dedication: to Sonya, on her twenty-first birthday.
notes: in the same continuity as quietus, nervous like a knife fight, and tonight the world dies, just sayin'.
notes2: I like Ami taking Zoi apart. it's interesting.
title: wolf drawn
summary: She breaks him quietly. — Ami/Zoisite.
Ami was a scientist.
She was a magical ex-princess of the planet Mercury with blue hair who transformed into the Senshi of Ice on occasion, too; but first and foremost, she was a scientist. This, and only this, was the reason she didn't immediately freeze the Shittenou to the ground and take off running, taking care to drag Usagi and Makoto behind her.
(Mamoru could fend for himself.)
She didn't trust them as far as she could throw them.
She was intrigued, of course. Coming back to life after being a rock for half a decade was a particularly fantastic feat, and Ami would have loved to have known how they'd done it. Usagi was involved, of course, and Usagi's boundless wishes for the people she loved to find happiness.
Mamoru was top of that list, and Ami had no doubt that Usagi would wish the Shittenou back for his sake if nothing else.
She could feel eyes trained on her, burning bright and sharp. A flush was working its way up to her cheeks; everyone was talking so loud that she couldn't even concentrate—Makoto's fingers were sparking, Usagi was grieving, Mamoru was holding on, and the men that Ami knew-but-didn't-know…
She couldn't even look at them.
Makoto did the talking.
Ami was grateful for that.
Instead she curled her palm around Usagi's arm, and she meant I'm sorry and I love you and I don't blame you, which she thought her oldest friend probably needed to hear right then. Because Ami didn't blame her—it was impossible to blame Usagi, especially because she never meant any harm. This was a betrayal that nobody wanted, but nobody could reverse unless they all wanted blood on their hands.
And the Senshi had seen so much blood.
So they went home, and Ami looked at her hands around a cup of tea from the window seat in Makoto's (closed, today) bakery, eyes on the leaves strewn across the asphalt outside.
"Mako-chan, do you think we're wrong?"
"About… them. Are we wrong?"
Makoto was covered in flour. There was a smear of it across her nose where she'd wiped her hand. Ami wiped it away without really thinking about it, and watched as Makoto's hands settled on her hips.
"Of course we're not. You remember what they did, don't you?"
"We did the same."
"That was different. Galaxia was different."
"How?" Ami asked.
"It just was," Makoto said. She turned her face away.
Ami could understand that. Usagi had long forgiven what had happened with Sailor Galaxia—in fact, Ami thought distantly that Usagi had never even blamed any of them at all. Usagi believed in their friendships more than anyone.
Sometimes, Ami thought that maybe that was the only reason they'd been brought back.
Because Usagi believed.
Not because they hadn't wanted to come back, but because Usagi believed. They'd come back and they'd cried and held together because Usagi believed that they could. She believed that they wanted to come back, that they'd deserved the chance even after they'd stood against her.
That was just Usagi, though, Ami thought.
Really, Galaxia hadn't been different at all.
And Ami was a scientist. Making a judgement without a sound basis to make that judgement upon was frowned upon in the scientific community.
It was hard.
"I should go," she said softly. "I need to be at the hospital in half an hour. Thanks for the tea?"
Ami didn't realize she'd asked it as a question until Makoto shook her auburn curls out of her face and smiled brightly. She was autumn, in that moment, all lightning-sharp edges and bright lips like fallen leaves. She was oak with roots buried deeps and cranberries just sour-sweet with frost. She smiled with her new-leaf green eyes.
"It'll be okay," she said.
Ami didn't know which one of them she was trying to reassure. She bowed her head and smiled in return, but she wondered if maybe it didn't reach her eyes because Makoto looked concerned.
"Seriously, Ami-chan. It's going to be fine."
"I believe you," Ami replied, and gathered up her coat. She swung the scarf around her neck with it tucked it up and in, and walked out into the blustery day, waving so hard her arm hurt. "See you later!"
When she finally turned away, the smile fell off her face.
She had someplace to be, and it wasn't the hospital at all.
The wind blew her to Mamoru's apartment, bright red coat a spot of colour against the grey sky and bright red leaves a sharp relief in the blue of her hair. Ami looked up at the tall building, and wondered if maybe this wasn't a horrible idea.
