Understanding (Ami Mizuno and Makoto Kino)

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Understanding (Ami Mizuno and Makoto Kino)
Date of Cutscene: 07 February 2017
Location: The Mizuno Household
Synopsis: Ami and Makoto go to explain why Ami's been missing for two weeks. It goes about as bad as either of them expect.
Thanks to: Sakura Kinomoto
Cast of Characters: Ami Mizuno, Makoto Kino

Whenever Saeko Mizuno has lost track of her daughter, her friends have known where she was. Some parents might question Saeko's trust in her daughter's decisionmaking; they might question her trust that Ami's friends are being honest with her when they tell her where Ami is. Some parents might claim that Ami spending so much time away from home without asking permission requires firm and swift correction.

Saeko has always had other ideas on how to raise a child, partly born out of the necessity of her situation, and partly because of the maturity Ami has always shown.

This time, she has started to see the value of always knowing where your child is. Two weeks may not seem like a terribly long time, but for a parent even two days is an eternity. Two weeks has been a torturous hell of desperation, fear, crying, exhaustion, and harranguing poor policemen who also cannot find evidence of the missing girl.

Today, Ami has arrived home with a cat in her arms, and her best friend at her side. The police initally pressed for explanations, and for nearly thirty minutes Ami had to answer their questions that no, she wasn't abducted, no she wasn't in trouble, no there's no one to prosecute. Eventually, Saeko's trust in Ami won out enough to get the police to relent.

Now, it's only the three of them (four if you count the cat) still in the house.

Not that Ami got to keep the cat; since the moment she walked in the door Saeko abducted poor Luna to her lap, and has been petting the mooncat feverishly to work out her frustration on something other than her daughter.

With the police finally gone, and the door closed, Ami stettled in on the couch next to Makoto, eyeing her mother worriedly.

"I let them go without a full explanation because I can see it's troubling you," Saeko began quietly. "You've got some secret you don't want getting out. And I understand that, and Ami I trust you." She pursed her lips, then took a deep breath, "I want to trust you, anyways. But right now, I am finding it difficult. You've been gone two weeks, Ami. You're still in your school uniform, you look fed but exhausted ... I need to understand." Pause. "Help me understand."

Ami grimaced at the questions, and looked from her mother to the cat, from the cat to Makoto, then back to her mother, then--oddly--down to the cat again. "I have to tell her," she mumbled quietly.

Makoto met the glance Ami sent her way with a sympathetic look, a hand placed gently on her friend’s shoulder. She’d said little since she and Ami got here, mostly only speaking up when the police officers asked her direct questions; despite the intense awkwardness of the whole situation, she’s done her best to provide moral support.

“It’ll be okay,” she said now, softly. For a moment her eyes followed Ami’s, also looking toward the cat in Dr. Mizuno’s lap.

"Tell me what?" Saeko asked uncertainly, somehow sensing that this is a bigger conversation than she might have been expecting. Meanwhile, the cat in her lap managed to roll its eyes so thoroughly that it almost rolled its head. Saeko never noticed.

Ami frowned at the reaction from the cat, then sat back to look her mother in the eyes. "Where should I even begin?" she asked herself quietly, then shook her head. "I don't even know. I guess I'll answer the most immediate question first, but the answer won't make any sense to you without a lot more context ... which I'll give you afterwards."

She paused for a few moments to let her mother follow the setup, then explained, "For the past two weeks, I've been trapped in multidimensional subspace between this world and several others."

Which, to a physicist, might both make sense and sound incredibly improbable if not downright impossible. For Saeko, it just sounds fantastical. But Ami has never lied to her that she knows; even when it would have been to her benefit, her Ami has always told the truth. So why such a sudden and bold lie as this? It made almost as little sense as the possibility that Ami was telling the truth. Rather than arguing, Saeko motioned for Ami to continue with the promised context.

