The Gift of Love

by LadyKeren


* * * * * * * *

Another school day had ended, and the week was approaching its conclusion. Makoto gathered her belongings and exited the classroom, frowning upon noticing how dark the sky looked. ­Hmm…that's funny…I thought there was only a 10% chance of rain today, and it was sunny this morning, so I thought the prediction was true for a change. Oh, well...I guess I had better hurry on home.'

As the brunette broke into a sprint, it began to drizzle. She couldn't help cursing under her breath. "That's why people shouldn't trust meteorologists…they're such liars," she grumbled to herself. She sighed heavily, annoyed with herself for not thinking to bring her rain gear just in case. 'This is just great. I'm gonna end up sick in bed all weekend…well…I'd better pick up the pace before that does happen. Not to mention this sudden shower might get worse.'

Makoto increased her speed a bit and kept running, only to bump into someone and fall down, landing on her bottom. She let out a slight groan of pain before exploding at the culprit, "Hey, watch where you're going, you big oaf!"

"I apologize profusely. I hope you're all right," responded a kind sounding tenor voice.

Makoto merely grunted at the concern as she rose to her feet. 'Now that he's mentioned it…' She quickly checked herself for bumps and bruises, seeing there were none. "You're lucky I'm all right, because if sorry was good enough, there would be no need for policemen!" she retorted with a deep frown etched on her features. She then fell silent, realizing how ungracious she was especially when she replayed the young man's voice in her head. 'Oh, he sounds like…'

Glancing up hesitantly, her frown disappeared and was replaced by guilt when she saw it was none other than Motoki, whose kind face was enough to melt away her angry feelings. "Oh, it's you! I'm so sorry, I didn't mean to bite your head off. I'm not usually this grouchy, I swear!"

Motoki gave the brunette a reassuring smile, which thawed her heart even more. "Oh, it's fine. You actually got my attention. I was distracted all day and I'm usually a lot more attentive."

Makoto managed to suppress the second pang of guilt she had for exploding, though only narrowly. She nodded in understanding. "Now that you've mentioned it, me too. I was just in a hurry to get home and out of this rain."

"I hear ya. Maybe you and I running into each other is fate. I wouldn't want you catching the cold. Here, you can stand under my umbrella, and I'll walk you home." Motoki held the umbrella over the brunette.

Makoto gave the blonde young man a grateful smile. "Oh, thank you so much. That's very kind of you."

Motoki smiled back while replying, "The pleasure is mine. Come, let's go." He casually placed his free hand on the small of the brunette's back and led her away, causing her to blush and butterflies to flutter around in her stomach. 'He reminds me so much of my sempai in the way he talks, and kind of looks like him, too.' She heaved a blissful sigh, and a small smile formed on her lips, feeling as if all her worries were far away and nothing more could spoil her day.

"Say, Makoto?" ventured Motoki, breaking the brief silence between them.

"Yes?" answered the brunette, still partially lost in her thoughts as she got a dreamy look on her features. 'Maybe he's gonna ask me to be his girl, to which I would say yes in a heartbeat!'

Contrary to Makoto's hopes, the blonde said, "I have heard about what a great cook you are from quite a number of people. " He removed his hand from the small of her back. "Is there any truth to their ravings?"

Makoto briefly looked disappointed that her mini-dream hadn't come true before blushing a bit. "People do tell me that, and I certainly try my best, but I'm only average at it, I'm afraid. "

Motoki tilted his head as if he had trouble believing the brunette, then chuckled a bit, eliciting a bemused look from her. "Something tells me you are just being modest to avoid sounding as if you're bragging, but I admire girls who are humble about their talents instead of showing off. Still, I would like to taste your cooking for myself. " He paused, trying to figure out the best way to phrase his request. "Would you mind preparing one of your home-cooked meals for me one of these days? If you're too busy, I understand."

Makoto's eyes brightened, clearly flattered by the request. "Oh sure! It's no problem at all! Just write down your address and favorite dish, and I'll come right over this Sunday. I'll even clean for you if you want me to. Then again, I don't expect a guy like you will need it." She fell silent, appearing embarrassed by her last offer. 'Great. He probably thinks I'm a weirdo.'

"Will do. Hold this umbrella for me."

"All right." Makoto took the umbrella from the young man and held it over both of them, watching as he fetched his notebook. He scribbled something down and then handed the book to her before taking the umbrella back. Makoto glanced at what Motoki had written, nodding slightly. "So, Hayashi rice, huh? No problem, I can fix that."

