The Cruelty and Fairness of Fate
~ Chapter 13: Out in the Open, part 1 ~
Makoto awoke the next morning to the feeling of a warm body snuggled up against her back. Lips pressed gently against her shoulder as a hand lightly caressed her hip and thigh. Fingers trailed up along her side before an arm draped over her to hug her even closer.
Makoto turned so she was on her other side facing Ami. Ami’s hair was tousled, her eyes bright and happy, and her mouth was turned into the same sleepy grin she’d been wearing when she fell asleep. Makoto ran her fingers through Ami’s hair, brushing it back off her face. She grinned back at the girl, then leaned in closer and brushed her lips softly against Ami’s.
“Any regrets,” Makoto asked quietly when she pulled away.
“None,” said Ami with a shake of her head.
Ami reached out and pulled Makoto back to her. Their legs tangled together, Makoto’s toes tickling along Ami’s calf. Ami’s mouth found its way to Makoto’s collarbone and laid small kisses in a path to her neck as Makoto’s fingers drew obscure patterns on her back. Ami was just beginning to wonder if they had time for anything more involved when the alarm clock answered the question for her.
With a disappointed sigh, Makoto rolled over and shut off the alarm. She turned onto her back and Ami was there cuddling against her side before she had a chance to take a second breath. “Hey now, none of that,” said Makoto with a smile. She poked a finger into Ami’s ribs, which made the other jump. “I’d like to stay like this, too, but we have to get ready for school.”
Ami grinned. “I never thought someone would ever have to force me to get out of bed for school. Least of all you.” She rolled so she was on her stomach, her chin resting atop her hands on Makoto’s chest. “Mako-chan, are we going to tell them?”
Makoto chewed on her lip for a second as she thought. “Well, Rei already knows, more or less. Haruka does, too. It’s just a matter of telling everyone else. I think we should,” she said with a nod. “And the sooner the better, because there’s something I’ve realized in all of this.”
“That they’re our friends, and they’ll support us no matter what?” asked Ami.
Makoto blinked at her. “Well, there is all of that, I suppose. But I was thinking more along the lines that between the two of us, we can’t keep a secret worth a damn.” She reached around and ruffled Ami’s hair. “Come on. I’ll start breakfast while you take a shower.”
Makoto got out of bed and pulled on her nightshirt before Ami and her teasing eyes could stop her. She was halfway through her livingroom when the glare off the balcony made her stop.
“Hey, Ami,” she called to the girl, waving her over. “Come take a look at this.”
Ami, dressed only in a robe with a towel slung over her shoulder, went to stand beside Makoto. The world outside Makoto’s glass doors was covered in white, the newly risen sun reflecting off the stuff and making everything unusually bright. There was at least a foot of snow piled up on the balcony and just as much on the ground below.
Makoto put an arm around Ami’s shoulders. “Maybe they canceled school,” she said as she pulled Ami so her back was to the glass. “I can think of some much more interesting ways to spend my day than in a classroom.”
Makoto leaned in and nuzzled her lips just below Ami’s ear as her hand moved down and loosened the robe’s sash. Reaching inside the robe, Makoto’s fingers sketched light circles around Ami’s belly button. She could feel the muscles contract as the girl tried not to giggle or squirm away from the tickle of her finger tips. Finally, she rested her hand flat against Ami’s stomach.
“I wish my belly was still this flat,” said Makoto as her hand gently stroked the soft skin.
Ami smiled and brought a hand up to cup Makoto’s cheek. “I don’t know,” she said in a slightly teasing tone. She let her hand fall to the curve of Makoto’s stomach. With a finger, she traced along the diameter and then up to the ample swell of Makoto’s breasts. “I kind of like you all rounded like this.”
Makoto’s laugh wound up a hiss as Ami’s fingers found her nipple through the fabric of her nightshirt. “Maybe… Maybe we should check the news and see if there’s been any cancellations.”
