
"Don't call me that." Growled Makoto.
"Aw come-on Koto-kun. I'm just remembering the good old times."
Koto was not a nickname she had heard yet for Makoto. "Mako-chan" didn't seem very fitting for this group, but the other name sounded like it angered Makoto. These people were people Makoto used to know. Ami could hear a group of people arrive from the direction she had come in from.
"Enough Jurou-kun." A new voice, this one another man speaking with authority. "Koto is my guest." No honorific at all! Ami wished to see the man who addressed her friend so. Maybe this was the sempai Makoto always spoke of. Otherwise why had they never heard of them.
"Aw Maso-kun you know I…" the joking voice died. No one else spoke for a moment before Maso, the man with authority started again.
"Koto, I'm glad you've come. But first, did you come alone as was requested?" The as requested had been some type of order. Before Makoto could answer Maso continued. "No little birdies followed you? A little blue bird?" Now Ami wanted to swear. He knew she had followed Makoto and he seemed angry.
"Birds fly where they please. But blue birds do not speak, they are harmless ."
"That is fine as long as your Blue bird does not become a parrot . You know how I feel about parrots, right Koto?"
"Of course Masuru-san."
"Oh what's with the formalities Koto?" He virtually purred her name this time. He was making a specific point of using her name as much as possible. "I prefer when you call me just Masa , or even Sempai. Will you call me that Koto?"
A pause then. "Yes Masa-kun."
"Koto." No purring. Full of warning. This man unnerved Ami. She wished that she could have seen him.
"Better. Now onto business. Jurou-kun has challenged Shiro-kun to a duel due to circumstances that do not need to be repeated here. Kin-kun is Jurou-kun's second while Koto is Shiro-kun's. Due to an accident Shiro-kun is unable to fight. Jurou-kun has accepted to fight Koto as a second to get his justification. The weapons of the duel are knives. I will be refereeing. Are there any questions?"
No one spoke up, but Ami definitely wanted to. Makoto was fighting in a duel? In modern day Japan, her friend was going to fight in a duel against someone she knew in someone else's place. Why was she the second when as far as Ami knew the tall girl had had no contact with her past? And a knife fight? Ami was scared, but slightly less so with the fight being Makoto.
"The duel will be over when one of the duelers is unable to continue due to injury or death." Death! "The only weapon allowed is the knives provided. No use of martial arts. Seconds please check your dueler's weapons." There was a bunch of scuffling as everyone seemed to be moving. Ami took the time and commotion to reposition allowing her to see part of the dueling circle. Makoto stood with a boy, younger than they were. She guessed this was the Shiro who got her into this mess. One of his arms was covered in a cast. The most probable reason he couldn't fight. The boy looked concerned at Makoto. They did seem to care about each other.
Makoto turned around holding a knife that was around six inches long. Her opponent was hidden from Ami's view. "Regretting your decision to come back Koto-kun? Maybe a little scared? Because I won't go easy on you."
"Shut up Jurou-kun. I'm not scared, but you should be. You know you can't beat me in a fair fight." Makoto's voice was missing most of its usual warmth. It scared Ami.
"Enough talking. Come forward." This was a man who commanded and others listened. "Jurou-kun good luck." A few muttered whispers between the two. Makoto was still in Ami's sight. She stripped off her sweatshirt as the men were talking, revealing a tight wifebeater showing off all her assets. The two men stopped talking. A man stepped right into Ami's view. An incredibly handsome man, over six feet tall, making Makoto look short. Dark soft short hair surrounding a chiseled tan face with bright grey eyes, a few scars on his face added to his appeal. A nice muscular frame without being too much. The man was attractive. He wasn't Ami's type, her type being Makoto, but she could admit this man was good looking. If this was Makoto's old sempai she understood now. The man was a few years older than themselves. "Koto." The one word, truly a name in that tone, told so much. The lack of honorific made sense with the emotion he placed in that one word. Makoto's features softened as they looked at each other. It was a moment that Ami was envious of. Silently they spoke to each other. After a moment Makoto smiled before bowing. "Sempai." The man smiled as well, slightly sorrowful. He stepped out of view as Makoto took a fighting stance.