Motoki gave a small grin. "Great." At that moment, the rain stopped.

Makoto noticed it was no longer raining as well. Although she knew she should be happy, a crestfallen look appeared on her features. 'Oh well…the walk was nice while it lasted.' She suppressed a dejected sigh.

Motoki noted the brunette's seemingly despondent demeanor, and couldn't help frowning with concern, especially when she seemed so cheerful before. "Makoto? Why do you look so bummed out all of a sudden? Is something wrong?"

'Crap! I had been hoping he wouldn't notice.' Makoto peered down at her feet as she gathered her thoughts. Her face turned red with embarrassment at the thought of admitting she was upset for what was probably a silly reason in the blonde's eyes. 'However, I can't lie and besides, he wouldn't buy it if I said it's nothing.' She drew in a deep breath. "It's just…now that the rain has stopped, you have no reason to continue to walk me home, and I was really enjoying it. I do appreciate you walking me this far, though. It so happens we're almost to my apartment."

Motoki placed a finger under the brunette's chin and gave her a warm smile, both of which made her heart turn into mush. "Hey, don't look so down. It was my pleasure. I just remembered, I have to stop by the college campus for a bit, so it's actually a good time to part ways."

Makoto's face brightened up a little, and she mentally kicked herself for being upset over nothing. 'Not like me at all.' She nodded. "Okay. I'll see you on Monday, if not before."

"See you then. Take care."

"You too." Waving at the blonde young man, Makoto took her leave.

Motoki turned around to make his way to the college, only to see a young woman with long straight chestnut hair dressed in a lavender dress with a lab coat over it walking towards him. 'Dang! She beat me here. And she had to have seen Makoto with me, too…I hope she doesn't take it the wrong way.' It was all he could do not to start panicking. After taking several breaths to calm himself, he ran to greet the young woman, enveloping her in an embrace and pecking her lips. "Reika! I was just about to come to the school."

Reika sized the young man up, making a "hmm" sound before her lips broke into a teasing grin. "Well, it seems someone had simply lost track of time, due to being preoccupied with that girl I saw walking away from you." She playfully tapped his nose and asked in a mischievous tone, "So tell me, is she the new girlfriend everyone keeps mentioning?"

Motoki's face turned bright red and he let out a chuckle, relieved she wasn't explosive about the situation. "No, it's nothing like that. I was just sharing my umbrella with Makoto while she walked home because it was raining cats and dogs. I had mentioned wanting to taste her cooking, but I intend to share it with you so you can experience it as well."

Reika took ahold of the young man's hand and squeezed it. " How very kind of you. I would love that. There's no need to worry. Actually, I've come to tell you we must cancel our date because I have to work late tonight."

Motoki's smile faded and he put on a neutral expression to mask the mild disappointment rising within him. He nodded. "I understand. How about a raincheck this Sunday? Perhaps for lunch? Or for dinner?"

A smile crept onto the young woman's lips. "Yes, that would be wonderful. In fact, it's the perfect time to talk to you about something that has been weighing heavily on my mind." The enthusiasm disappeared from her voice at the final statement.

Motoki nodded. "I remember…about the important decision." He then raised an eyebrow at how unenthusiastic she sounded. "Something wrong? Is this decision because of something terrible that had happened to you?" He frowned at such a possibility, considering he and Reika had a very open relationship for the most part. 'I would certainly hope it's not bad news.'

Reika could see the worried look in her partner's eyes. She rested a hand on his shoulder to reassure him. "Oh no, it's not what you think. It's just that time is running out, but at the same time I want to make sure I don't regret whatever choice I make in the end. "

Motoki looked relieved. "I see. You should definitely take your time."

"Time is running out. You will have to make a decision sooner or later," a familiar deep voice interrupted.

The couple turned around to see Mamoru standing behind them. "Oh, hey Mamoru!" greeted Motoki.

"You know, you shouldn't sneak up on people like that," said Reika in a mock scolding voice, clutching her chest as if she were having a heart attack.

Mamoru squirmed, looking a bit sheepish. "Sorry if I frightened you two. I overheard your conversation, and didn't want to interrupt, and so I waited until it was over to say my piece."

"Oh, it's all right. No harm done," Reika reassured the ebony-haired young man. "On the contrary, I am pleased to see you. I have a favor to ask of you."

