Thoughts of Home: A Picture-Perfect Afternoon
by Sailor Doc
Authorís Note: This story is told from the perspective of Makoto, who on the night of her 4th anniversary, remembers back to the day her life began.
It had been a beautiful spring day. The cherry trees were all in bloom, and a gentle breeze blew across the path they were using as a short-cut across the park. They had been in no big rush really, having decided to stop for a cup of tea at the Crown before Makoto walked Ami home.
Makoto realized she had no idea what they had talked about at Rei's during the senshi meeting they had just left. All she could remember was the sparkling blue of Ami's eyes, the lilt of her laughter at some silly comment of Minako's, and the way her own heart had started to race when, unexpectedly, those self-same eyes had met her own. For a moment time had seemed to stand still, and then Ami had looked away, a light blush sweeping across her cheeks as she fiddled a bit with her pen.
Makoto had smiled. She couldn't help it!
For some time now they had both felt the attraction growing between them.† From the first time she had seen Ami there had been a pulling in her heart, her very soul, to the shy young genius. She hadn't truly recognized it for what it was back then, but still, she felt an awareness when she was around Ami that she felt in the presence of no one else. In counterpoint to those
feelings was the undeniable fact that when Ami wasn't around Makoto felt that something vital was missing...she just couldn't explain it.
She really couldn't remember when the longing looks had started either...but it was when they had that Makoto had started to feel that maybe her emotional upheaval wasn't all one-sided. That had been a relief!
They had always gravitated toward each other in any group, maneuvering around so they ended up next to each other. They never planned it, it just seemed to work out that way. Over time their friends had just expected it and at restaurants, concerts and parties a space was always made next to one of them for the other if she was running late, no questions asked.
Any excuse, or no excuse at all really was needed to touch each other. A hand on her shoulder, her waist, the small of her back, her cheek.
"An eyelash you say?"
"Cookie crumbs? Again?!?"
Makoto grinned. She had never baked so many cookies in her life as she had back then.
"Mako-chan! Where did all this cat hair come from?!"
Ami hadn't known it then, but Makoto would have gladly let Artemis sleep in her sweater drawer for the rest of his life if it would mean that Ami would attack her as enthusiastically with a lint brush every morning!
Makoto sighed. She was acutely aware of the young woman walking at her side. Neither of them had spoken a word since leaving the Hikawa shrine, but sometimes words just weren't necessary. They were clearly both deep in thought and Makoto was more than willing to bet Ami's thought's were more or less mirroring her own. Playtime was over. It was time to come clean about their relationship and either let it grow...or let it go. Makoto was ready to move forward with something they had never really talked about, but... for sometime now actions had been speaking louder than words. She
was ready...she just prayed to god Ami was...
Swallowing the huge lump in her throat, and wiping the sweat from her palms, Makoto opened her mouth to speak, but slammed it shut again as Ami placed a hand on her forearm and brought them both to a complete stop.
With a smile on her face, Ami held her forefinger up to her lips to indicate that Makoto should remain quiet, then turned to look off between the hedges to her right. Makoto complied and there, secluded beneath a cherry tree, complete with picnic basket and blanket, sat Haruka and Michiru. It was clear they had selected a secluded area of the park and
Haruka was holding Michiru in her arms as she leaned back against the tree. It was a peaceful scene and they appeared to be talking quietly to each other. Ami and Makoto smiled at each other, unconsciously reaching for each other's hands before turning back to watch the older girls again.† Haruka must have said something to make Michiru laugh. She smiled as she
turned to look back at her partner with a quick retort. Spellbound, they watched as Haruka returned her lover's smile and, leaning forward, kissed her lips.