Ami was on the edge of her figurative seat as a man charged at Makoto. Another tall man, not as tall about their age, black hair, black eyes, muscular and with a few notable scars. The first stab was dodged, Makoto didn't return a strike where she could have. Jurou turned slashing now. Many were blocked knife on knife. A red gash was on Makoto's arm, Ami's mind told her it wasn't deep. Finally the girl stopped blocking and dodging, and pressed an attack. A slash and a grunt confirmed a hit. There was a pause. Both contestants breathing heavy. A yell from Jurou as he charged forward. They left Ami's sight, now behind boxes. She went to move but remembered Makoto's warning. There were more grunts with a few cheers from the audience. Ami wasn't sure who people were cheering for, or if they were only cheering for the violence. Finally the two returned into her view. Makoto was pressing an attack. Both were breathing heavily. Both were covered in blood, though Ami was unsure of how many cuts they each had.
Suddenly a gasp from the audience as a hilt hit hand sending Jurou's knife flying. Jurou stood with his hands still. Makoto stepped forward putting her knife to Jurou's throat. "End it." Makoto didn't move. "Koto you know the rules. By death or unable to fight." The voice sounded unsure for once.
"Go, pick it up." Jurou didn't move. "I won't kill an unarmed opponent. Pick it up." Now the boy took a step back.
"Who said I was unarmed?" Once he was out of arm's length of Makoto he pulled a hand gun from his pocket. There were shouts of "Jurou!" Everyone was shuffling around. Someone blocked Ami's view. There were some scuffles and then a loud bang. Ami's heat stopped. The crowd went silent. One set of feet moved. Ami wished she could see, but at the same time knew she didn't with the tears welling up in her eyes.
"Koto is unable to continue." Masa's voice was filled with emotion. Ami thought he was on the verge of crying. "She is dead." And Ami's heart broke and her body went numb. How could Makoto lose? How could she die from a gun and how could she have prevented it? She barely heard the rest of what happened next. "Jurou-kun you lose and you will pay for your abuse of rules and the use of guns." Now his voice was ice cold. "Get him out of here! Everyone leave now!"
There was commotion but Ami didn't pay any attention. The tears ran down her face silently as she tried to contemplate her best friend's death. Strong Makoto, Sailor Jupiter couldn't' be dead from a human with a human weapon. Not after all the youma they had fought. Not after all the times they died before. Not before Ami could say everything she had wanted to say. Her best friend and love couldn't be dead.
So lost in her depression that Ami didn't immediately notice the boxes surrounding her moving until she was exposed. She looked up at the black hooded figure. "Good job listening Ames. Now we have to get out of here quick." Ami's mind shut down as she stared up into the bright green eyes that she had thought she had lost. Makoto was alive after Masa had said she was dead. Makoto was alive and staring at her. Her body reacted for her. She was up and throwing her arms around the tall waist. There was a grunt. "Ames." The voice was very strained. "I'm glad you were worried but we have to move." Ami let go. Makoto grabbed her hand. The hand was a bit cold but not a dead cold. As she was being pulled away she noticed the blood splatter on the wall of the ally. So many questions were running through her head, but she would follow Makoto now, until they could speak.
Ami wasn't sure where they were headed. She knew if the men had believed Makoto was dead she must be injured. They should be going to a hospital but somehow Ami doubted they were. Makoto's apartment was on the other side of town. They couldn't make it there in a reasonable amount of time. "Where are we going?" she finally asked as they ran through multiple back alleys. "You should be going to a hospital."
"I can't go to a hospital. I can't explain the injuries without saying I got into a fight. The police would get involved." Makoto's voice was tight and she was more out of breath then the running should cause.
They stopped at a T intersection. Makoto pointed to the left. "Go home. I'll get help and call you later." The street she pointed to was busy and was probably one Ami recognized if her mind wasn't focused on her friend's pain.
"No I can't leave you alone like this. What if something happens?"
"I can't have you come. This isn't a world you should be dealing with." Makoto looked at her, her eyes softening the strain still evident. "I can't have my little blue bird being seen again." Makoto's hand came up and almost ran through the blue locks. But it stopped as they both noticed the blood running down it. That just solved Ami's resolve.