Mamoru gave a curious frown, as requests from the young woman were a rarity, if at all. "Huh? And what might that be?"

"Nothing major. I was just wondering if you would take Motoki out for coffee so he wouldn't have to spend the evening alone. I feel terrible about having to cancel my date with him on such short notice, you see."

"Sure thing," quipped Mamoru. "I would have done that even if you hadn't asked. It so happens he and I have some major catching up to do."

Reika smiled, glad she had not asked for too much. "Well that's good to know. I'm off, then. Take care and have a wonderful time. I'll call you later, Motoki." She gave Motoki a quick peck on the lips before leaving to make her way to the college campus.

Mamoru turned to face Motoki, who had a pensive expression on his face. He put a hand on the blonde's shoulder, which got his attention. Mamoru gave him an amused look before stating, "Looks like it's only you and me, pal. Let's go."

"Oh. Right." Motoki shook his head as if to say, 'What's the matter with me today? Pull yourself together, Furuhata.' He and Mamoru headed over to one of their favorite coffee shops together. At one point Mamoru shot a sideways glance at his best friend to make sure he was all right, prompting the blonde to peep back at him from the corner of his eye. 'Perhaps I'll feel better after talking to Mamoru.'

* * * * * * * *

(coffee shop)

Once seated and served their coffee beverages, the two young men faced each other whilst waiting for their drinks to cool down a bit. Both of them were silent for awhile, debating within their minds which one of them should speak up first.

Mamoru finally drew in a deep breath and prodded the blonde, "So Motoki, spill it. What had you so out of it?"

Motoki let out a light sigh. He knew there was no point in denying anything was on his mind—not when the ebony-haired young man had overheard a portion of his conversation with Reika. "Well you see, Reika has an opportunity to study in Africa and for the past few days, she has been trying to decide whether she should go or not."

Mamoru got a knowing look on his face before nodding in understanding. "Ah, so that explains everything. What she had said to you when I came by suddenly makes sense. It is an important decision to make."

"I know." Motoki paused to take a sip of his coffee and glanced up at his friend again. "I'm torn over it myself. I mean, I would miss her terribly if she went, but at the same time I want her to be happy and don't want to hold her back for my sake, if that makes sense."

"Yes, I know what you mean, and I can only imagine how I would feel if I were in the same situation. Still, though, it's a decision she will have to make on her own." Mamoru picked up his coffee mug to take a sip.

"I know." Motoki heaved another sigh, this one a bit deeper. The whole matter was becoming increasingly depressing for him. 'Regardless of what Reika decides, one of us will lose in the end.' He felt the mood becoming somber, and he didn't like that. Forcing himself to think about something more pleasant, he asked, "Do you like Hayashi rice?"

Mamoru frowned in thought. "It's all right, I guess. Why?"

Motoki's lips quirked up a bit as he responded, "Makoto is coming over to my place to make it for me on Sunday. You should come as well." He picked up his mug to drink some more coffee.

"Makoto…where did I hear that name before…?" Mamoru mumbled to himself. His eyes popped wide open as it suddenly hit him. "Oh, I think I remember. She's one of Usako's friends."

Motoki gave an affirmative nod. "Right." He took another sip of coffee.

Mamoru drank some more coffee, too, then gave his best friend an amused look. "Now that you mentioned it, did you know Usako has eyes for you?"

Motoki stared blankly at the raven-haired young man and confusion crossed his features. "Oh yeah. She's really cute and fun."

Mamoru looked at his friend as if he were crazy. "Don't you get it? She's madly in love with you."

The blonde young man's face turned as red as a tomato, clearly not expecting that. His eyebrows arched way up and his mouth dropped open. "Wha? But she and Makoto are junior high school girls."

Mamoru could see Motoki was surprised by the revelation and wondered whether he should have said anything at all. 'Apparently he didn't know…it also brings to mind Rei and her schoolgirl crush on me.'

"For that reason, along with my ongoing relationship with Reika, I see them as no more than sisters," continued Motoki.

Mamoru nodded. "I get it, and I actually agree with you, particularly on the point that you're already dating Reika." A touch of pity appeared on his features as his mind landed on Makoto and Usagi. 'Usako is really gonna be crushed when she finds out about this. I have to tell her the truth, though.'

