Makoto looked at her reflection and back at Ibuki, who was grinning at her. The karate student was dressed in a pair of black slacks and white long sleeved shirt, refusing to wear any and all dresses Ibuki had initially presented her with.
The reason for Makoto's change of wardrobe was Ibuki's insistence that she go out dating. On top of that, Ibuki claimed to have found the perfect person for Makoto. Elena had joined in on the fun as well and had teamed up with Ibuki for a bit in finding said blind date but stopped after only a few days.
"You should stop as well Ibuki," Elena had cautioned the ninja.
"Because you're going about things all wrong. You need to recognize that Makoto is only doing this because you're pressuring her too. You can't hurry love."
"Says the woman going out with her best friend," Ibuki shot back.
Elena had left shortly after that.
"Oh you look so good Makoto! Way better than that farmer's getup or karate outfit you usually wear."
"Gee, thanks," Makoto replied, turning from her reflection and heading towards the doorway. "Let's just get this night over with.'
Ibuki nodded and followed after her, Don-chan following.
Makoto's cheeks burned when she saw the timid-looking young man at the diner table, rounding on Ibuki.
"Oh c'mon, he's kind of cute and he loves karate, just like you!"
"No. This was a stupid idea in the first place." Makoto then walked up to her blind date and bowed. "I'm sorry my friend tricked you into going on a blind date. Please never listen to a word she says again and you have my sincerest apology about wasting your evening. But, if you'd like to hone your skills, please feel free to become a student at my family's dojo."
The man blinked a bit at the bow and merely nodded once she was finished, getting up and leaving, his shoulders slumped.
Makoto then left the restaurant, an irate Ibuki chasing after her.
"Mak, slow down for a sec!"
Makoto kept on walking and Ibuki groaned, utilizing her ninja training to appear in front of her best friend. Ibuki recoiled a bit when she saw a few tears in Makoto's eyes.
"Why...why are you crying? You shouldn't be crying!"
"I'm crying because you are the worst ninja I've ever known. You don't know the first thing about me if you think setting me up with a guy is supposed to make me happy!"
"But a guy makes every girl happy Ma-"
The ninja felt a stinging on her cheek then and a few tears of her own escaped as she stared at Makoto.
"Don't! Don't you dare generalize something like that! Not everyone's like you Ibuki! I...I like women...I'm not...not obsessed about men like you are..."
Ibuki didn't respond, merely gaped at her friend.
"I'm sorry for hitting you. I'll be going now and please don't try and follow me."
Ibuki watched as Makoto walked on until she couldn't see her anymore, sitting on the ground and rubbing her temples. Don-chan growled a little bit and nibbled on her arm.
"I know Don-chan, I really blew it."
Makoto punched the training dummy, putting little force into the blow, her mind on Ibuki. It had been a whole week since she'd last seen the ninja and she was missing her already.
She remembered the first time the ninja fell into her life. She had been tending the very edge of the fields, near the tree line, when a brown-clothed ninja fell right on top of her.
"Sorry about that, I'm still training," the ninja had said, holding out her hand.
"It's alright," Makoto had replied.
It had been a few months after the tournament when Makoto had first realized her feelings for her friend. Ibuki had asked for a sparring session and they had gone at it with everything they had. Near the end of it, Ibuki was soaked with perspiration, her hair-band having snapped during the fighting. The sight of her long dark hair, the sounds of her heavy breathing, but most of all the look of pure determination on her face was what captured Makoto's heart.
She would have confessed right there, albeit haltingly and no doubt with flushed cheeks, but had already heard Ibuki's plan for finding the perfect man.
She wouldn't want a woman with rough hands anyway. She'd want some simpering pretty boy with weak hands and a doting nature, not a woman who confronted her about her faults.
Makoto's hand stung and the pain brought her back to the present. The dummy was now worn through and her knuckles were bleeding. Sighing, she went to clean herself up.
Maybe she should have just gone along with the date. At least she'd get to see Ibuki's smile again.
Narumi was cuddling up with Elena when a puff of smoke announced Ibuki's intrusion into their shared apartment, Elena apologizing to her lover with a sad smile.
"Elena, I need your help! Makoto likes girls!"