"No. If you will not go to a hospital I will go with you. I already thought you died once today. I don't want to wonder again."
Looking into her eyes Makoto must have noticed her resolve. "Fine. Follow closely and don't talk to anyone." The tall girl went to turn down the right path. She reached into a pocket in her pants turning around. She tossed it at Ami who caught the cloth. Opening it she noticed it was a hat. "Cover your hair. Your description can't get back to the others."
Ami hurried to put it on and shove her hair into it. Makoto started jogging again with Ami following closely. They wove further into the bad part of town avoiding the busier streets. Makoto's pace slowed as they continued. Ami worried for the drops of blood that started to form a path behind them. Before Ami could raise her worries again Makoto stopped at what appeared to be an abandoned building. Rather than going to a door or window Makoto stopped at the fire escape. The ladder was two high for Ami to reach, but Makoto turned under it and proceeded to crouch, hands clasped together to form a step. "Up you go. Just be careful of my right shoulder."
Ami wanted to argue, but that would waste more time and more blood. Gingerly she stepped into the hands, both of her hands on Makoto's shoulders. From there she carefully stepped on a shoulder, quickly grabbing onto the stairs and pulling herself up. The whole time noticing the pain in her friends face. Once she was up Ami turned to see Makoto leap into the air grabbing onto the ladder. Grunts and groans as she pulled herself up. When she was on the flat part of the fire escape she paused to catch her breath. Ami went to help her but she put a hand up and quickly stood up herself. "Almost there." The voice was weaker than ever.
They went up to the ninth floor. Makoto opened a window and hopped in. Ami followed, eyes adjusting to the dark room. Nothing was in it, but Makoto went straight through the door, down a hall and barged into a door, Ami right on her heels. They stepped into what appeared to be a hospital room. Two beds, a desk and pretty state of the art equipment. A small skinny man sat at the desk, standing immediately as the door opened.
"Who are you? What are you doing here?" The man was very worried. He was working in an illegal operation.
"Don't worry Frank." Makoto started while putting her hood down.
"Koto-chan. Why are you here and why weren't you brought up by Rin-kun?" Same nickname, but with chan. The man's fears went away but replaced by worry. "Who did you bring with you?"
"I'm apparently dead but I need your help to keep that just a story. As for my friend, don't be concerned with her."
The man nodded starting to take out some equipment, stitches and gauze. He could obviously see the blood. "Show me the injuries" Makoto took off her sweatshirt slowly. Ami almost gasped at the once white wife beater, that was now a dark red. The wife beater fell next to the sweatshirt, exposing the raw wounds. The gunshot wound was a gaping bloody mess at the exit wound in Makoto's back. It explained the splatter on the wall. The other cuts were merely knicks in comparison. Ami's mind started to go through how serious the injury could be and what organs could be damaged within. When Frank turned around he gasped.
"A gunshot wound. How'd that happen?"
"You'll hear about it later. Just play dumb."
The man shook his head. "You're still standing. Good sign. Now up on the table." Makoto followed obediently. "Can your friend help?" Ami was surprised when the man looked at her. Makoto turned to her, a pained smirk on her face.
"She'd make a good nurse for you if she wants to help."
Ami just nodded dumbly and walked over to the table. Makoto trusted this man so Ami couldn't argue about the unusual circumstances.
Frank seemed to know what he was doing. Luckily no organs were injured. It was a clean through and through with no shrapnel inside. Ami helped where she could, viewing this as training for the future. No pain killers were given to Makoto and Ami flinched at every hiss and grunt of pain Makoto let out, but she was a good patient and barely moved.
In no time the tall girl was bandaged up including a rather deep cut on her arm. "I'll go burn the bloody evidence, including your shirt. Take a moment to breath." He handed Makoto some food and water. Looking at Ami he added, "Make sure she finishes before she stands up."
"Hey I don't need a baby sitter." The argument was very weak. Frank just raised an eyebrow before walking away with Makoto's bloody shirt and the gauze.
