At Your Own Pace

Ami's come to Mako's place bearing ingredients for a sleepover. Also bearing uncertainty over a present from Takashi.

Date: 2017-03-24
Pose Count: 16
Ami Mizuno 2017-03-24 17:54:27 74057
It's Friday night. School is finally out--the last day of school, except for those who attend the half day on Saturday. It's a good night for sleepovers, and with a brief text, Ami has arranged for exactly that.

It's supper time when she shows up at Makoto's door, with a backpack full of clothes, a book in one hand (something about reincarnation?), and a trio of grocery bags in the other. Therein are contained the ingredients for hamburgers, and cherry pie.

When Makoto opens the door, Ami looks up over the rim of her reading glasses, then smiles and leans forward immediately into a hug. "Hi," she says. "I did some shopping on the way here." And thus the bags are offered.
Makoto Kino 2017-03-24 18:06:47 74058
The hug is a certainty, as soon as Makoto has opened the door to Ami standing there. "Hi," she replies with a bright, warm smile, before she steps back and takes the bags that are held out to her. A quick look inside draws a pleased laugh. "Awesome, we're all set for dinner, then. Come in and make yourself comfortable!"

With these words she carries the bags off to the kitchenette, clearing the way for Ami to come the rest of the way in and make herself appropriately at home.
Ami Mizuno 2017-03-24 18:15:43 74059
Ami toes out of her shoes, leaving them at the door, then follows Makoto in the rest of the way. Her eyes drift back to the book, but she manages conversation anyways, "Well, I figured it'd be rude to show up without bringing you something, and I was just going to get the stuff for pie, but then I realised I was hungry so I thought: food never goes to waste at Makoto's house, and bought food for dinner."

A shrug, then she smiles briefly at Makoto before turning the page in her book. "So you're a high schooler, now," Ami points out with a grin. "Think you'll manage to find a uniform in your size?"
Makoto Kino 2017-03-24 18:22:20 74060
"I sure hope so," Mako says, rolling her eyes with wry amusement as she sets the bags down and begins unloading and arranging ingredients on the countertop with brisk efficiency. "It would suck to make it into high school and still look like a transfer student. Although really, passing the entrance exams is enough of a miracle that even if I still can't get a uniform in my size, I probably shouldn't complain."
Ami Mizuno 2017-03-24 18:28:26 74061
Ami looks up over her book at Makoto, then smiles. "Of course you passed," she says quietly. "You're a lot smarter than you give yourself credit for." And at last she folds it closed around her thumb. "Honestly, I don't know why any of you were worried about passing."

Except maybe Usagi, but Ami doesn't verbalize that thought.

Dropping her backpack beside the counter, Ami kneels down beside it. A bookmark goes in her book, which then gets lost in the bag. She shifts a few thigns aside to hunt for something else.
"So ..." Ami starts to say, as she pulls out a box. "I need your advice." She sets the box down on the counter, then takes a deep breath. "And I probably owe you an apology, as well."
Makoto Kino 2017-03-24 18:30:45 74062
this is unexpected enough that Makoto pauses in the midst of what she's doing and turns to face Ami fully, head tilting to the side in visible confusion. "What do you mean?" she asks, and then immediately catches herself and shakes her head. "--or, never mind that, what do you need advice about?"

Cooking can wait a little while, a friend asking for help is more important.
Ami Mizuno 2017-03-24 18:40:31 74063
For a moment, Ami looks decidedly uncomfortable, shifting her eyes away from Makoto to the box. "He left this box with my mother," she explains, "at the very, very end of White Day. I couldn't detect any dark energy, but I'm not even sure if I should open it. The last time he and I talked, he was angrier than I've seen him, and he stormed out and slammed the door and violently injured the doorman at our apartments. And then ..." she trails off, then motions to the box.

"I didn't expect him to give me anything," Ami explains. "Not after the way things went when we broke up. Should I just ... throw it away?"
Makoto Kino 2017-03-24 19:10:13 74064
Makoto is quiet for a while, eyeing the box dubiously and with complicated feelings. "...I don't know," she says at last, reluctantly. "That might be something only you can decide."

Leaving behind the dinner preparations for the moment, she crosses the very small space to confront the box up close, placing both hands on the counter and looking warily down at it like she thinks it might explode. "Maybe he's regretting how he acted," she says. "Or maybe he just felt like since you gave him chocolate for Valentine's, he had to do something in return. Either way... it doesn't mean that you owe him anything."
Ami Mizuno 2017-03-24 19:22:04 74065
Ami gives Makoto a dubious look at the idea of Takashi and regret being used in the same sentence without 'never' in between. "I was thinking he felt obligated," she admits as she looks back to the box, "except in typical Takashi fashion, he can't just buy a box at the store; he has to make it himself to appease his own ego."

