Title: Beginnings
Rating: PG
The series: Sailor Moon
The couple: Ami and Minako
My real name: Michael Treiber
My pen name: Princedarienofthewhitemoon
email address: princedarienofthewhitemoon@yahoo.com
I would like this published under my real name

Minako blinked in confusion.
"What do you mean, 'no'?"
Ami's voice was firm when she replied.
"I mean just that. No, I am NOT interested in going on a date with you. Just because I don't date a lot of men doesn't mean I'm a lesbian." She paused in thought for a moment. "And since when are you?"
"I'm not... well, I don't think so..." Minako knew that this wasn't going to be very good explanation, but she had to try.
"You see, I was talking to Haruka the other day...what?"
Ami was giving her a flat, expressionless stare. When she finally spoke, it was slowly and careful, as if to a child.
"Minako... Haruka is EXTREEMLY lesbian. She thinks that all girls have the same sort of tastes she does, and just don't realize it. Just because she told you that you're probably a lesbian doesn't mean that you are. And what makes you think that I would be, anyway?"
"Like I said, we were talking. She said it was interesting how I'd never really had luck with any of my relationships. Then I told her it was because I got these quick little crushes that just kind of fizzled out."
Minako took a deep breath before continuing.
"Then she asked me if I'd ever had anyone I was interested in for more than just a few days."
Ami had a pretty good idea of where this little story was going by the blush that had bloomed on the blonde's face.
"I told her that I'd had a crush on HER for a long time." A deep sigh. "She just patted me on the top of my head and said that that was cute. Then she asked if I'd ever had any feelings like that toward other girls. I don't know, I said. And SHE said that maybe I should try going out with a few women and see how I liked it. That's where we are now."
"Ok." Ami said. "That was a very pretty story. But it still doesn't answer my question. Why are you asking me?"
"Oh, that's simple. Since we never see you with any men, we all figure that you're just in the closet."
Ami was speechless. Well, nearly.
"Who is 'we'?"
"Hmm? Oh, everybody... the other senshi, all your friends, your mom..."
"My mother!?" Ami was shocked. Why would her mother...?
"Its not that big of a deal." Minako answered calmly. "Its just that you've never had a long term boyfriend, and not to many short term one's either, and your mom is just kind of worried that you two aren't close enough for you to feel comfortable telling her."
Before Ami could come up with a reply, Minako glanced at her watch and said,
"Oops! Lunch is over... time to get to class. Anyway.. think about it, ok?"
Ami called out to Minako's retreating back.
"The answer is still going to be the same!"

"And she just.. shot you down?" Haruka was slightly amazed. She'd have thought that Ami would have been a little gentler... Especially with sweet, gentle Minako.
The blond just nodded, her eyes downcast. It was almost four hours later and, even though she had tried to stay cheerful in front of Ami, the icy rejection still stung.
The two were sitting in Haruka's apartment's living room. Michiru was in the kitchen, so the two were completely alone. The silence hung heavily between them for a moment until Haruka broke it.
"Well..." She said. "You'll just have to work that much harder to win her over then!"
"I don't know..." Minako was despondent. "That 'no!' sounded pretty final. She didn't even try to make it a little easier. Just flat no."
"Oh please." Haruka said in an almost offhand tone. "If I know anything, its how to seduce unwilling young women. Now... here's what you do first..."

Michiru waited until Minako was gone before entering the living room.
"What do you think you're doing?" She asked her lover.
Haruka just grinned at her.
"Oh, nothing..."
Michiru raised an eyebrow, but chose to let it slide.

"First things first.." Minako muttered to herself. "Flowers."
As she entered the shop, Haruka's advice fluttered through her head.
'One of the reasons some girls say no is because they're afraid that their family will be angry. If you can show them indisputable proof that its not true, that's one obstacle out of the way.'
Minako waited patiently for a clerk to help the person in front of her in line, and then made her request.
"One dozen roses. Red, long stem."
Normally the price would have been an insurmountable obstacle, but Haruka had given her some money. She said that she'd think of some way for Minako to pay her back later. And even though Minako didn't really understand what she meant, Haruka had also said something about needing to pick up some film for her camera...
"Also, I'm going to need a card with those. It's to read, 'To my dearest Ami...Love, Minako'"

After ringing the doorbell, Minako only had to wait a few moments for an answer.
"Hello Mrs. Mizuno... Is Ami here?"
The older woman shook her head.
"I'm sorry... she's at a cram class this afternoon."
"Oh..." Minako flooded her voice with false regret.
"Well, when she gets home can you give her these?" Minako held the roses out to Ami's mother.
"And can you tell her that I'm sorry if I was a little to, um..." She forced an artful blush before continuing. " a little too...fast... yesterday?"
Without saying a word, Ami's mother slowly closed the door between them, her face frozen in an expression of mute shock.
Minako was almost floating as she walked away from the house.