"Listen to the man and eat. You lost a lot of blood." Ami placed her hand on Makoto's uninjured arm. The brunette sighed but didn't argue, slowly beginning to eat. Ami took the time to really observe Makoto again. Her complexion was very pale almost blending in with the bandages covering her arm and stomach. The pink sports bra that Makoto wore was now stained a red. Her breathing was a little shallow, coming quickly. There were so many questions Ami wanted to ask her.
Frank came back in moments before a buzzer sounded. He went up to an intercom. "Yes?"
"Masa and the crew are here. Apparently Jurou got into trouble. Masa doesn't seem happy."
"Give me a moment and send them up."
"Too late they are already walking up."
"Shit," mumbled Makoto.
"Looks like you have to run kid. Head to the roof, No one will look up there."
Makoto was up and putting on her bloody sweatshirt. Because of how dark it was the blood wasn't visible. "Thank you for everything. And good bye."
Frank grasped Makoto's shoulders. "Good luck kid. Be safe." And with no more of a parting Makoto took Ami's arm and led her out, up towards the roof. The building they were in was taller than most in their vicinity. It was sunset now, proving that so much had happened in such a short time. Makoto walked over to the edge, leaning on the wall looking towards the sun set. Ami followed. They stood in silence for minutes. Ami was unsure of how to break it. Makoto wouldn't take well to being asked if she was ok, but Ami was really worried about her health. They stood there until the sun set.
Black bird singing in the dead of night
A deep raspy male voice came from the stairway they had come up. Ami jumped, though she noticed the tall girl didn't. Instead a soft smile graced her face.
Take these broken wings and learn to fly
All your life you were only waiting for this moment to arise
Black bird singing in the dead of night
Take these sunken eyes and learn to see
All your life you were only waiting for this moment to arise
Ami felt like she was watching a movie. One of those romantic dramas that Usagi and Minako would force them to watch. Makoto turned towards the stairs as Masa walked out. His voice surprisingly beautiful as he sang a very poignant song. He watched Makoto as he walked forward still singing.
Black bird fly into the light of the dark black night
He stopped in front of Makoto, many emotions raging through both of their eyes.
"You're free at last." Masa's hand came up to cup the side of Makoto's face. "The scars are still visible from when I tried to free you the first time." He ran his thumb along a faint scar that Maktoo had running below the ear to under her chin.
"You freed me, but you need to free yourself." The brunette's voice sounded weaker, exhaustion and emotion evident.
"You know I can't." He sounded regretful.
"Join the army or something. Leave Tokyo."
Maso's hand gently pushed Makoto's chin up so that she was looking up at him face to face. "I could run, but what about them. Jurou-kun brought a gun and most of the others don't understand why it is so bad. We had wanted to protect the second family we had made. I couldn't protect you from them. But I have to try and protect them from themselves." Makoto turned her head, tears evident in her eyes. "Protect your new family. This little blue bird, the canary, the dove and crow." Ami was surprised how he listed what she assumed was the senshi.
Again Masa cupped Makoto's face. This time he leaned down kissing her, such a soft and sweet kiss, Makoto responded. He stepped away breaking it. He walked towards the door. Sorrow read in his eyes as he continued his song from where he left off.
Blackbird fly, blackbird fly into the light of the dark black night
He motioned to the sky and turned around.
Blackbird singing in the dead of night
Take these broken wings and learn to fly
All your life you were waiting for this moment to arise
He started to walk away, down the stairs. His voice still audible as it faded.
You were waiting for this moment to arise
You were waiting for this moment to arise
Ami watched Makoto as the song faded away. She hadn't moved towards him. Her eyes were filled with tears but her face had a bit of a wistful smile. Ami knew then that she truly loved her old sempai and whatever stories she told were just that.
If this was a movie the credits would have started rolling then. Impossible love ended without death this time. Ami stood there staring at her heart broken friend.
Abruptly Makoto turned to her as if she just remembered the brain was standing there. Her eyes were still watery but Ami wasn't worried about a melt down at the moment. "That's our cue to leave." She cleared her throat. "Let's get you home."
Makoto started walking to another door across the roof. Ami had to jog to catch up. "Let me take you home first." She grabbed the rough hand, still covered in dry blood, squeezing it gently. Makoto didn't immediately pull away or argue Ami's point, instead the larger hand folded loosely around hers.