A theory on the nature of happiness, by Mizuno Ami.
. She never thought there was anything strange about enjoying math and science and flower-arrangement and home economics. There were ratios and formulas in flower arrangement, primitive chemistry in baking and cooking, beauty and inexplicable arrangements in anatomy that made no sense unless one thought of the body like a house. Say for example the heart, with its four chambers and thick network of veins and vessels. So simple and elegant, yet so fragile. She knew how it worked, but those four rooms were so easy to get lost in.
. It didn’t take much to make her happy. She liked books, time alone, time with friends, making her mother proud, being good at things, being praised.
It surprised her how easy it was to fight and how much pleasure she derived from that. Not the self-satisfaction of proving a theorem or memorizing the every capital of every country that had ever existed in the world, past or present, but desire to cut, to eliminate, to defeat.
. She was a selfish person by nature. The things that made her happiest were things that she didn’t have to share.
. What made her happiest were people and the things that belonged to them: her mother's love, her friends' company, Usagi's time. Sometimes she looked at Usagi and was afraid of her dependence. She had been happier before she had learned that happiness was a commodity, something that could be found in others, something that people could take from her if she didn’t make sure to get it for herself, happier before she wanted something she could never have in its entirety.
She liked Nephrite for many reasons, but mostly because she had never been on the other side of the transaction before. She knew what it was like to long and to want for something that was constantly falling out of her grasp, but in Nephrite she saw herself, unsure of everything; and unable to convey how she felt without offending or injuring. As though he knew what it was like to have a darkness inside him that moved around the rooms of his heart, never in the same place as him, but always following, always waiting. They were both running from it, and in running, became clumsy.
Five of Minako’s recurring thoughts.
1. Actually, the past life had been awful. Dying young had an unfortunate tendency for making even the best memories go sour. But it wasn’t was though the present life was that great, either. Nothing smelled right after she became Venus. Not, at least, until she became Minako again.
2. It went without saying that Minako thought that she was right about everything. She had enough experience and common sense that much of the time she was.
When she said that she was right about things, she didn’t mean ‘right’ in the way that Ami was about facts, or Rei was with her raw intuition. She meant right in the pragmatic way, in the way that meant that while other people were thinking, “What is the right thing to do,” or “What should I do,” or “There must be another way,” she had already done what had to be done.
3. It really did amaze her, sometimes, how truly stupid Usagi could be.
4. Makoto could suffer through lightning strikes with a shrug, Rei, fire, with indifference; and she doubted Ami would be drowning any time soon. It could be that the reason she had such trouble falling in love was that love refused to let her get hurt, no matter how much she wanted it to.
5. She liked to see Rei discombobulated, off-balanced, and confused. It seemed like an appropriate punishment for someone who never listened to what Minako said, who never understood the obvious signals Minako sent, who remembered nothing and didn't care to try to remember, yet was so often right about everything; who did all of that without apology, joke, or meanness. That, too, was a kind of cruelty.
Rei finds titles pointless.
-Not that she cares to make lists. Or that she likes lists. Lists are things Usagi likes to do. Probably.
-It isn’t superstition. Evil walks on earth, goodness is scarce, and as for people: most of them don’t like her. She’s used to working alone, without thanks, companionship, or even acknowledgement. Working in teams doesn’t suit her.
-She’s glad that the past life business is done and over with. She believes in reincarnation, but whenever Minako goes on one of her past life spiels, Rei considers converting.
-Technology doesn’t agree with her. She finds much of it frivolous, wasteful, and, secretly, baffling.
-There are some people that she doesn’t feel comfortable saying “See you later” or “See you tomorrow” to: her father, for reasons relating to formality; Usagi, because Usagi doesn’t give her a choice in the matter; Minako, who is another person who doesn’t seem to care whether Rei has plans for the next day or not. Those are the people who left her, turned her back to her; went without a word to places where she couldn’t follow. And after all that, they expected her to not worry that she might be left alone again, waiting for them to come back when they had abandoned her? Naive.
-There are spots in the temple where objects vanish and reappear changed, where the temperatures change on a whim and the air never stays still—but when she goes to them, they become quiet. There are gods in Japan, though they don’t show themselves and though they sometimes feel unneeded and unwanted. She keeps her mind open in case they feel lonely, but they don't come and both her. Perhaps they are happy having her company, knowing that someone knows they're there, knowing that the world is being taken care of without them.
Five things that Makoto knows to be true.
1. She’s not the smartest person in the room, but that doesn’t mean she’s dumb.
Maybe it does, but—ah, she feels dumber thinking about it like that.
2. She knows how to brawl. That’s what makes the way she fights as Sailor Jupiter weird. She knows how to throw a punch and all the best places to aim if she wants to win a fight quickly. So why the hell was it that she kept spinning around in circles and swishing her hips like she was doing a come-hither thing?
3. People give her the role of protector. Maybe it’s because they think she’s tough, even when she’s just cranky or in a bad mood and doesn’t want to talk to people because she’s upset, but people always come running to her to set things right. And she does it. She’s a force of good, after all. But no one ever said that good can’t enjoy a good fight or two.
4. Sometimes she thinks it’s unfair how being a girl means that she can’t be tough or strong. Maybe she’s looking at it the wrong way. Minako’s the toughest and hardest person she knows, but no one’s going to accuse Minako of being unfeminine. Rei, too, seems to roll her eyes at the idea of girlishness. But Makoto—Makoto is tall and big. She has trouble finding clothes her size. Little kids call her a dinosaur. She gets mad, gets into fights, goes home looking like a gangster. A girl wouldn’t do that. It seems to be like a switch: sometimes she’s a guardian and sometimes she’s a girl. She's never both.
5. Having a boyfriend is interesting. For a college student, Motoki's too simple. Life can’t be reduced to a single statement. Her problems can’t be solved by saying, “It’ll be okay. You’re a strong person. You can do it.” Makoto’s fought too many battles, small ones and big ones, to believe that being strong can protect people from being hurt.
But he loves her, even though she’s confused, even though she knows nothing, even though she doesn’t know how to do anything except fight and endure. He loves her in a way that Usagi can’t, because Usagi might be a soldier, but she’s also a princess, and a masochistic one at that. Ami and Rei are her comrades, and that kind of affection is different because they support each other, but at the end of the day, they all want to be alone; and Minako is their leader, scolding and distant, almost parental.
He’s not a part of that other life, will never be. He’ll be hers, hers and only hers. She doesn’t believe that—she thinks it’s a little twisted, the way that he’s so ready to declare his affection and commitments and devotion—but he does, and she believes in him, turtles and all.
Something Usagi can do that her friends find difficult:
What is hardest in life is to act on love, to take action, to do something counter to self-defense, pride, stubborness, fear, and self-preservation. She had taken it for granted that she loved easily and could reach out to people and make them think kindly of her in return, so when she met Mamoru she didn’t know what to do, couldn’t do what should have been easy to her, couldn’t do what she knew must be done—thank goodness, then, that she had not been reborn friendless and alone.