SPOILERS: Episode 106, Sailor Moon S season.

Disclaimer: I don't own Sailor Moon since I did not create the characters. But I did,
however, write this story. So credits go to where it is due.

WARNING: If you plagerize my stuff, I will hunt you down! If you think you can get away
with it, think again. Both quotes at the beginning and end are mine, don't use them
without permission. Thank you and enjoy!



"A butterfly emerges from a cocoon and is instantly beautiful.
Other insects and animals, and man even, forget that once it
was an ugly thing that crawled upon earth and dirt, dreaming
of flight but unable to attain it. I think that all
butterflies are really, still caterpillars on the inside.
The darkness, the ugliness, the emptiness, and the poisonous
insides remains. It's all still there, only no one can see
it so clearly anymore, because they are bedazzled by the
butterflies beautiful wings. No one becomes beautiful
overnight by breaking out of the outer shell they create for
themselves, there is just another more intricate shell
underneath, and an insect cannot fight off that mask that is
born within us all, no more than a man can. The mask, after
all, is who we are, as is the emptiness beneath it."

-- Kaiou Michiru


Cocoon of the Butterfly
* * * * * * * * * * * *

. blue .
( blueweber@hotmail.com )


Once, there had been a violin case that she had seen when she was very young and had
thought to be very beautiful. It had a smooth varnish and was a rich rosy-color. It had
sat on the display window, where some store clerk must have forgotten to prop it open. And
she had stood before the case, wondering, what kind of beauty must lie inside it. There
were black thorns crawling up the mahogany sides, and though she had always like
simplicity, the intricate and delicate design had intrigued her.

Father found her at the store window and looked to see her staring so intently at the
violin case, mistaking her fascination for interest. And that was how her lessons begin
really, her intrigue with a case. He didn't hesitate to buy it for her, and that was the
one outing she could remember clearly to have ever had with her father.

He had been a very busy man, and her mother was never around. And having fallen in
love with a case, she got a violin to go with it. She didn't protest, for she hardly ever
had anything denied of her. The teachers soon found that she had an almost unnatural
talent with the bow, but on her free time, she'd set aside the wooden instrument that
others applauded and praised her for playing beneath her graceful fingers, and would,
instead, stoop and stare at the case.

It had dark blue velvet lining on the inside that was soft and cool to the touch.
There were deep, white scratches on the back where mother's cat had dragged its claws
across it. When she had found the beast in the middle of the act, she had been enraged --
one of the few times she had ever lost her composer, even then -- and had kicked it. She
gotten in trouble for that, of course, and for one of the few times in her life, her father
had spoke to her in a disapproving manner.

"That's not a way for a lady to act," he told her.

And having been the obedient daughter she was, she acted her regret quite well. Not
her first acting job, but one of her best at that age if she ever thought back to that
time. "I'm sorry Father, it won't happen again," she told him through her tears. It was
very fake from her perspective, but her father and mother bought it, though mother had been
a bit reluctant.

Mother always did like that cat better than her, but she didn't care. She didn't
need Mother. The woman was always out and about on parties and socials, luncheons with
friends and operas with father's business associates. Mother was the perfect wife, from
the perspective of a businessman's wife, at least. Mother didn't care much about her --
the daughter -- since she had always been quiet, elegant, and quite adored by the public.

She was the perfect child who needed little maintenance. So who was her mother to
say... fix what wasn't broken? She had even attended many of the socials with her mother,
and stood quite gracefully under the puffing and prodding of rich, fat women who would fawn
over her incessantly.

"Oh, what a lovely child, Hanoko-san," they would say. "How did you manage such a
perfect little daughter? Mine won't stop crying and acting bratty. I'm so glad I have a
nanny so that I didn't have to deal with that thing!... Oh, but look at your daughter, she
isn't a problem at all!" And her mother would laugh and shrug her elegant shoulders while
the curl of her blonde hair gleamed like exotic gold in the dark-haired society they lived
in; she was like a white-plum blossoming on a red-plum branch and Mother enjoyed the
spotlight as much as vanity would allow without seeming it. But then again, when such
questions were asked of Mother, the other could only shrug and say something along the
lines of, "My daughter is a perfect little angel, bless the Lord!" After all, Mother had
nothing to do with her once the parties were over and the fat, rich women left.

