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FicR-SM-A Kiss for a Friend
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FicR-SM-A Kiss for a Friend
Title: A Kiss for a Friend

Title: A Kiss for a Friend

Username: amiwakawaiidesu

Fandom: Sailor Moon

Genre: romance


"Mamoru...oh my God!"


Crunching through the snow, Ami stumbled over half-buried rocks and churned-up twigs to the body of her friend. Incredibly, Mamoru had slid more than a hundred meters down the side of the hill, and now he was lying face-down and still.


"Oh God, oh God, oh God..." Ami mumbled, closing on the body--but even then a plan was forming in her head. She had studied first aid, and the cold logic of survival took over. Praying his neck wasn't broken, she moved his head enough to clear his airway, then rolled him all the way over to check if he was breathing. It didn't look like it, but it was hard to tell through his parka and she couldn't get his zipper open with her gloves on.


"Baka," she cursed herself, tearing off her gloves even as she called out for help: "Tasukete! Tasukete, kudasai!"


The cries, however, simply echoed through the gulch; the ski lodge couldn't be more than two or three kilometers away, yet it might as well be in Tokyo. There was no one to help her but herself.


"Just hang on, Mamoru..." she said, opening his coat; "I'm sure someone's looking for us..."


Damnably, however, Mamoru wasn't breathing--and Ami suddenly found herself bending over his face, pinching his nostrils but unable to act.


This is silly, she thought; I have to breathe for him! It's not like I'm kissing him...! But what would Usagi think? If Usagi saw me doing this, she'd never understand...


Shimatta! How did all this happen...?


* * *


Ironically, the sun had been shining in a bright blue sky two days earlier, glistening on the snow-capped mountains of Yamanashi. Ever the sport, Yuichirou had gotten lift passes for Rei and all her friends--then promptly twisted his ankle falling off the roof of the Hikawa Shrine. Thus, he was not on hand as Rei and her buddies took an excursion bus to the mountains.


"What an idiot," Rei said, looking out the window of the excursion bus. "What was he doing on the roof in the first place?"


"I thought he said something about fixing the roof tiles," Mamoru said, generously.


"Well," Usagi offered, pulling herself even closer to Mamoru, "I think it was very generous of Yuichirou to give his pass to Mamoru."


"And a good thing," Rei replied; "otherwise, we'd hear you whining all the way up there and back."


"Puh-leeze," Usagi said; "at least I have a boyfriend."


"Well I had him first."


"Oh, yeah? Well...nyah!" Usagi said, sticking out her tongue. Reflexively, Rei answered in kind.


"Girls, please," Mamoru said, noting the attention of strangers on the bus; "this is embarrassing!"


"Yeah," Minako said, looking up from the bag of potato chips she was stuffing her face with; "chill out already."


Makoto, meanwhile, sighed in her seat across the aisle, opposite Ami.


"Honestly," she said, "why do they always have to fight like this?"


"Oh, I wouldn't worry about it," Ami said, looking up from her book. "I'd worry when we stop fighting with each other."


Makoto shrugged, and smiled. "I guess."


"Anyway," Ami said ominously, looking out the window; "we have more important things to worry about..."


"What is it?" Makoto asked, leaning suddenly closer to Ami. "The Dark Kingdom? The Death Busters...?"


Ami smiled. "No, I was thinking about the weather. They say there's a chance that a storm could move in."


"Oh, is that all?"


"I just like to be prepared," Ami said, fishing in her pocket and bringing out a cell phone.


"What do you need that for?" Makoto asked--lowering her voice slightly to add; "you've already got a communicator to talk to Luna."


"Yes, but Luna's not going to teleport up here when Usagi falls off the mountain during a snowstorm."


"I heard that," Usagi said.


But Ami just smiled slightly, and returned to her reading.