Ami lowered her eyes, not wanting to be an intruder on such an intimate moment. Makoto had turned to Ami, enchanted by her shyly lowered eyes and gentle blush. Softly squeezing Ami's hand, Makoto turned the smaller girl to face her. With her free hand she reached forward, cupping Ami's chin, forcing her to raise her head and look at her. Gazing deeply into Ami's
beautiful blue eyes, Makoto had smiled at her, almost wistfully, silently asking for permission for what she was about to do. Then, leaning forward, her right hand moving to caress Ami's soft cheek, Makoto had closed her eyes and gently pressed her lips to Ami's. She was instantly thrilled by the softness of those achingly sweet lips and felt the beginnings of what she knew would be a life-long addiction. Answering some unknown and mysterious inner voice, they had both moved forward into each others arms, the kiss itself undisturbed and undeterred. The moment she had felt Ami respond to the kiss and move into her arms had changed her life forever.
A change she would never regret.
Her world, always a bit off-kilter since the death of her parents, had suddenly righted itself upon the foundation of this small, wonderful young woman in her arms. Time had no meaning as their lips had parted slightly to allow tongues permission to explore new territory, both of them lost in sensations they had never felt before.
A rogue breeze had somehow penetrated into the haze they had both fallen into, ruffling their hair and cooling slightly warm cheeks. Reluctantly breaking their kiss, yet still locked in their first embrace, they had looked into each other's eyes as if for the first time, and seen each other in a totally new light. With secret smiles, they had playfully leaned together, rubbing noses and giggling before Makoto had swiped another quick kiss from the more-than-willing Ami. Then, hand-in-hand they had continued their original trip toward the Crown...
Makoto smiled and gently stroked her lover's thick blue locks, more than content to lay there watching the steady rise and fall of her chest. Makoto's smile widened though as she remembered meeting up with Haruka and Michiru later that same day...
She had been standing just inside the entrance to the game room with Ami when suddenly a tall form had come up between them. Startled, Makoto had looked up to see Haruka standing there with her arms draped over both her and Ami's shoulders.
"So, my little kittens," she'd said in that distinctive drawl of hers.† "Did you two have a nice walk in the park this afternoon?" Eyes twinkling, she had looked up at Michiru, who had closed her eyes, and was laughing delicately into her hand, clearly amused by her lover's antics.
"Uh, yeah," Makoto had said, Haruka's attitude making her a bit hesitant to answer any questions she may have. Something was definitely up!
"Oh yes!" Ami had enthused, her eyes sparkling in delight. She had obviously not caught on to Haruka's vibe. "It was a beautiful afternoon, and the cherry blossoms were just lovely!"
"Yes, yes they were," Haruka said. "So, did anything special happen while you were there?" she prodded. "Anything you might want to," she shot a look at Michiru, "oh, I don't know, maybe talk to Michiru and me about?† Hum???"
The playful look on Haruka's face and Michiru's gentle laughter had been more than ample indication that they knew something. Both Ami and Makoto had blushed then, embarrassed that maybe the two outer senshi had caught them watching their quiet tryst. Makoto stood there, stunned as Ami stammered an apology to the older girls.
"We're terribly sorry! Please forgive our thoughtlessness! We had no intention of encroaching on your privacy in any way! We really had no idea you would be there and..."
"Whoa! Easy Ami, calm down!" Haruka pleaded with the obviously upset young woman. "It's all right! Really!" Looking up to the totally speechless Makoto, she had then cast a pleading eye for help to her kinder, gentler mate.
"Oy, oy Haruka... look what your teasing has done now."
Haruka had looked properly chastised, and eagerly made way as Michiru came forward to take one of each of Ami and Makoto's hands.
"Don't mind her, she really means well," the lovely green-haired woman said as she squeezed their hands, her eyes sparkling merrily. "And please don't feel bad about this afternoon! That's the very last thing we want you to do! Right Haruka?" she said, cutting her eyes over to the blonde.
"Eh? Oh! Yeah! Right! The very last thing!" Haruka agreed enthusiastically, nodded her head vigorously. "Cross my heart!"
Michiru had giggled at that, then turned back to the girls, trying to again wrestle a serious, calming look onto her face.