Mother had men too, lovers. But she never really cared. She played her violin and
guarded her fascinating case. One day she came home from school and found that her music
teacher was holding a bunch of papers in one hand and when he bent to her, he said in a
very soft tone that he always used when instructing her play. "Michiru-san," he called to
her. It might have been strange for any other child to be treated with so much respect,
but everyone was overly polite with her even though she was the young one. She never
thought about it because that was how everyone always addressed her, treated her, and she
had come to expect it. She would have been more startled if someone addressed her with the
usual '-chan' and if once it had been used, she could not remember it. "There is a concert
at that opera house that Kaiou-san, your mother, visits," he seemed a bit nervous, but then
the man always did. She only looked up at him expectantly with a silent and unnervingly
calm.

"You want me to play there, don't you?" He blinked down at her before nodding
somewhat sheepishly.

"Only if you want to Michiru-san," he told her. But she knew that it really wasn't
her choice at all. If Mother had already heard this, it was sealed. They had a reputation
to keep up and her, the prodigy child, had to show for it sooner or later. It was just as
she had suspect anyway, by the way her teacher had been anxiously pressing her to play
harder pieces when she knew that many older students weren't allowed to go near such
difficult pieces by long dead composers.

"Have you spoken to my mother yet?" She asked instead and when he nodded in that
same nervous manner, she gave him her mother's shrug. "Then I'm sure everything's
prepared." She set down her violin case delicately then, taking off her shoes with the
same smooth motions before entering the hall. "I'm home," she announced, somewhat
belatedly as the maid hurried over from her corner by the wall and took her little
mistress's school bag and jacket.

It would be her first concert, and she had practice to begin.

Without objections, she followed her teacher into the foyer, with her scratched
violin case.


* * *


She was a popular girl in school, not at all social but much envied and much admired.
She was untouchable and didn't feel like talking to anyone since no one in particular
caught her interest. At ten, she held her first concert and was playing regularly on stage
by the age of thirteen. She wasn't shy, far from it. She felt most comfortable on a
stage, actually, and even with a million eyes on her, judging her every movement, she would
have shrugged off any insecurities with a familiar, graceful roll of her slender shoulders.
She became the music she played, but in her mind, she always saw the violin case with the
black thorns going up the sides, and the deep, white scratchs on its back.

Maybe if she thought hard on it, she might have noted some significance in always
using the case as her inspiration, but she never did for that was how things always had
been. Nothing changed in her life and so she didn't question those constants that were
there. Still, the stage, the theater, it was the best place in the whole world for her.
After all, it was the one place people lied and pretended for a profession, and there, she
didn't feel so out of place as she did in the real world.

By the time she was fourteen, she had made a name for herself. People whispered and
pointed at her whenever she walked down the street. Young and old, men and women, all of
them would sometimes stop her and ask for her autograph. For a while, her life was even
hounded by the media, the press. There were socials she had to attend in her honor,
parties to travel through, people to meet. And she smiled and said all the right things
when she was expected to and remained silent much of the other times. She got love letters
by the hoards from boys -- and sometimes even girls -- who didn't know the difference
between admiration and love, and she kindly declined dates from anyone unless father and
mother wanted her to go on one for business or political agendas of their own.

She didn't care for any of those things though, and when asked what she wanted to do
with her future, she'd give the same elegant shrug she had seen her mother give when she
was younger and would say whatever it was that peopled wanted to and expected to hear.
What was expected of her, she did and she did it well, if not perfectly.

She went through the motions of her life, and thought of herself somewhat ordinary
when she had time to sit down and read, do her homework and study for her exams. She was a
perfect student, just like everything else in her life. She didn't like gym very much, but
was a surprisingly strong swimmer, but most people never knew that. The only difference
that she could see for herself was when she was out of her classes. Unlike girls her age
she was in the concert halls instead of the mall, she spent more of her time practicing
with private violin tutors at home instead of spending time at a friend's house -- not that
she had any of those. At fifteen, she was a positive workaholic and was starting to get
tired of the public life. It bored her, though it had never really interested her to begin
with, it was becoming a burden that she no longer wished to carry and she had long ago
stopped playing for the pleasure of it as it had become more of a duty to an image that she
had lived with throughout her younger years. And for the first time in her life, she
actually did something that wasn't expected of her, that wasn't asked of her to do. For
the first time, she gave up on something.