* * * * * * * *

(mansion-three days later)

For the first time since becoming somewhat of a "spy" to keep tabs on Zoisite's progress, Ruby disappeared from Beryl's throne room just as quickly as she had appeared there. All she had noticed was an irate expression on the witch queen's features, but neither Kunzite nor Zoisite were before her. 'Quite odd and I'm not entirely sure what to make of it but like I always say, the least amount of time I spend in that hellhole, the better.'

The cherry-haired youma rematerialized in the planetarium curtsying before Nephrite and giving the twins a light nod. "I know this is the soonest I have ever returned from Beryl's palace, but the fact of the matter is, there was no meeting. The only thing I have to report is for some reason she looked extremely livid, almost as if she were out for someone's blood."

"Ooooo," remarked Yukari with a slight touch of sarcasm. She chortled a bit. "I can hazard a guess as to why."

Miki smiled wryly. "Of course. I think all of us can, especially considering Zoisite took quite the beating from Tuxedo Kamen, on top of losing another nijizuishou, too." Her smile faded and was replaced by awe as she reminisced about that particular battle. 'Tuxedo Kamen continues to surprise me. Who would have thought he had it in him?' She held back a laugh as the image of Zoisite in his torn uniform appeared in her mind.

Ruby nodded. "Yes, Zoisite's failure definitely has something to do with it. Also, what I find interesting is that Zoisite had not even appeared, which is also bound to anger the witch queen. " Whilst making the last observation, it brought back to her mind the time when Beryl was furious with Nephrite for ignoring her summons. 'The difference is that in Master Nephrite's case, it was justified, since she intended to chew him to pieces for a mistake she made. She had only herself to blame, so Master Nephrite was under no obligation to listen to her ridiculous rants.'

"Interesting indeed." Nephrite's lips curled into a lopsided smile, as he too, was reminded of when Zoisite had a field day delivering to him the news of the witch queen's fury. "However, I have my doubts about whether he has the fortitude to face Beryl after such a humiliating defeat."

Ruby gave a huffy laugh. "Most certainly not…it remains to be seen." She then put on her serious expression. "All humor aside, though, the negative aspect is I am unsure of who the next nijizuishou target will be…." Her voice trailed off the minute it was beginning to sound worried. 'Use your head, girl! This is no time to become a wreck!'

Nephrite sensed his underling's apprehension, as much as she tried to conceal it. He gave her a reassuring smile whilst resting a hand on one of her shoulders, his touch matching his expression. "It's all right. I will take care of that."

The twins' ears jumped as the decision got their attention. "Huh?"

Ruby looked surprised for a moment, and then she began to beam. "Really?"

"Of course. You have been working extremely hard, and so a break is well deserved. Not to mention it would be a shame if I didn't put my abilities to better use when I made a vow to aid the senshi."

Ruby gave it some thought. While she had initially volunteered because she simply enjoyed being a spy when the occasion called for it, she knew she couldn't very well do her job with insufficient or no information. 'The only other option right now would be to go incognito to Zoisite's and Kunzite's lair, and there's no way in hell I'm going in that dark, dreary place. Plus, Master Nephrite does make a strong point about utilizing his abilities for a better cause. Besides, we're all in this together.' She nodded."You're right. Do your thing, Master Nephrite."

Nephrite chuckled a little, then got a serious expression as he became meditative. The trio of youma became silent out of reverence for the demonstration of power, merely wearing small, fond smiles as they were hit by nostalgia. It reminded them of old times, except this time the powers were not being used for a sinister purpose. 'Thank you, Naru-san, for showing us the light.'

"The stars see all, the stars know all," murmured the reformed shitennou. "I come to you asking for your guidance once again, this time in my quest to assist the senshi. Please, reveal to me the fourth nijizuishou carrier." A brownish coloured laser struck him in the center of his forehead. The stars complied to his wishes, generating an image of a chestnut-haired young woman who looked about his age. "Reika Nishimura. My sources tell me she is a college student."

The three henchwomen eyed the image of the young lady, mentally taking it in. "Azabu Technical College?" asked Ruby.

"Correct. I imagine you would want to deliver this message to Usagi-san as soon as possible."

"Yes sir." Ruby glanced at her watch. It read seven ten. She pressed her lips together, pondering what to do. She had thoughts about calling the blonde, but didn't want to disturb her preparations for school. 'Hmm…sending a text should suffice so at least she would know. Yes. That's what I'll do.' She reached into her jeans pocket for her cell phone and the moment she did, she heard it buzzing. 'Hmm?' Checking the message, her lips quirked up a bit when she saw it was from Usagi. It read: "Morning, Ruby! Just wanted you to know Sailor Moon and the other senshi were considering having that meeting at the mansion today, after school, if it is not a bad time?"