"Phase one, complete." She told Haruka, radiating satisfaction.
"Good." Haruka replied. "Now you just have to wait and see how she reacts."
She didn't have to wait long.

"Minako!" The blond was sitting under a tree eating her lunch, but looked up and smiled as she heard Ami call her name.
"Hi Ami! Did you get the flowers? I'm sorry if the roses were a little cliché... but I'm afraid I don't know what kind you like."
"What the hell are you doing? Do you have any idea what my mother thought? AND wanted to discuss for almost two hours!?"
"What do you mean?" Minako asked in a falsely innocent tone of voice. "I clearly upset you yesterday, and I wanted to make it up to you."
"Minako..." Ami sighed. She didn't know what to believe. True, Minako had just asked her for a date, but was she really clever enough to come up with something like this? Regardless, she continued.
"You can't do things like that. My mother spent a good portion of last night trying to convince me that not only was it ok to be gay, but if I was she would want to know. And THEN she started going off on what a wonderful girl you were."
"Really?" Minako was genuinely touched. She hadn't known that Ami's mother liked her.
"Anyway..." Ami said after looking at her watch. "We'll discuss it later. I have to get back to class."

"Phase two," Haruka told her, "Involves showing her that the two of you can pleasantly spend time alone, without her feeling threatened."
Minako frowned in thought for a moment, and then smiled at the idea that bloomed in her mind.

Minako didn't have to wait long. Ami's mother had been very willing, almost eager, to tell her exactly when and where Ami's cram class was. Thus, when Ami came out, looking a bit worn, Minako was there waiting.
"Hi Ami!" Minako's tone was warm, almost sunny.
"Oh... Minako. Hi. Um... what are you doing here?"
The blond smiled at her friend.
"You've been working so hard in this cram class that I though you could use a break. So how about some ice cream? My treat."

Once again Haruka had loaned her the money. But why in the world did she want to know weather Minako thought of herself as more of a cat person, or a bunny person?
"Mmm... this is good..." Minako sighed in pleasure after taking a deep bite of her vanilla cone.
Ami just nodded, absorbed in the chocolate swirl standing before her.
"So," Minako asked, "What are you doing in this new class?"
She blinked once, surprised that Minako was interested, but Ami was more than willing to discuss one of her favorite topics... academics.
Though she didn't understand half of what the other girl said, Minako maintained eye contact through the entire monologue, nodding and making appropriate noises as the situation called for them. This had been something that Haruka had stressed into the ground. Even if you had no idea what she was talking about, or if you didn't care, you had to pretend that something a woman you were interested in was the most interesting thing you had ever heard. Not only did it make her feel special, but it also let her know that you were interested in her, as a whole person.
Half an hour later, Ami seemed much easier around Minako as the two left. It seemed that the stiffness between them caused my Minako's request had been eased away.
"Thanks Minako..." Ami said as they left. "I had a good time."
"So did I." Minako replied. She paused for a moment, amazed that it was true. Normally she would have been bored to tears listening to someone discuss a class on Meji era literature, but she had a good time just being in Ami's presence.

Minako knocked a second time. Haruka had sworn she would be here.. Her train of thought was cut off as Michiru answered the door.
"Hello Minako. Haruka's not here right now. I sent her to the store. But please, come in."
Michiru saw her guest to a seat in the living room, and then retreated to her bedroom. When she came out, she was holding two tickets to her upcoming concert. Wordlessly, she handed them to Minako.
"Um, thanks, but..."
The aqua haired beauty laughed lightly.
"Oh please... Like I didn't read all of Haruka's old diaries as soon as we got together. Phase three... a non threatening date in a public place. Thus, the concert tickets."
"Thank you!" Michiru cut her off with a raised hand.
"I know that Haruka has given you quite a bit of money for this little project. Just keep this in mind when she wants you to pay it back."
She smiled, almost feraly.
"I ALWAYS find the negatives."