She didn't want to play anymore.

"Mother, I'm getting bored with playing the violin," she told the older woman who
wasn't so radiant as the other had been a decade ago but had yet fade. "I want to quit."

Mother just looked at her and told her, "Talk to your father," and dismissed her out
of hand like she had been any other employee in the building. She wasn't surprised, but
somehow, for one reason or another, it bothered her more than it should have or ever did.
But she didn't say anything because it wasn't something in her life that had changed, but
somewhere along the lines, she did, without knowing it had happened.

So she went to her father, though she had to call his secretary first. It was
perhaps awkward for the other woman, from the catch of the other's breath when she
announced who she was, she knew. Father was having an affair, again. And the
unimaginativeness of having it with his secretary left her feeling somewhat empty and
disappointed, if not a bit disgusted. The feeling was also somewhat a surprise since she
had never cared before about what went on in his life anymore than he had about hers. "I
don't want to play violin anymore, Father," she addressed him formally over the phone with
the same soft voice she had used since she was a child.

"This isn't the time, Michiru, we'll talk about it over dinner." Apparently, he did
care after all, but she knew it was more about the image it would portray of their family
than anything else that had dealings with her.

But dinner was held off because of his business meeting and she had to wait for that
to be rescheduled by his secretary again. This time the woman was nervous when she spoke
to her on the phone, but there was also the same, impersonal, cool professionalism in that
voice to mask the nervousness. But she wasn't fooled, she had been dealing with people
like her father's secretary her whole life, and there was very little that these
uninteresting people could hide from her.

So instead of having dinner with her father, she ate a silent one with her mother.
Over dessert, the other rested her elbows on the table and leaned on those long, elegant
fingers while studying her. "Why don't you try something new, Michiru? But don't give up
the violin." The last part wasn't really an added suggestion, more of a command from her
impersonal mother.

"What do you have in mind, Mother?" she asked politely instead in the same manner her
mother had previously used to ask her the question.

"Perhaps painting, or sketching," her mother replied with a wave of her hand before
gracefully rising from the oak-colored chairs with white, soft cushions and lining.
"Something else to distract you. I've noticed that you've been spending some time at the
art museum."

It was one of the few times she was ever truly startled. She never thought that her
mother noticed anything in her change of habit, "Maybe you're right," she complied as she
too rose, bowing to her mother in respect and thanks before asking to be excused.

That night, she called her father and told him that she changed her mind and that she
wasn't quitting violin after all. She must have interrupted something because he had
sounded somewhat agitated when he answered but she didn't care and neither did he after he
heard what she had to say. "Good," he sounded almost relieved, and it was no surprise to
her that their dinner was officially cancelled after her good news.

Life went back to the way it had always been; her, the prodigy daughter, perfect in
every way, found something else to distract herself from her discontent. And her parents
stayed out of her life, like they always did. After all, perfection wasn't very lovable
and perfection doesn't need to be fixed.


* * *


She heard the name "Ten'ou Haruka," several times before first meeting the girl,
through rumors, gossips, and widespread adoration in the country clubs she frequented most
often, and the social circles she was so frequently separated from. People wouldn't stop
talking about this wild, young rogue, and though she was far from being interested in
gossip, the name did leave a mark in her memories.

She was always polite and graceful when she did join into their conversations, her
movements flowed like water and her eyes sparkled in that beautiful way that others found
mesmirizing. People used to tell her, when she was young, that she must have gotten those
eyes from her mother, but it was a compliment that was quite obviously a lie. Her mother
did not have the aqua depth that she possessed, for she must have inherited from some past
great-grandmother, instead, Mother had the true blue of an american woman. Her own hair
was certainly another attraction, the color was more alien than even her mother's, and
people had often whispered behind their hands on whether or not it was dyed, but was too
intimidated by her perfection to ask.