Ruby frowned in thought. As glad as she was to know her former enemies were opening up even more, she didn't want to say come on over only to realize it was a busy day for the star shitennou. 'Besides, I'm not at liberty to grant permission.' She texted back: "I will have to check with Master Nephrite and my cohorts, but it would be lovely to see those girls again, for it has been awhile. Also, the timing to hear from you is perfect. I was about to inform you that Reika Nishimura, a student at Azabu Technical College is the next victim who will be targeted for the nijizuishou. Please deliver the information to Sailor Moon when you speak with her today."

Usagi responded, "Okay, got it. Ask Nephrite if the senshi can come over. I'll wait."

Ruby texted back, "Hang on, I'll ask right now," and turned to the reformed general, whose eyes met hers. "Master Nephrite? I am currently conversing with Usagi-san, and she wanted to let you know to expect the senshi to come by the mansion this afternoon after school, if it's all right with you? Also, I informed her about the next nijizuishou target."

Nephrite gave a hint of a smile, pleased to know his efforts to make amends were fruitful, and also at the fact that Ruby was taking the task of keeping the senshi informed very seriously. "Yes. It's fine."

A tinge of delight and delight crossed the young woman's face. "She will be happy about it, I'm sure." She directed her attention back to the conversation, texting to the blonde, "The master says it's all right. Although he didn't say as much, I imagine it is a relief for him to finally hear from them."

There was a pause, which Ruby assumed was due to Usagi expressing her joy in some way, which in fact had happened. Several moments later, she received a reply from the blonde that read: "Yeah I know. So sorry about that. But awesome! I'm sure they'll sooooo be looking forward to it once I tell them. Well, I'd better go get ready for school now. It was great talking to you, though."

Ruby chuckled a little at the girl's enthusiasm, then wrote: "Likewise. Do let me know when the senshi are on the way. I will leave instructions for what to do once they arrive at the location. Until then, take care. I'll see you later." After hitting send, she slipped the phone back in her pocket before turning to face Nephrite and the twins. "Well, that settles it. We will finally have an opportunity to fully bury the hatchet with our former enemies." Despite the gratitude she often received for her efforts, she had yet to actually feel closure. 'After all, being granted forgiveness from Sailor Moon herself is a totally different matter altogether.'

"Yes, and while trust has yet to be earned, their willingness to communicate in a civil manner shows much promise," said Nephrite. A small smile formed on his lips as he thought about Sailor Moon and how forgiving she had been. 'It can be a blessing or a curse, but in this case, I'm grateful.'

"I had a feeling they would eventually, once they're granted sufficient time. I mean, after all the pain we caused them, it's only natural for them to be distrustful," spoke up Miki.

"That's true," agreed Yukari, looking thoughtful. Although having to tell herself the very same thing, it still didn't stop her from worrying at times. 'Now I know it was for naught, which is a relief.'

* * * * * * * *


Makoto sat by the large oak tree outside her classroom, looking dejected and dazed. She lazily opened her cloth lunch satchel, glanced at the food in her bento box and then closed it back up, deciding she didn't have an appetite that day. Placing her chin in both hands, she heaved a deep sigh. 'This really stinks…I haven't been this down since my old boyfriend dumped me, and that's how I feel, learning Motoki already has a girlfriend. Why it's bugging me so much, I don't know…but one thing's for certain. Anyone who messes with me isn't gonna like it.'

The brunette absentmindedly proceeded to hum to herself, doing her best to keep her voice low. 'The song is so true. I always have to remind myself that there is a rainbow about to appear on a dreary day.' This time, however, it did little for her gloominess. All of a sudden, she felt something nuzzling her hand. She nearly yanked it back but relaxed at the soothing touch before peering down to see it was Luna. "Oh, hey Luna," Makoto greeted, giving a half-hearted smile and reaching out a hand to pet the feline's head, at which she purred. Both of them appeared unaware of the approaching footsteps.

Usagi popped up from behind the tree with a bright smile plastered on her face, chirping, "Hi Mako-chan! Whatcha doin' here all by yourself?" Her smile faded when she received no response. She then gave her friend a funny look. "Why the long face? You look like you just got dumped or something."

Luna lowered her head and groaned at the blonde's lack of tact, whilst Makoto simply snapped, "Look, unless you've got something constructive to say, get lost!"