And in fact it appeared that her fears were unfounded. Although the Kuroyama lodge was a little out of the way, in a valley ringed with mountains that must have been an avalanche hazard, the weather remained clear as the visitors checked in and ventured onto the slopes. Since they were planning to stay at the lodge for a couple of days, Ami decided to start slow and prudently on the safest run, but Usagi--prodded by taunts from the skillful Rei--managed to drag Mamoru and Makoto onto a much more difficult course.


"I swear, we'll never see them again," Ami told Minako--who was a lot more interested in flirting with boys around the ski lift.


"Oh, don't worry about them. They'll be fine."


Well, maybe I should lighten up, Ami thought to herself. Just because we're a hundred kilometers from the nearest city, in some godforsaken cleft in the mountains, doesn't mean we HAVE to have some kind of disaster...


Yet, sure enough, the weather began to turn as the afternoon wore on and Ami saw no sign of her friends. While other skiers headed in for cover, Ami and Minako defied the warnings of the ski patrol to go out looking for their friends. Finally--truly lost--Ami gave up and used her pocket computer to locate the missing party, which was wandering near a copse of trees, impaired by Usagi's one good ski.


"Holy cow!" Minako laughed, looking at the remains of Usagi's other ski, snapped clean in two; "how did you do that?"


"Believe me," Makoto said; "you don't want to know."


"Please, everybody," Ami said, raising her voice above the wind; "we have to go."


Progress was slowed, however, by Usagi on her one good ski. Finally, as a proper blizzard began to blow up, and the sun went down, Mamoru suggested he should just go ahead and carry his future wife.


"I don't think that's smart!" Rei said.


"Why not?" Mamoru asked.


"Well, you're not exactly an expert skier--you'd kill yourself trying to carry her!"


"Good point!"


"Here," Rei said to Usagi; "take one of my skis!"


"Rei, the binding's stuck!"


"Oh, geez," Makoto muttered.


"Hell," Rei said, finally taking command. "Mamoru, go with Ami and get help! We'll help meatballhead!"


"I heard that!" Usagi yelled.


"Why me?" Mamoru asked.


"Because you're biggest and strongest," Rei said, "and Ami's got the computer! Move it!"


Mamoru thought to protest, but he had to admit that Rei was in her element. For her part, Ami thought about using her phone, but finally figured it was better to wait. Certainly, the storm was brewing up, and soon--even with her computer and Mamoru's flashlight--she had to admit she was lost.


"Which way?" Mamoru yelled.






Ami felt foolish, and hesitated to respond.


"I don't know. I'm all turned around and lost my bearings!"


If Mamoru was scared, however, he didn't show it.


"We passed a shed a ways back! Let's go there and use your phone!"


"Good thinking! Good thing you're the king!"


* * *


As it happened, the structure they passed was more than just a shed; it appeared to be a small cottage for the use of workers away from the lodge. At the time it was empty, but there was power, a sofa and some chairs, and--most importantly--a phone with a land line to the lodge.


"Thank God," Mamoru said, dialing a number on the phone and reaching a startled worker at the other end of the line. He, in turn, transferred the call to the front desk, whose manager informed Mamoru that Rei's party was already safely back at the lodge, rescued by the ski patrol.


"Thank goodness," Mamoru replied. "So what about us?"


"You're lucky you got to cover," the manager replied, pausing to back away from the suddenly loud and intrusive Usagi. "Stay there, and we'll get you in the morning."


"But..." Mamoru said, glancing at Ami in the suddenly small confines of the building, "...I guess you're right."


Then, smiling incongruously, he hung up the phone.


"What's so funny?" Ami asked, patting her gloved hands against the sides of her parka.


"It's Usagi," Mamoru said. "I think she was trying to tell you to keep your hands off me."


Ami chuckled, despite herself.


"Mamoru," she finally said, a moment later, "I'm sorry."


"For what?"


"For getting us lost. I wasn't prepared."


"Oh, please," Mamoru said, surveying the facilities at hand; "you're too hard on yourself. We're alive, and we'll be fine."