However, this "Ten'ou Haruka" was popular enough to even travel to her ears though
the other wasn't a part of any country clubs she visited and she wasn't particularly
interested enough to find out more. All she knew was that Ten'ou Haruka was a rumored
playboy, a rising and talented racer, and was as far from ordinary as what many people
probably considered her to be. At first, she had wondered what the other looked like, but
then her life was too busy to dwell on insubstantial things as a play-boy's looks, and so
she soon forgot about it when her upcoming concert occupied her mind, as did her painting
projects.

However, on a luncheon date that was set up between her parents and her date's
parents, she found herself on the racetracks known as "The Circuit" by those who were there
often. She wasn't very familiar with the place, but the boy across from her was quite
excited, saying how the test-driver was Ten'ou Haruka, the much talked about and youngest
test-driver there ever was. Apparently the racer was having his "debut" that day on the
tracks. Intrigued, she let her date point out the person he spoke of so admirably and saw
a beautiful blond boy, arrogantly stepping out of a fast-looking car, far down the race
tracks below them.

The first thought in her head was, what would it be like to ride in that car with
Ten'ou Haruka? And from then on, she was a closest Ten'ou Haruka junkie, as the saying
went. It was, as she looked back, one of the few things she had ever really done that
could relate her to a normal girl. Never though, did she dream she would ever have the
chance to get close to the wild-haired racer. They were from two different worlds and two
different social groups. There were very little activities that could even begin to
connect their lives together. But from that day onwards, the dreams began.

All of it changed however, quite unexpectedly, when she went early to the concert
hall she now frequented, though she sometimes did return to her mother's opera house for
the sake of appearances. It was the end of one concert by some new, hotshot piano player
that had drawn quite a crowd. The manager was quite pleased with himself, though he didn't
really approve of the audience. But tickets were tickets, and a sell-out was always
welcome.

"Good evening, Michiru-san," he greeted her with that same pleased smile on his face.

"Good evening, Hiroshima-san," she replied with that same beautiful way she always
had about her. "I've heard you sold out for this concert," she commented as she hefted the
fashionably expensive bag on her young shoulder. "Whoever attracted such a crowd? You
must be quite pleased, you do have an eye for talent."

Pleased all the more by the complement, the manager though, did have enough grace to
not attempt to deny it. Instead, he bowed before going on as if she had said nothing
unusual. "Oh, you've not heard?" the manager asked surprised, "It's that rising racer,
Ten'ou Haruka," he told her, missing the slight widening of her beautiful eyes as she felt
her pulse jump at the mention of the race-driver's name. "He seemed to have a penchant for
piano's, and I was thoroughly impressed by his playing at the audition."

"Audition?" she inquired as she slipped off her sunglasses and tucked it into its
leather container. It was almost unheard of that Hiroshima would give his time of day for
an audition; it was not something that happened very often at all.

"He requested one when he was refused the stage, but Ten'ou-san is quite stubborn,
you see? In the end, we were all quite surprised by his skill." The manager answered with
that same pleasant smile.

"How much longer till it's over, Hiroshima-san?" She inquired.

"Oh, another twenty minutes, I'd say, Michiru-san, and then you'll have the hall to
yourself till eight this evening. You know, Ayanami-san is playing tonight? If you wish
to stay for that as well, it would be more than pleasing." She acted interested, though
regretful for she really didn't care to hear it. Ayanami was good, but there were many
people who were equally good, and there were nothing particularly spectacular in the man's
playing.

"I can't, the concert has me quite busy." The manager didn't push her, though if she
had showed it would have been good advertisement on his part. Still, it wasn't very wise
to push one's favorite, and most frequent, musician. "I'll go in and see this surprise of
yours, Hiroshima-san," she gave him an equally pleasant smile as she turned to leave and he
agreed with a kind wave of his hand before turning back to one of the workers that was
ambling up to him quietly during their conversation.