The guard recognized her. She waved a little as she buzzed Ami into the drab little foyer. Ami returned it out of long habit, but the muscles in her face weren't working quite right. She couldn't hitch a smile up if she tried.
It was for the better, probably.
The elevator went ding.
Ami went up.
The walk to from the elevator to Mamoru's apartment was all of twelve steps, and with every one, Ami reconsidered what she was doing. Her friends would be angry for a long time.
Usagi would be happy, though.
That was worth the fear that was clutching at her throat, bubbling acid hot in her stomach like some sick witch's brew. She twisted her gloves in her hands, would tap her nails against the wall if she didn't think it would sell her out.
She gathered all the courage she had, and raised her fist to knock.
"I'm coming, I'm coming—!" came muffled through the door. Ami went still all over, cheeks turning blotchy from the mortification—what was she even doing here, this was a terrible idea—
The door whipped open fast than she could change her mind. Nephrite stood in the doorjamb, and looked down at her.
"Um. Hello?" Ami squeaked.
"Uh. Hey. Shit. Um—Endy, there's—it's—"
"Imbecile, if there's someone at the door, invite them in!"
"NO ONE ASKED YOU, KID," Nephrite bellowed over his shoulder. He seemed to remember that there was a lady standing in front of him, and he winced. "Sorry about that, Zeke's—fuck him, he's an—shit, language, you're a lady, uh—"
"LET HER IN."
He made a choking sound, ran his fingers through his hair. "I'm gonna—jesus—would you like to come in?"
Ami smiled a little weakly. "I would like that very much, thank you."
He probably didn't even realize he was speaking English. Ami thought it was probably lucky that she'd been the first to go, if only because she was one of three who had a decent grasp of the English language, and was one of only two who could speak the language fluently.
When he jumped out of the way, Ami stepped in. They looked at each other for a moment (or, actually, he eyed her, and she flushed bright red. This was a terrible idea), and then Nephrite sighed out something like exasperation.
"Don't let 'em fuck with you. Chin up," he advised, and stuck a hand out. "I'm Nate."
"Mizuno Ami," she took the offered handshake. When he grinned at her again, she felt a little bit better. "Thanks for opening the door. It's getting cold out."
Neither cared that they were in a well-insulated building, several stories up and far away from anything that might be chill-inducing. It was a truce. Weary and fragile, to be sure, but a truce none the less.
Ami stepped inside, fighting every instinct she had.
She wasn't going to run for it now, not after getting herself all the way over here and up the elevator and through the doors. Ami bit her lip, dug her fingers into the wool of her coat, and forcibly pried it off herself.
She didn't need armour, for this.
(Well, maybe she did. She didn't know how far gone they were, yet, but she was going to give them the benefit of a doubt. A thousand years changed things, and Ami was so tired of hating. Maybe Rei could hold on to her hatred, but Ami was tired and hating just took so much energy. Hating was an active pastime. She didn't have the energy, anymore.)
Ami faced the Shittenou, and she smiled.
"Hello," she said. "It's nice to meet you."
She recognized them all, of course. The four Kings and their Prince—Ami could see them in their uniforms without any trouble at all. Though Nephrite's hair was a little shorter, and Jadeite looked even less serious then he'd been in the Silver Millennium, she knew them all.
Even the golden-haired snitch that she could feel was hovering just out of sight.
They sort of gaped at her. Mamoru seemed to shake himself out of it. "Ami-san, would you like some tea?"
She didn't say she'd just had tea with Makoto.
It was better this way.
And so Mamoru disappeared into the kitchen, and Ami sat in silence with the Shittenou for all of thirty seconds before there was an utter explosion of noise.
"So what do you do in, uh, well, what do you do?"
What do you do in this life, Mercury?
"I'm a doctor," she said softly. "Or almost one, anyway. Like Mamoru-san."
They all nodded at her. Ami could tell they were straining to ask about the other Senshi—she'd never been a focal point in their relationships, because she'd been the quiet one who'd mostly stayed out of everyone's way.
"Do you like it?" Nate asked. There was genuine curiosity in his voice.
