Author:Lex "Spork" Tenou
Warning/Disclaimers:Mild spoilers
Kino Makoto knocked on the front door, her banging reverberating through the house.

"Hold on!"

Makoto shifted on her feet as she waited for the door to be opened. The tall brunette had her hair pulled back in her customary ponytail, her bangs growing over her forehead. She blew upward, her bangs rising and falling back onto her slightly sweaty forehead.

Makoto crossed her arms over her ample chest as the door being answered took longer than she was happy with. Her foot tapped impatiently on the step. How long did it take that infernal blonde to get to the door, anyway?

Makoto sighed once more. Her shoulder rolled under her loose fitting sweater, stretching out the muscles in her tense upper back.

"Makoto-san? Please, come in."

Tenou Haruka pulled the door widely open, gesturing for the hostile woman on her porch to enter.

"Thank you." As angered as she was, Makoto refused to forget her manners. She removed her shoes and stepped up into the hallway.

"Would you care for some tea?"


Haruka nodded and led Makoto to an airy room with a low couch. Haruka bowed slightly and went off to the kitchen to retrieve the tea. Makoto sat herself on the couch and took the opportunity to look around the room.

Small knick knacks dotted the shelves of a tall glass cabinet that stood in one corner. It appeared, from Makoto's low position, that at least one of the small sculptures in the cabinet had to be a crystal piano. Another looked suspiciously like a car.

A tasteful tapestry hung on one wall, the bottom covered by a squat cabinet. If she were to stand next to it, Makoto guessed it wouldn't come any higher than her knee. The flat top looked as though it would make a decent seat if it needed to be pressed into service, though it would be a tragedy for anyone to sit on such beautifully finished wood.

"It is good to see you, Makoto-san. Would you care for anything with your tea?"

Makoto turned her attention to the taller woman and shook her head.

"No...just tea will do nicely, thank you."

Haruka sat herself onto the couch, setting the tea service on the low table before them. She set out two cups and poured the tea into them. Bypassing the sugar and cream, Haruka handed the cup and saucer to Makoto.

"Thank you."

Haruka smiled slightly and took her own cup.

"You're welcome."

Makoto leaned back against the couch and sipped the tea lightly. The blend was robust and flavorful, bursting across her tongue in a pleasant fashion.

Makoto idly wondered when Haruka had the opportunity to learn how she took her tea, much less which kinds she enjoyed.

"How is your life treating you?"

Makoto tilted her head slightly and smiled. Her eye were narrowed and suspicious.

"I haven't much of anything to complain about. I have been treated well by fate, I suppose. And yourself?"

Haruka smiled slightly.

"My wife, friend and our daughter decided to leave me to my races today. They'll return in a few hours to drown me in evidence of money well spent. And now I'm here with a woman I one day hope to call friend."

Makoto started slightly, her cup clattering against her saucer. Shaking slightly, Makoto placed the tea onto the table and clenched her fists.

"After how you treated me...though I guess I can understand..."

Makoto stood abruptly.

"I should go."

Haruka set her cup down and rose, frowning.

"Hit me."

Makoto stared at Haruka.

"Excuse me?"

Haruka smiled and looked down at her feet for a moment. Taking a breath, she raised her head to gaze steadily at the woman before her.

"Words won't work for what's wrong between us. I cannot excuse what I did, nor do I wish to. You know why I did it." Makoto nodded sharply. "I'm sorry we couldn't tell you who we were. At that time, we couldn't trust anyone other than ourselves."

Makoto looked down to the side. The teacup she had set down was still steaming slightly, the tendrils curling towards the ceiling.

"I understand."

"You might understand...but you're still angry. So hit me. Like you did before. Congratulations on that, by the way."

Makoto's head snapped up, her anger sparked. How dare she...

Makoto's fist shot directly from her shoulder. She hadn't realized that she had cocked it. As it launched, she changed her angle slightly.

A solid and meaty thump sounded in the small room as Haruka staggered backwards slightly from the impact on her shoulder. Shaking her head, Haruka smiled widely and stood upright once more.

"Feel better now?"

Makoto frowned.

"Actually, I do."

Makoto sat back down, smiling widely. She spotted Haruka's wince as she rolled her shoulder. Makoto didn't bother supressing the self satisfied smirk.

"Now that we've gotten that out of the way...I meant what I said. It's rare for me to find someone who is concientious a fighter as you have proven yourself to be, time and time again. You are an invaluable asset and a better friend."

Makoto flushed slightly and picked up her tea. Sipping at the warm brew, she averted her gaze from the woman next to her.

"Thank you."

"You are more than welcome. It is all justly deserved."

Makoto blew her bangs from her forehead with a sigh.

"I actually intended to talk to you about something else."

Haruka nodded and sipped from her own tea cup.

"Do you have many...problems...being who you are?"

Haruka stared at the table for a moment before answering, her voice low and thoughtful.

"I've never had any illusions about who I am, in terms of my gender or my sexual orientation. It's caused me few problems, but that may just be because of what my name is as opposed to who I am as an individual."

Makoto nodded, not daring to look at any part of her friend.

"You mentioned your...orientation. You've always known?"

Haruka smiled.

"Ever since I discovered that girls were supposed to like boys. Never understood the fuss, but tried to go along with it anyway. Even tried wearing my hair long for a while."

Makoto stared at Haruka, her incredulity clear.

Haruka shrugged.

"What can I say? I was about five and being inundated with stories about Prince Charming and his white horse." Haruka shuddered. "If I ever mention that again, shoot me. I do not need to think about Helios."

Makoto laughed slightly.

"Very well."

"Anyway...It didn't take me long at all to figure out that the boys who liked me were even queerer than I was, and that I wanted the princess more than I wanted to be saved by the prince."

Makoto nodded and stared at the rug. Haruka waited patiently.

"How old were you when you had your first crush?"

"My actual first crush...hmmm...probably about five or six. I seem to recall a cute girl I really wanted to play house with."

Makoto laughed. Haruka grinned at her friend, noting that the nervous lines around her eyes seemed to lessen slightly.

"As I got older, I got used to girls using me as a safe date, or a safe crush. Since I was a girl, it wasn't as bad, but I was enough like a boy that they could practice."

Makoto nodded.

"And when you reached puberty?"

"Let's just say I immediately started thanking the gods that my family has small breasts."

Makoto laughed and shook her head.

"You know what I'm thinking about, don't you?"

Haruka smiled, tilting her head to the side.

"I might, but you still have to say it so we know what we're talking about."

Makoto sighed heavily.

"I think I'm in love with a woman."

Haruka nodded.

"How long?"

Makoto laughed shortly.


Haruka chuckled slightly and took a sip of her tea.

Makoto turned to her, staring.

"You knew, didn't you."

Haruka raised a shoulder in a non commital reply and took another sip of her tea.

"You...you...argh! You knew, for years, and you never thought to tell me!"

Haruka smirked.


"Why not!"

She shrugged.

"Wasn't my place. You had to come to the realization on your own, otherwise I'll never get my toaster."

Makoto shook her head.

"Why did I think that coming to talk to you was a good idea?"

"Massive amounts of recreational drugs?"

"...You suck."

Haruka smiled inncently.

"That is why I am so beloved by my wife."


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