"Ami?" Minako asked, almost conversationally as the two walked home from school.
"Hmm? What is it?"
"What are you doing this Friday night?"
Ami stopped dead in her tracks.
"Oh Minako... We've been having a lot of fun together the last couple of days, but..."
Enough was enough.
"Exactly!" Minako said. "We have been having a lot of fun together! And its not like I'm asking you to come to bed with me... just... give me a chance."
Minako shook her head.
"Listen. I got two tickets for Michiru's new concert. You know, the one where she plays her three new songs? The one that is so booked out that even Michiru wasn't wasn't supposed to get any tickets for it?"
The other girl still looked troubled. Minako sighed.
"All right, how about this. Come with me. If you enjoy yourself, great... it was our first date. But if you really, truly don't... Then we tell everyone that we were just going to a concert together. As friends."
She took a deep breath and looked Ami straight in the eyes as she finished.
"And if you aren't happy... Then I'll never bug you for another date."
A heartbeat of still silence. Then a second. A third and.. Ami nodded once.

Minako was determined to dress for full effect. She was a very attractive young woman, and knew it. The trouble was making sure that Ami did too.
She finally decided on a dress that Setsuna had given her for her birthday. It was very dark red silk, with a snug, laced bodice. The skirt, cuffs, and neck were all trimmed in lace, which served to make her hands, throat, and ankles all look slimmer and more delicate. She wore her hair unbound and brushed until it almost glowed. A moments though and she earrings earrings she had been considering back. Tonight she didn't want any ornaments other than the natural ones. A heavier shawl of a slightly lighter tone of red completed the look.
The best feature of the dress, however, was that Ami had never seen her wear it before. So it would have full impact, uncushioned by familiarity in the least.
She couldn't believe how nervous she was as she awaited her ride to Ami's house. The other girl's mother had insisted on driving them to the concert, but Haruka had claimed the right to drive her to Ami's house. When the doorbell finally rang, she almost jumped out of her skin.

Haruka slowly moved her eyes from Minako's face to her ankles, and back up.
"Wow." Short, simple, and straight to the point.
Minako blushed, not from embarrassment, but from a tingling mix of pleasure and anxiety. Haruka was probably the best judge of the female form around, and if she approved...
"Well," Haruka finally said after one last scan, "Its rude to keep a lady waiting."

The entire drive Haruka heaped her wisdom upon her younger friend. What to do if this happened, how to react to this, what to do during every moment before, during and after the date. By the time they arrived at Ami's house, her head was swimming. It cleared rather abruptly, however.
Ami was stunning. There was no other word for it.
Her dress was dark, almost navy blue. It was sleeveless and V-necked. Not cut low enough to show cleavage, just enough to show all of her throat and the very top of her chest. A heavy sash of black was tied about her waist. And unlike Minako, she had chosen to wear some jewelry... small spherical earrings of silver.
The dress was perfect on her. Not everyone could pull it off, but if the person was small and slender, like Ami, then it was just right.
"Well.." Minako said, after catching her breath. "Shall we go?"

'So far so good...' Minako though to herself. Everything was going smoothly, and the concert was beautiful. The only thing that could have been better was the temperature. It was quite a bit to cool in the concert hall. Thinking that, Minako noticed that Ami's bare arms and shoulders had goose bumps, and she was shivering lightly.
Minako didn't stop to think about what she was doing until it was too late. She unwrapped her shawl from her shoulders, and extended her arm around Ami, covering the other girl in the body warmed cloth.
Ami stiffened, and for a moment Minako seriously considered withdrawing her arm and apologizing. But then she relaxed, and settled back into the crook of Minako's shoulder.

"The concert really was lovely, wasn't it?" Ami was still wrapped in Minako's shawl, though the blonde's arm was no longer wrapped around her shoulders.
"Yeah... it was..." Ami could tell that Minako was distracted by something. A long silence drew between them.
"Did you have a good time?" Minako finally asked.
Ami had to think for a moment. But it was a rather quick moment.
"Yes Minako... I enjoyed our date."
Minako was overjoyed, but something clearly still weighed on her mind.
"What's wrong?" Ami asked, concern coloring her voice.
"She said this was going to be awkward..." Minako mumbled.
"Excuse me?"
Sighing, Minako told Ami,
"This is the part of the date where I'm either supposed to start fishing for a good night kiss or walk away gracefully. And I have no idea how to handle it."
The smaller girl smiled and, leaning forward, quickly pressed her lips against Minako's cheek and pulled back.
"Good night Minako."

"So," Haruka asked as Minako go back into the car. "How was it?"
Several possible answers flicked through her head. It was nothing, it was just a peck on the cheek...
"It was a beginning."