“Good idea,” agreed Ami.
Before either girl could let go of the other, a loud thwack sounded as a snowball landed against the glass door.
Makoto smirked. “I know where that came from, those nosey little devils,” she said as she pulled away from Ami and went over to the closet. Pulling out her boots and jacket, she continued, “That one had to come from Aki. Ruri’s arm isn’t that good.”
Once her boots and jacket were on, Makoto opened the balcony door and stepped out, ignoring the looks Ami shot her for not putting on a pair of pants first. Her eyes scanned the balcony that sat near the corner where the two outer walls met, searching for the twin girls. After a second, her eyes spotted identical hot pink tassels peeking up over an upturned bench.
“I wonder where that snowball came from,” she said loudly with exaggerated curiosity. “Hey, Ami, any ideas?” she called through the open door.
The question was greeted by a pair of giggles. Two little heads popped up, both identical from the braids in their hair to the daisy pulls on their boot zippers. Not for the first time, Makoto wished their mother would dress them differently so she would have some way to tell them apart. Some way other than Aki’s pitching arm, anyway.
“Hi, Mako-chan,” called the twin on the right. “We’re building a fort. Mom said we could.”
“Do you and Ami wanna come play with us?” asked the twin on the left.
Before Makoto could find a polite way to say she and Ami were having a better time playing by themselves, the door behind the twins opened. “Good morning, Kino-san,” said their mother. “I hope these two weren’t bothering you this early in the morning.”
Aki and Ruri looked insulted at that. As if snowball fights and fort building weren’t the most important things in the day, especially when it was the first snow of the season.
“They’re never a bother, Matsumoto-san,” answered Makoto politely. “Actually, we were all hoping we’d have the day off so we could enjoy the snow.”
The older woman smiled. “No cancellations in this district, I’m afraid. All you’re going to get is a two hour delay while they clear off the roads.”
“That’s better than nothing,” replied Makoto. She scooped up a small handful of snow and formed it into a ball. “Isn’t that right, Aki?”
The twin on the left grinned hugely and scooped up her own snowball. Ruri squealed excitedly and ducked back behind the bench, out of the line of fire. Their mother, smart woman that she was, moved back inside and quickly closed the door. On her side of the complex, Ami followed suit and left Makoto to her own devices as the brunette engaged in a brief snowball war with a six-year-old.
When Makoto came in a short time later, the livingroom was empty. “Ami,” she called as she unzipped her jacket and pulled off her boots. Both landed in a wet pile by the doors.
“In the kitchen,” answered Ami. “I’ll be out in a minute.”
True to her word, Ami returned to the livingroom and took a seat on the couch beside Makoto. She handed her one of the hot mugs of tea she was carrying.
“Thanks,” said Makoto as she took the mug between both of her hands. “It’s cold out there.”
“I told you to put on pants,” said Ami.
“That wouldn’t have saved me from Aki’s snowballs,” returned Makoto. “We have a two hour delay, by the way.”
Ami grinned, then set her mug down on the coffee table. She pulled her legs up under her and leaned against Makoto’s side, laying her head on the taller girl’s shoulder and ignoring the chill that came off her body from being outside. “Mako-chan,” she said as she twirled a damp strand of Makoto’s hair around her finger, “I’d like to ask a favor.”
Makoto smiled around her mug. She took a slow sip of the hot liquid, then set it on the end table beside her. She moved her arm behind Ami and settled it around her shoulders. “What’s that?” she asked.
“Before we tell the others, I’d like to speak with Rei privately,” answered Ami. “After everything I’ve made her listen to, she deserves that much.”
Makoto nodded as she thought about just how much Rei had listened to. Through a small laugh that left Ami looking confused, Makoto agreed and said she thought it was a good idea. Then, “What about your mother?”