She was, however, quite surprised when she slipped back stage and the clear, crisp
sound of piano notes came to her as if a spring breeze had washed over the entire theater.
She was quite surprised indeed, and understood immediately why the manager let this be an
exception to his exclusive theater. Whereas some came in by money, others came in by
extraordinary talent. Michiru was no exception to the money part, but she never had to pay
her way in, for her talent far out-weighed the depth of her parents' pockets. And where as
many compared her playing to an ocean of feelings, struggling like tides that a washed the
sands; Ten'ou Haruka's playing was like the wind. Wind that was crisp and clear, sometimes
sharp and cutting, while other times gentle and soothing.

Intrigued she stood in the shadows by the curtains and watched him play, but for some
reason, she knew immediately that he wasn't really a man, but a woman with a loose-collared
shirt and black slacks. She didn't know how she knew, albeit, she could tell why many were
fooled. "Ten'ou Haruka?" She tapped her finger to her chin with an air of curiosity about
her that was hardly ever perceived. She traced each line of the other's lean back with the
eyes of an artist and could not deny that she found this woman-in-disguise, well at least
her back, to be quite beautiful and attractive. The music was enchanting and she felt
swept away. Ten'ou Haruka played the piano like she did everything else, and the freedom
of those slim fingers, racing over the white keys, were hypnotizing to watch. When it
ended, she realized that her heart had been beating unnaturally quickly within her chest,
as if she had been running along side the other. The last part captured a moment in her
memory when Ten'ou Haruka had tousled her short hair so carelessly in the bright, burning
stage-light, a roguish and carefree act that reflected the other almost perfectly.

A million memories came thereafter, each different and poignantly sweet, before her
mind's eyes. The echo of the music she had heard drifted into her ears, through her nose,
and melted onto her skin untill she wasn't sure from which lifetime she was listening to.
But this piece was so utterly Ten'ou Haruka, the blonde before her, that she was sure that
any moment now, the other would burst into music and wind before disappearing to some
mystical place untouched and unknown to mortal man. Those long, sleek fingers, running
over the achingly white keys... she wondered what would it be like to be that much closer,
to feel those fingers wrap around her. Maybe years, and millennia ago, there was something
that bounded them beyond promises and duty, tying the knot till this moment came over and
over again. Her meeting Ten'ou Haruka in the shadows, always watching.

Then, the shocking pause was over.

The thunderous applause and the milling workers that suddenly sprung into action
back-stage brought her back to the present. And she saw the side profile of the beautiful
piano player when she had rose from her seat to bow at her adoring audience. After having
much admired the other's back, and from afar, she noted with some reservation that those
blue eyes and noble nose was equally pleasing to the eye. It did leave her somewhat weary
of the feelings she had never felt before, much less accustomed to, and was strangely
relieved and disappointed at the same time when the blonde exited the stage in the other
direction.

She almost found herself taking a step in that similar direction, as if to follow,
before she stopped herself at such a foolish act. Ten'ou Haruka had captured her
attention, and suddenly she ached with a deep, knowing ache of what she, ironically, knew
not of. So, instead, she took out her sketchpad and sat down in the corner of the stage,
drawing that beautiful back and that equally beautiful side profile. When she was done,
the theater was empty except for the workers that were used to her presence.

"Good afternoon, Michiru-san," came greetings all over and it took her awhile before
she realized that people were talking to her. But by then she was done with her art and
apologetically greeted everyone, as she was wont to do.

That evening, when she practiced, she realized that there was something fundamentally
lacking in her song. And for the first time in her life, she was dissatisfied with the
music she created. She tried to clear her mind, but always the image of golden, tousled
hair and arrogant blue eyes came to replace the black thorns and the deep, white scars of
her violin case.

It was, she noted with dark-humor, all of a sudden a challenge to play the violin
that day, a challenge she had never before encountered in her life. And though others
thought she had practiced and played beautifully, more so than ever before (as some of the
workers later told her) she was still very critical of her own playing. Dissatisfaction
was also not a feeling she was used to, especially not so poignantly. Almost, she thought
herself a caged bird, singing for the first time after hearing what the real song that had
been song on the outside world was like.

But that type of freedom, she had never experienced.