For a long moment, Ami didn't know what to say, or what to do. She prided herself on being the support for her friends--friends who happened to be the reincarnated court of the royal houses of the Solar System. She didn't want glory, or even attention; she just wanted to be ready and helpful, whatever way she could.


But this is silly, she thought; you've got to help Mamoru in the current situation.


"It doesn't look like there's a cot or a bed," Mamoru noted. "Oh well--I guess it's the floor for me."


Ami didn't reply to that at first, but--after the pair had surveyed the facilities of the house, and helped themselves to a minimal snack from the kitchen--Ami felt unsatisfied with Mamoru's gallantry. There were blankets on the sofa--warm enough to keep out the chill in the air, combined with a parka--but it could not be comfortable at all on the floor or propped up on a chair.


"I think," Ami suggested, "we should both just sleep on the couch."


"No, I'll be fine."


"No, really. One of us could be at one end, and the other at the other end."


"No, I'll be fine. Besides, we've got lights and a little heat..."


At which point, the power went out.


"...and I've got a girlfriend who will kill me, if she finds out about this."


* * *


Somehow, despite the fact that the storm was still howling outside, and the cottage was soon freezing cold, Ami did not feel nearly as miserable as she thought she would, huddled under blankets and a parka. In the dark, she managed to engineer a barrier of blankets between herself and Mamoru, yet she could feel his warmth nearby, and could just make out his features as her eyes adapted to the dark.


"Ami," Mamoru said, "I've got a confession to make."


"Um, okay..."


"I didn't think this trip was a very good idea. But I let Usagi talk me into it."


Ami sighed relief. Although she hadn't thought of it, her mother would completely freak if she saw her there with a college student several years her senior.


"Well, I guess it's good to be in love," Ami offered.


Mamoru snorted.


"Don't get me wrong," he said; "I do love her. But sometimes, I don't know..."


Ami smiled.


"And I do owe her a lot," Mamoru continued; "until I met her, I had no idea who I was, or why I was born. I'm a better person, now that I know who I am."


"The future king of the world. Hard to imagine."




"Do you ever wonder, though," Ami asked, "what would have happened if you hadn't met Usagi?"


For a moment, Mamoru was lost for words.


"I don't know. Maybe I'd have met another girl."


"There's always Rei."


"Yes, there's always Rei."


"I have to admit," Ami ventured, "you and Rei do seem kind of similar; you're both leaders, smart and popular."


"You'd be surprised," Mamoru said, "how much it can wear on a guy, dating such an assertive girl."


Ami chuckled.


"What about you?" Mamoru asked. "There must be some kind of guy you'd be fond of."


In the dark, Ami was glad he couldn't see she was turning bright red.


"I don't know..." she said; "this is embarrassing...!"


"Well, it's not like you're a troll, Ami. I'm sure there's lots of guys--nice guys--who'd be proud to have you for a girlfriend."


The red on Ami's face intensified, spreading right down to her neck and shoulders.


"Speaking hypothetically, of course."


"Yes," Ami said, "well, speaking hypothetically--I picture someone smart and handsome, like a young Einstein. Someone with a lot of interests, with a big library."


"I've got a big library," Mamoru noted, and Ami nodded.


"I like men with big libraries."


Despite himself, Mamoru snort-giggled, and suddenly both of them were laughing.


"I'm sorry," he said; "I shouldn't be asking you personal questions."


For a long moment, warm and snug in the freezing cold room, Ami didn't know what to say.






"I think we all love you," she said; "the Senshi, I mean."


"Well, there are worse things in the world than working with six beautiful women."


Still blushing, Ami was confused for a moment, then remembered Chibi-Usa.


"What's that English expression?" Ami said. "The optimist believes this is the best of all worlds, and the pessimist fears he's right?"


"I didn't know you were that fluent in English."


"I...can...speak...English...very...well," Ami said, in English.


Mamoru chuckled, and sank down slightly in his end of the couch.