"Mamma," Ami explained, "Magic is real. It's real, and I'm blessed--or perhaps cursed--with some of the magic necessary to defend this universe." Pulling out the Mercury Pen, she showed it to her mother, palm up--not an offer, just a demonstration. "With this pen, I can transform into Sailor Mercury, Guardian of Intellect and Wisdom. I have the power, and thus the responsibility, to unravel and foil the plans of those who would harm you and others using my powers. And I'm not fighting alone; there are dozens of other magical girls and magical boys who I work with, some closer than others ... those who rely on me especially for what I am uniquely good at." Okay it's not quite unique, but the only equal she's ever found for her powers is actually an evil villain and her boyfriend. No need to explain that detail, just yet.

Saeko lets Ami's explanation settle in her mind for a moment before she frowns severely. Most of her thoughts screamed at her to disbelieve what must be a pack of horrific lies. But her heart still wanted to trust and believe her daughter, and so she held onto her anger and her fears a few moments longer. "Even if I believe you," Saeko replied quietly, "and I'm not sure I do ... how does this make anything better, Ami-chan?"

And that's a question Ami hadn't really considered how to answer. "I .." she started to say, then floundered in uncertainty. "I can prove it," she noted optimistically, but that isn't what her mother asked.

Makoto couldn't restrain herself from butting in. “Dr. Mizuno,” she said earnestly, leaning forward a little as she spoke, “the reason we didn’t tell you before is because, if you believed us, we were worried that you’d try to stop us. There are a lot of things out there that most people don’t know about. And – and even if they did, they couldn’t do anything about them, but we can.”

She paused for a moment to look over at Ami again, and the supportive hand that she’d kept on Ami’s shoulder squeezes gently before she turned her eyes back towards Ami’s mother. Mako is one who’s never been able to tell a lie, but this time maybe that would work in their favor. “Ami-chan’s saved a lot of people. There’s no telling what kind of mess we’d be in without her help.”

Ami smiled gratefully to Makoto, then looked back to her mother once again. She opened her mouth to speak, but it is instead Luna who finally chimed in.

"Actually, I can name several occasions where I'm quite sure your daughter was instrumental in saving the world," Luna explained, sitting up and looking to Saeko sincerely.

Saeko's eyes widened at the sudden talking cat in her lap, and she leaned back in surprise. "T...talking ..."

Ami grimaced and quickly explained, "Mom, meet Luna. She is Usagi-chan's cat, but also she's been our guide and mentor as we've come into our powers. Luna is actually several millenia old, and--yes--she can talk."

It only helped a little. Saeko swallowed hard, but Luna pressed on, "A year ago, an evil witch named Queen Beryl and her horrific sun demon attempted to destroy the world. Ami-chan was instrumental in getting everyone there, and with coming up with a plan to thwart Beryl's efforts. She was not the only girl who was irreplaceable on that trip, but her efforts were invaluable nonetheless. Without her, I don't think we could have won."

Ami blushed a little at the praise from Luna, but forced herself to ignore the embarrassment. "Mom, I didn't tell you because I didn't want you to worry," she explained. "Because I didn't want you to stop me from doing what I must do. And I'm sorry ... I should have told you. But all of this is so scary that if you told me to stop I don't know that I could tell you no. And I have to be able to tell you no, because I can't stop. I can't give up on the people who need me; the friends who need my help." Here she grabbed Makoto's hand and squeezed it for support.

"I'm sorry," Ami reiterated. "Please don't be mad."

It's a lot to take in, but in the face of a talking cat, how can Saeko argue? She starts to do so, but the words die on her lips. Instead, she just reaches up to pinch the bridge of her nose, then sighs out her frustrations. "You're right, I would tell you to stop," she said quietly. "I'd beg you not to go out and do something so dangerous; to focus on something more serious like your schoolwork and eventually following your dreams. This is ... a lot to take in," she noted. "And you are clearly exhausted. You've got school tomorrow, but missing one more day isn't going to make a difference. I am going to get some sleep. You should, too. And tomorrow, you can explain all of this to me in detail. Mako-chan, will you stay over as well?" It was mostly an invitation, and only partly a demand.

And what could Makoto do but meekly bow her head?

“Yes, ma’am,” she said, and only then did Mako dare to look up again, shamefaced. “I, um – I’m really, really sorry we haven’t been honest with you before now.” Ami’s not the only one who took support from their joined hands.