"Yes, I already knew that," Elena replied, sitting up and wrapping an arm around Narumi.
"Well why didn't you tell me?! I would have set her up with Cammy!"
"Um I don't think Chun Li would like that very much," Elena replied.
"Oh yeah, they're married, aren't they? Well what about Sakura?"
"She's dating Sean," Narumi put in.
"Really?! Oh man, I can't wait to tease her about that."
"Ibuki, what type of woman do you think Makoto likes?"
"Well she'd have to be a good fighter first of all."
"I don't think that really matters to her."
"Of course it does!"
"Alright, so what else?"
"The woman would have to be able to put up with Makoto's tomboyish nature, because she's pretty manly. They'd have to like her short hair, her-I've got it! Thanks for your help you two!"
With another puff of smoke, Ibuki was gone.
"Do you think she'll ever realize who Makoto likes?"
Elena sighed at that and shook her head. "Not with her own insecurities about the perfect guy getting in the way. Now I do believe you were about to kiss me before we were interrupted, correct?"
Narumi blushed at that, despite the six years they had been together, and nodded, proceeding to do just that, Elena mewling a bit.
Narumi would never tire of hearing such an adorable sound coming from an Amazon like her Elena.
Ibuki practically screamed into the phone.
"What do you mean you're not into women?!"
R. Mika screamed right back at her, going on about her loveable chef/boyfriend and how annoyed she was about people assuming she was butch just because she was a professional wrestler.
Ibuki hung up about three minutes into the rant, and hung her head.
"What am I going to do Don-chan?"
Don-chan moved closer then, Ibuki noticing a slip of paper in his mouth. Taking it, she gasped when she saw what her intelligent tanuki had managed to scribble.
It was her kissing Makoto.
"I'm not like that Don-chan! I'm not! I like guys. Guys with short black hair, toned muscles, and who aren't afraid to disagree with me."
Ibuki soon went to bed then, Don-chan's drawing still in her head, soon dreaming away.
She was on a beach in her newest swimsuit, her date holding her and running a hand along her bare midriff. Ibuki leaned in for a kiss then, capturing Makoto's lips...
She was in her wedding dress, the groom waiting at the altar. The odd part was that it was Makoto in her karate gi...
Ibuki sat up in bed, panting heavily. Beside her, a figure stirred.
"Nothing honey, just a bad dream," Ibuki replied.
Callused hands wrapped around her middle then, pulling her close. Ibuki sunk into that familiar embrace and sighed, looking up at Makoto's face...
The real Ibuki woke up, heart pounding and face flushed.
Sighing, she sunk back onto her bed.
She knew what she had to do to end the dreams.
Makoto answered the phone, just barely missing it as she was out in the fields and had to run to get it.
"Rikkodan Dojo, Makoto speaking. Oh...Ibuki..."
Makoto listened as Ibuki told her about another blind date, this one more suitable for her.
"You better not be setting me up with Sakura or something silly like that," Makoto warned, though she kept her tone playful.
She listened some more.
"Alright, I'll be there and no you can't come help me pick out my clothes."
Hanging up, Makoto sighed.
At least it was a woman this time.
Ibuki would have giggled at Makoto's beet red face if her heart wasn't feeling like it was going to burst from her chest like an alien.
Makoto looked around for a bit and then back at Ibuki sitting in the booth, finally sitting across from her. Makoto was dressed in the same black slacks and long-sleeved shirt from the first blind date. Ibuki was in a black shoulder-less dress and high heels. Reaching out her hand, trembling, Ibuki placed it on Makoto's lightly.
"I...I don't know exactly what I'm feeling right now Makoto but...but I'd like a chance to explore it more with you. Only if you want to of course. I know I'm not the prettiest of girls or the best of fighters but-"
Makoto cut her off by squeezing her hand, Ibuki's heart pumping at feeling those rough calluses against her smooth skin.
"I'm glad it's you," Makoto whispered, her eyes looking at the table then.
Ibuki's eyes watered at that and she lifted Makoto's chin, placing a light kiss on her lips, darting away swiftly, her own face terribly red.
It took Makoto over two whole minutes to stop grinning like a fool.