"It really doesn't bother us that you saw us cuddling beneath the cherry trees. I had been promising Haruka a chance to go bird hunting with the new telephoto lens I got her for her camera last Christmas and had decided to turn it into a picnic outing."
"Did you say 'outing', Michiru?" Haruka piped up, a huge grin on her face.
"Haruka!" Michiru had said, closing her eyes. To Makoto it had looked for all the world as if the lovely and usually serene violinist had been fighting for her composure, a smile twitching at the corner of her lips. "Hush!"
"Of course, my love!" Haruka had said as she stood nearby with her hands resting in the pockets of her slacks, her face the very picture of innocence. "Sorry..."
"Yes, I'm sure you are," Michiru had said as she returned her attention to the two younger girls.
"Please accept our apologies for any misunderstandings, and these as a token of our good will." she said as she handed a small photo envelope to Makoto.
"What is this?" Makoto had asked as she turned the envelope over in her hand and looked back at the older girls.
"Just a small selection of some of the photographs that Haruka took this afternoon," Michiru said with a smile.
Makoto opened the envelope, Ami moving closer to her to see the pictures as well. At the first shot their mouths had dropped open in shock!
"It seems that spring was most definitely in the air this afternoon, eh, my little kittens?" Haruka drawled, a lazy smile on her handsome face.
Inside were six beautifully framed shots of their very first kiss, the moment captured with an artist's touch and a romantic's heart. There was also a wonderful shot of them standing in each other's arms, forehead-to-forehead as they gazed into each other's eyes, smiles of joy on their faces, and another as they had started to walk away, hands clasped together, yet still shyly watching one another.
"We hope you don't mind," came Michiru's quiet voice. "We weren't trying to be mean-spirited or sneaky. You both just looked so lovely and so in love that we couldn't resist trying to capture the moment on film. Is it okay?" she asked, no small amount of concern in her voice. "Do you like them?" Her eyes beseeched them, Haruka chewing her lip near by.
With a large swallow, Ami and Makoto had looked at each other, quietly communicating their feelings to one another. Then, after looking back at the precious photos in Makoto's hand, Ami had moved forward, embracing first Michiru and then Haruka, leaving a light kiss to decorate the blush on the blonde's cheek.
Looking at the older couple in earnest, Makoto had informed them with watery eyes, yet steady voice, "this was our very first kiss." As Ami returned to her side and entwined their fingers together she had continued. "We will cherish these beautiful pictures all the days of our lives, knowing we will never be able to thank you enough for them! Thank you, so much!"
Michiru and Haruka stood there open-mouthed at the revelation they had just received. Then smiled at one another as they realized the magnitude of what they had caught on film.
"Really? Your first kiss?" Michiru had asked, clearly pleased. "Then we are doubly honored!"
Taking Haruka's hand she had said, "Let us be the first to congratulate you on your new relationship and to wish you all the very best in the journey that lies before you! Right Haruka?"
"Oh yes!" Haruka had readily agreed. "Does this mean I can bestow some congratulatory kisses?" she said, moving as if to start distribution plans, a sexy smile on her face.
"No!" came a trio of voices in unison, which resulted in laughter from them all...
Looking past Ami's sleeping form to their bedside table, Makoto could see the picture framed there in the dim light from the window. Caught for all time in love's first kiss, a flurry of cherry blossoms surrounding them, were her and the only woman she would ever love. Though it had been taken four years ago, the feelings invoked by that first kiss had never diminished. They had indeed grown stronger with each passing day, a fact that still astonished and delighted her.
Smiling tenderly, Makoto leaned forward as she ran her fingers through Ami's beautiful blue locks. Sleepy blue eyes opened and a smile graced the sweet face of her beloved as she gently spoke her name. "Makoto? Are you all right, love?" she asked reaching up with her hand to stroke her delicate fingers along Makoto's cheek.
Kissing Ami's cheek, she whispered softly, "Aishiteru, Ami-love... Aishiteru, my heart."