Usagi winced as if she were feeling physical pain, fighting the urge to make a remark like, "Well, somebody isn't a happy camper", as she didn't want to risk aggravating the brunette any further. Changing her tone to the usual compassionate one, she continued, "Seriously, though, what's up? Did something terrible happen? I only want to help."

"I know. I'm sorry. I don't know what's wrong with me today." Makoto sighed heavily as she ran a hand through her ponytail. She drew in a deep breath. "Well, you see, I went over to Motoki's place this morning and saw it was a total pigsty, so I cleaned it up for him. I felt like a housewife and I actually fantasized about being one to him…that is, until I found out he already has a girlfriend." She stated the last part glumly.

Usagi knew better than to say "You're kidding", although she was thinking it since Makoto's demeanor proved otherwise. She felt her mood taking a nosedive, then a tiny smile crept upon her lips as she considered the possibilities. "It must be me his eyes are on…although I never had the nerve to tell him how I felt, if our hearts are connected, I can take my time with it." She suppressed a delightful laugh, not wanting to risk making the brunette feel worse.

Luna groaned again, and Makoto put on a serious look, one she wore when she was about to give a reality check she knew her friends wouldn't be pleased to hear. "Actually, it's a girl named Reika," she stated plainly.

Usagi's eyes bulged out and her mouth hung wide open, devoid of words at first. When they came to her, she exploded, "Say what?! Tell me you're only joking!" She collapsed in the grass, clutching her chest as if she were dying of a heart attack and then pulled herself back up, heaving several deep breaths.

Makoto blinked at the blonde's dramatic display of surprise, clearly taken off guard by it. 'She does tend to wear her heart on her sleeve, so this is normal for her, I guess. What could this mean, though? Does she like him, too? But how—' A confused frown appeared on her features for a bit before her tone became sympathetic. "I wish I were. But tell me, Usagi-chan, why are you so upset? You have Tuxedo Kamen."

Usagi looked sheepish for a brief second and gulped, knowing she couldn't dispute the fact that she did indeed consider the caped hero to be the man of her dreams. 'There was a time I proudly admitted I was in love with two guys at once. Why am I embarrassed about it now?' She shrugged her shoulders, figuring it was the love that blossomed between Nephrite and Naru that put her infatuation to shame. "I know…but I love Motoki, tooooo!" Her last word came out as a wail, eliciting an eye roll from the feline guardian.

The brunette girl cringed slightly at the sound before giving Usagi a withering glance. "Okay, first of all, you'll have to make up your mind sooner rather than later. Secondly, sitting around moping or crying wouldn't do any good, especially when there's a slim chance for either of us." Much of her usual optimism had returned to her voice.

Usagi's eyes widened a bit and she gaped at Makoto. "Huh? What do you mean? And why the sudden change of tune when you were just as bummed out as I was when I first showed up?"

Makoto felt the corners of her lips twitching a bit as she thought of how the blonde would be peeved at her for not saying so sooner. 'It would be fun, though.' She stifled a giggle, then focused her gaze on Usagi, her eyes shining with a hint of cheerfulness. "Well," she began. "Motoki mentioned he and Reika may have to continue their relationship long distance because she received an opportunity to study abroad."

Usagi's eyes brightened ever so slightly. "Really? Did he say whether she would go for sure?"

"No, he didn't say too much on the subject, but if you ask me, it'll be crazy for her not to. Opportunities like that don't come by every day."

Usagi felt her lips curling into a small grin. "You have a point there." Then, just as the brunette anticipated, her face twisted into a deep frown. "Why didn't you let it be known before? Instead of putting me through that?!" It was all she could do not to give Makoto a dirty look as well.

Makoto appeared undaunted, instead playfully rolling her eyes at the blonde. "Don't bite my head off. I was going to, but you didn't give me a chance!"

Usagi let out a huff, obviously not buying the excuse. "Yeah. Sure you were," she retorted. Before Makoto could protest, her features softened a smidge as she continued, "Just kidding. I know you well enough to be able to tell whether you're lying or not, and your eyes say you're being honest with me. "

Makoto shot her friend a grin that was between relief and satisfaction. "Good. I would hate for there to be a misunderstanding over nothing. Anyway, for now, we wait and keep the faith."

Usagi nodded and clenched one of her fists to punch the palm of her hand. "Right!"

* * * * * * * *

return to Index / To be continued...

The Nephrite and Naru Treasury