“I don’t know,” answered Ami honestly. “I’ve considered how I would tell her, but this was all so terribly sudden. I wasn’t expecting to have to say anything to her on the matter for quite some time, not to mention this isn’t something I’m terribly comfortable having to discuss with her at all.”
Makoto’s fingers came up and stroked Ami’s cheek. “We’ve got time,” she said gently. “Think about how you want to handle it, and we’ll do whatever you want.”
“Thank you,” said Ami as her arms wrapped loosely around Makoto.
Pulling her closer, Makoto kissed the top of Ami’s head. “Come on,” she said. “We need to get ready for school. And since I’m already wet and freezing, I get the shower first.” Then she grinned. “You could always join me. In the interest of conserving time and water, of course.”
Ami smiled. “Of course. What a good idea, Mako-chan.”
Makoto smiled back the whole time as Ami pulled her into the bathroom, then helped her out of her cold clothes and into a warm shower. Yeah, she thought, there were lots of better ways to spend the morning than in a classroom.
* * *
A few hours later, fed, dressed, and bundled against the cold, Ami and Makoto headed out to meet the others.
They spotted Rei and Minako in the usual spot. Just as Makoto raised her hand to wave, Usagi came running up behind them… And then went sliding right passed them as her feet hit a patch of ice and lost what little traction they had. Arms pinwheeling, she let out a warning scream right before crashing into Minako. Both girls went down in a tangle of arms and legs.
A chaotic struggle ensued as the two on the ground tripped over each other trying to find purchase to pull themselves up while the three left standing tried to help them. Rei was the first to find a free hand. She took it and gave a tug, pulling Usagi forward out of the mess and onto her knees.
Usagi looked up at her savior with a slightly pained expression on her face. “Thanks, Rei,” she said as one hand rubbed the sore spot on her hip before Rei took that one as well and pulled Usagi to her feet.
Makoto reached out a hand to Minako. “You okay?” she asked.
The blonde was holding her shoulder and through a grimace answered, “Yeah. I’ll live.” She reached for the hand Makoto offered. When their hands touched, and Minako really registered who was helping her, an amused leer began to form on her lips. With more than a little suggestiveness, she asked Makoto. “And how are you this morning?”
“Um… I’m fine,” answered Makoto hesitantly, a blush forming across her cheeks. Out of the corner of her eye, she noticed Usagi trying to hide a giggle as Rei rolled her eyes.
Once Minako was on her feet, that insufferable ‘I know something’ grin still on her face, Rei walked over to her, dragging Usagi with her. Rei put a hand on Minako’s back and forced her to start walking.
“Let’s go,” said Rei as she led the two blondes forward. “They gave us a two hour head start, so we won’t have any excuses for being late.”
They’d only gone a few steps when Rei’s charges broke away from her and hung back to walk beside Ami and Makoto. Usagi walked beside Makoto and smiled up at the taller girl when Makoto looked down at her suspiciously. Minako had taken up residence beside Ami. She spent several minutes stealing sideways glances at the girl until she was certain Ami knew she was being observed. Then Usagi and Minako looked at each other, smiled conspiratorially, and nodded once in agreement.
Minako leaned in close to Ami’s ear and whispered so only she could hear, “Hey, Ami. You’re walking funny.”
Ami stopped dead, her eyes going wide and her cheeks instantly flaming red.
“What’s the matter?” asked Makoto when Ami refused to budge from where she stood.
Ami’s head was down, her eyes staring at her shoes so she wouldn’t have to look anyone in the eye. Her response to Makoto’s question was a swift shake of her head and a small sound that would have been ‘no’ if she’d spoken a little louder.
“All right,” said Rei, putting her hands on her hips and looking sternly at Minako and Usagi. “What did you two do to her?”
“We were just teasing a little,” answered Minako in their defense. “It’s only fair after all the stuff we had to listen to after they caught us together.”
A smirk formed on Makoto’s face. “You know.”
Three heads nodded.
“Not worth a damn,” mumbled Makoto to herself with a chuckle.