"Oyasumi nasai, Mizuno-kun."


"Oyasumi nasai, Chiba-san."


* * *


Cozy as they were, Ami and Mamoru were unaware that--even as the storm was dying down--snow was beginning to pile up around the cottage. And indeed, when they woke up early the next morning, they found the doors and windows completely blocked.


"The phone?" Ami suggested.


"The phone," Mamoru agreed, moving to try the line out of the cottage. It was, however, not functioning, and Ami's phone was likewise inert.


"Maybe it's all this snow," Mamoru said.


"Or maybe I didn't charge the battery enough."


"Well, there is a vent near the roof in the back. I'll try that."


"We could just wait," Ami suggested. "They've got to know we're here."


"I'll be careful," Mamoru said.


Men, Ami thought, dutifully following behind the future king to help out. Sure enough, there was a vent high up toward the back of the house, and it came loose with a few turns of a screwdriver. Although it was small, it was wide enough to let Mamoru squeeze outside.


"Wow," Mamoru said, finding himself on the sloping roof of an attached shed, up to his knees in snow; "it's like an avalanche hit us."


"Do you see anything?" Ami said, standing on a ladder to peer through the vent.


"It looks like we're next to a crevasse," Mamoru answered; "amazing we didn't fall into that."


"So, do you see anybody out there?"


"Wait a second; I'll move out a little farther..."


Whereupon, suddenly, Mamoru's boot caught a patch of ice on the edge of the roof, and he suddenly disappeared from Ami's view--together with half of the snow on that side of the building.




But Mamoru was already gone, bouncing and rolling down the side of the cleft in the rock. By the time Ami had squeezed herself out the vent, he was already long gone.


"Oh, God, Usagi will kill me," Ami muttered, gingerly picking her way off the rooftop, then crashing down the slope after Mamoru; "she'll kill me, she'll kill me, she'll kill me...!"


Thankfully, Mamoru's descent had not begun a general avalanche, and Ami finally found his lifeless body just a few minutes later. Panic seized her for a moment, but then she collected herself, rolled Mamoru over and called out for help.


Someone has to be there, she thought, even as she sank to the ground next to Mamoru, lowered her head next to his and pinched his nose. She paused...just a second...then lowered her mouth to his and breathed in twice. Then she felt for a pulse--which was there, but faint--and resumed the cycle of breathing.


Ichi, ni, san, breathe...ichi, ni, san, breathe...


Winded by her run, Ami knew she couldn't keep it up for long, but suddenly--as if she were being lifted out of a long, bad dream--she felt strong arms pulling her up and away, and only struggled for a moment before she realized they'd been found by the ski patrol.


"You all right, miss?" a gentleman asked.


"Oh, I'm fine," Ami said, woozily; "just...don't say anything to the rabbit."




"Usagi, the rabbit," Ami repeated. "Whatever...just help him."


* * *


Luckily, Mamoru was not gravely injured; he had a few fractured bones for his trouble, but the local hospital confirmed that his neurological functions were fine. Clearly, Ami's quick thinking had averted a disaster.


"Ami-chan..." Usagi said, standing with the other girls outside Mamoru's room; "I don't know how to thank you..."




"Arigato," Usagi said finally, embracing her old friend; "domo arigato!"


"You know," Makoto said, "that was really quick thinking there, that artificial--"


"Makoto!" Minako interrupted, "we promised not to mention that!"




"Uh...nothing," Makoto said, awkwardly wrapping a long arm around the back of her head.


"Ami-chan...?" Usagi said, suspiciously.


"Oh, for crying out loud," Rei said; "Usagi, thanks to your dumb luck, Ami was here to give Mamoru artificial respiration!"


"Oh, is that all," Usagi said, eliciting a surprised sigh of relief from the girls.


"What's artificial respiration?"


Ami smiled.


"It's absolutely not like a kiss," she said. "It's not like a kiss at all."




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