From anyone else, those words might be harsh. Accurate, but harsh. Ami, however, magnages to make it sound critical but not judgemental; as if she's simply observing the sky is blue.

"Anyways, that is why the apology," Ami says, leaving the box alone for the moment. "You were right. I'm not ready to date him, yet. Not when there's so much else going on in our lives."
Makoto Kino 2017-03-24 19:26:16 74066
For some reason Makoto looks suddenly uncomfortable. She takes a half-step back from the box herself, and leaves off giving it the stink-eye to look away across her kitchenette instead, feeling vaguely guilty.

"I'm sorry it ended up like this, Ami-chan," she says softly, daring to glance back toward her friend without quite turning her face that direction. "I would rather have been wrong, if it meant you were happy."
Ami Mizuno 2017-03-24 19:38:48 74067
A faint worry creases Ami's brow, as her friend shies away uncomfortably. "It's not your fault," she emphasizes quietly. "You tried to protect me, and nothing you did made this any worse or better. You were right," she reiterates to Makoto quietly. "I wasn't ready for this relationship. I have so many of my own issues I still need to work out, and I tried to put them all aside for him. I took most of the term off for him!"

Ami sighs and leans forward on the counter, both elbows down. "You were right, and I was just being foolish and arrogant to ignore your advice. I'm sorry, Mako-chan. I just ... I thought I could make a difference. I thought I could save him."
Makoto Kino 2017-03-24 19:46:07 74068
"Ami-chan." Without any further reservation, Makoto moves to Ami's side, reaching to wrap her arms around the smaller girl. "I don't ever remember you being arrogant. And if you were foolish, it was because you were trying to help someone who really needs help. I don't think you're wrong about that part - he needs to be saved, and you might be the best person to help him. Just... not that way. Not by trying to be the girlfriend he wants when neither of you are ready for that yet."
Ami Mizuno 2017-03-24 19:54:22 74069
Ami sighs and leans into that hug. She closes her eyes and puts her forehead on Makoto's chest, and just dwells there, for a moment. "I'm not sure I'll ever be ready," she admits quietly. "Everything's all screwed up in my head about what being a girlfriend is, and how it should work, and how I should feel. And even when I know what the answer is, I can't always bring myself to do the things I know should be normal. And I just ... don't need that.

"It's hard enough trying to just make it through school and be a good friend," Ami mumbles. "Let alone having to be Sailor Mercury at the same time. I wish I knew how you find the time to be a good girlfriend, and do all the cooking you do. All I seem to do is wind up pulled into little piececs, none of which is enough of me to solve the problem at hand."

A sigh escapes the bluenette, before she admits, "I don't think he wants to be saved, anyways. And his associates all seem to hate me for trying. He needs help," she agrees, "but if he doesn't want it, I can't force it on him."
Makoto Kino 2017-03-24 20:32:54 74070
Almost automatically, Mako lifts a hand to smooth lightly over Ami's hair. "You're so hard on yourself," she says in a gentle voice. "It's not being fair to yourself to compare me and Neph to things between you and Agera when the situations are so different.

"Anyway," Mako adds, "there's nothing wrong with not being ready or taking your time to figure out how you feel about things and what you want. And there's nothing wrong with realizing that what you've been trying to do isn't working. We can keep looking for a way to save Agera, together. You don't have to pull yourself to pieces all on your own."
Ami Mizuno 2017-03-24 20:49:54 74071
Ami smiles, just a little, and reaches out to hug Makoto in return. "Someone has to be hard on me," she suggests quietly. "My mother isn't. None of you are. That means I have to be." She shrugs, just a little, then gently disentangles herself from Makoto's embrace.

"Don't worry, I'm not mad at myself for not being ready. I just wish I'd realised it sooner," Ami explains quietly. "It isn't fair to him that things ended this way. But it also wouldn't be fair to me to keep pretending I'm mentally healthy about this, when I'm not. I'll get there," Ami promises quietly. "I hope."

Then she clears her throat and looks past Makoto towards the kitchen. "So ... how can I help with dinner? Or should I just stay out of the way?"
Makoto Kino 2017-03-24 21:01:03 74072
"You'll definitely get there," Makoto says, and there is no trace of doubt to shadow her certainty. "It just might take a while, that's all. You have to go at your own pace."

And then Ami clears her throat and changes the subject, and Mako accepts the change with a bright, if lopsided, smile. "You can help, sure! Want to get in the fridge and get out whatever you'd like to put on your burgers? And then if you want, you could measure out the ingredients for the pie..."