Then Rei said, “You were looking pretty primed last night. And after what we talked about, I thought you might take a chance. But I was gonna come after you if you didn’t,” she added with a grin.
“And Luna stopped by to check on you last night,” said Usagi. Then, when Ami’s eyes slammed shut and her face got even redder, she quickly added, “But you two were asleep. She didn’t see anything.”
“That’s just so totally unfair,” complained Minako, a great deal of humor behind her words. “When you guys walked in on us, I was 60 seconds away from what would have been the best orgasm of my life, and that completely ruined it. Luna could have at least caught you guys kissing or something.”
“Okay, that’s enough,” said Rei. A devilish smile appeared on her features. “If you keep talking like that, Ami’s head is going to explode. Mako-chan, take care of your girlfriend. Everyone else, leave the poor, little popped cherry alone and get moving,” ordered Rei. She turned and started walking away. “Let’s go, because if I’m late I’m going to have an irritated nun on my case. And there is nothing in this world worse than an irritated nun.”
Usagi flashed a thousand watt smile at Makoto, then, after the other girl had returned it with a smile of her own, started running after Rei.
Ami stood where she was, still refusing to either move or open her eyes.
Minako put a hand on her friend’s shoulder. “I was just playing around, Ami,” she said apologetically. “I thought it would be easier on you guys if we didn’t take things too seriously. I’m sorry if I embarrassed you.”
Makoto moved closer to Ami’s side so Ami could feel she was beside her. “Ami?”
Ami moved her head a bit and slowly opened one eye. Makoto smiled at her and Ami opened her other eye and returned the smile shyly. Then she turned to Minako, the smile turning to a look of worry.
“Forgive me?” asked Minako.
Very quietly, Ami answered, “I’m not upset with you, Minako. But,” she licked her lips nervously, “can you really tell?”
Minako had to bite her lip to keep from laughing. “Honest, Ami,” she managed to get out with a straight face, “it was only a joke. No one’s going to know anything unless you tell them.”
Minako put her hand over her heart. “I swear.” She grabbed Ami’s arm and started pulling her forward, Makoto following beside them. “Now, you guys have to tell me everything. I can’t wait to hear about this. Pregnant sex. Ha!”
* * *
Seki sat in his car, a fair distance away from the street corner the girls always stopped at. It was too damn cold to be out here today, and the school delays weren’t making things any easier. But he had a job to do, and he was going to do it so he could get on a plane and go back home.
Spotting the girls, he took a quick drag off his cigarette, then lifted his camera. The group dynamics were a bit different today than they had been the other times he’d followed them here. The blonde with the ponytails -- for the life of him, he couldn’t remember her name -- was hanging onto Rei. Minako was pulling on the doctor’s daughter and the pregnant one.
Seki adjusted his lens and took a few shots. The new camera worked like a dream, the telephoto lens making it possible for him to stay far enough back that they wouldn’t see him.
When they finally stopped, the situation he was used to presented itself. Rei and Minako moved away from the others to say goodbye to each other. Not that Seki could really hear them. Over the last few months, he was sorry that he couldn’t, because the way they were saying goodbye was becoming more and more open.
Today, Minako had her arms around Rei’s neck. Rei’s hands were resting on the blonde’s waist as they stood in the middle of the sidewalk and engaged in a rather intimate kiss.
The cute, blue haired one, Ami, looked more embarrassed by it than usual. More like she had when the two lovebirds first came out. Seki could relate. He’d nearly swallowed his tongue the first time he saw them kissing. At least back then they’d had the decency to be discrete about how affectionate they were in public. Now it was a free show for anyone walking by.
A few rapid shutter clicks and Seki had all he needed for this trip. He packed up his gear and waited for the girls to leave. Once they were far enough out of sight, he started the car and headed back to the hotel. If he was lucky, the airport would be clear and his plane would take off on schedule.