"It suits me," Ami said, nervous in the fingers. She didn't want to explain why it suited her so much—medicine was a benediction, a relief of normalcy in a world of magical princesses and monsters to which she belonged on her off days.
"But do you like it?" he asked again, looking at her very intently, now. Ami flushed bright red under the scrutinizing gaze, almost out of habit.
"I—yes. I like it very much. I enjoy helping people," she said.
It wasn't a lie, either.
She did like medicine very much. Ami felt the tension in her stomach begin to unwind. They weren't going to eat her, nothing bad was going to happen. If she was lucky, Zoisite would even stay away—
Of course, Ami should have expected that as soon as she thought about him, he would show up. Speak of the devil.
"HI, I'M ZEKE, CAN I TALK TO YOU PRIVATELY, YES, OKAY, COOL, LET'S GO," he yelled in her face. Before she could say anything—before she could blink, to be quite honest—he'd wrapped a hand around her wrist, tugged her up, and pulled her towards the entrance.
The last thing Ami saw in the apartment was Mamoru coming back from the kitchen, looking utterly confused, as she disappeared out the door.
Ami couldn't even look at him. They were walking through a dead park with dead trees and dead leaves across the ground and everywhere in the sky. It was very quiet. "It's—it's okay."
"No, I was rude. I'm, uh, I'm Zeke."
"You said," she smiled out of the corner of her mouth. He looked just about as flustered as she probably did, which was nice. It was a change to find someone as nervous as she was.
"No, look, I'm sorry, okay. For everything, I don't even remember most of it, but I remember you and looking at you, god, how do I even know you, you've been in my dreams since I was a kid, I thought I was crazy—"
His Japanese went accented, quick and thick around the lips, and Ami had a feeling he was about to tumble into a very fast, very furious English or French that likely would make very little sense at all.
Ami reached across the gulf between them to touch his shoulder.
"I thought I was crazy, too. For a long time," she murmured. "I get it. It's okay."
"It's not!" he burst out.
They stopped, and Ami looked up at him, surprised. "Why not?"
"Because I killed you!"
"Ah. Yes. About that—"
"I loved you and I killed you! What kind of sick fuck was I?"
Ami's brow furrowed. "Hush. It wasn't your fault."
"Yes, it was," he says. His face was very bleak. "The whole thing was my fault, and I don't—I don't even know your name, do I."
"I said it in the apartment," Ami said. She tucked her hair behind her ears, still nervous, still a little off-balance but certainly less so, now. "Ami. I'm Ami."
He was too busy angsting about killing her to really concentrate on what she was saying, Ami thought. She had to smother giggles into the collar of her coat. This was no time to be giggling, it wasn't even funny!
(Except it really kind of was.)
There was a sort of broken anxiety in his face; it was a longing with nothing to long for, or at least it was a longing for some forgiveness that Ami had long given. She'd forgiven him the day she'd died in the Silver Millennium, even, unable to blame this man with his shaking hands and his wild, beautiful eyes.
They walked, again in silence.
Finally, Ami looked at him out of the corner of her eye.
"Would you like to get a cup of coffee?" she asked. "I'm a little cold."
Zeke lit up brighter than the sun, and said "Coffee would be great! I mean, yeah, anything would be great, this is you, I've been—"
Ami laughed for the first time all day. "You're really terrible at not talking, aren't you."
He shifted a little guiltily. "Maybe."
"No filter, huh?"
"My mam always told me I didn't stand a chance," he said. "I was always in trouble for running my mouth."
"I don't doubt it," Ami smiled again.
The day seemed a little less grey as Zeke hesitantly offered her his arm. "This okay?"
Ami turned bright red again, but there was a determination to her that wasn't about to disappear just yet. She slipped her hand into the crook of his elbow, the corners of her lips picking up.
"This is okay," she said.
He exhaled out something related to exultation.
Together, an ex-princess and her killer walked, to find a cup of coffee and a long conversation about forgiveness. The scientific community was going to be pleased, Ami thought with a tiny, secret smile. Her sisters, maybe not so much. They would come around.
Ami was no seer—that was Rei's department—but she didn't need to be a soothsayer for this.
She wasn't going to have to wait long.
notes3: this isn't slit-your-wrists angst. oh my god, what is happening to me.