Days later, when she finally got it right, she realized with a start that she could
no longer picture her case in her mind. Instead, it was those blue eyes, arrogantly
shining with a bright light of a soul free and spirited that had easily replaced the
darkness behind the privacy of her own mind. If she focused enough, she would even
remember the bump on that noble nose and the twist of those sensuous lips. The feelings
she felt puzzled her, and had she had time, she might have dwelt on it enough to find the
reason behind what was to happen. But life, as it is, had a way of getting past the best
of us with surprises that wasn't given the time to be discovered.


* * *


As she had later heard, from Tsukino Usagi, she had never had the convenience of a
talking animal guardian to show her the way things worked. It came quite unpleasantly,
really, through a series of vivid dreams that left her terrified upon waking. Oh, she had
dreams before, dreams of Ten'ou Haruka, of castles in the sky, of a woman-goddess dressed
in white with silver hair, she had dreams of life-times ago and planets away, of empires
rising and falling to ashes. But this was different, this was of the Earth, about the
present times... or at least, about the approaching future.

A couple of nights came and went in the same manner, and she dreamt of darkness and
destruction, of a woman who brought with her black-red despair. The world was broken and
torn in her eyes, red and angry, black and helpless. People were dying before her very
eyes and there, a shadow sat and consumed and consumed... She always felt helpless in
those dreams, and no matter how much she screamed and cried and tried to fight, she
remained helpless. Getting sick of it all, for the feelings followed her to the waking
world, she asked her mother for a few self-defense courses to occupy her time, boast her
confidence, and relieve the stress she was beginning to feel building around her. She was
agile and adapt, and just like painting, playing the violin, swimming, and school, she
excelled quickly and easily in the classes. It was, as if her body was awakening to
realizations and memories of a long ago training that her mind never remembered going
through. Yet, somehow, the techniques and the movements were still instilled into her
muscles, even after all the years passed.

School exams, and homework might have been a bother before, but suddenly she was glad
of the distraction. She did everything so that she didn't have to sleep, but others soon
took notice of her tiredness because it took a toll on her body. Her mother sent her to a
recommended shrink, but she didn't want to talk about the "End of the World", as she had
come to call it, to anyone. It didn't feel right to open her dreams up to anyone, as if
she was supposed to keep the secret of doom and destruction to herself, always. Logially,
she knew quite well how others would interpret her dreams and felt less inclined to deal
with the hassle that the blnd truth would bring.

So she found release in her paintings that became as black and red as her dreams.
She played her violin with more of a passion than she ever did, and her teachers told her
that there was nothing else they could teach her in the strings that she had not already
discovered for herself. She fought in the gyms with hired trainers, strengthening herself
physically and preparing for... something, but what? She could not say for certain. She
went to concerts, hosted her first painting exhibition. She decided that she liked art
much and then hosted a few more after the first one became a great success. Yet nothing,
in the end, really seemed to have help her dreams get any brighter. Only in the waking
hours were she able to escape the horrors that haunted her night after night. If she were
lucky, she would sometimes dream of Ten'ou Haruka instead, and the lifetimes gone already,
instead of the black and red of death and blood that was fast approaching in the future.

One night, after a particularly bad episode, she woke to find a strange woman in her
room. The other had red eyes, like the red in her dreams, like what others would say to be
the color of a demon's eyes. "I know you," was the first word out of her mouth once she
realized the other's presence, once she saw the soft moonlight reflecting on those dark,
red eyes that she had seen a few times in her own dreams.

"Yes," the woman replied, "you do."

"Is the time coming?" And she didn't know what she was talking about when those
words left her mouth, but the woman seemed to.

"Yes."

"What am I supposed to do?" She asked. There was no crack in her voice, no
desperation, no fear, just a simple question that she asked with the same elegant grace she
had since childhood. On the inside though, as she realized, she felt exhaustion and relief
flowing over her like a blanket. Maybe she should have been scared that a strange woman
had gotten into her room so easily and calmly, maybe she should have been surprised, but
she wasn't because it had felt as if it were but a touch of destiny; as if it were another
something that she had been doing all of her life.

There was a pretty, glowing stick in the other's white-gloved hand, and she looked
surprised at having noticed that the strange woman did indeed wear gloves and held a tall,
gleaming staff as well in her other hand. "You are Sailor Senshi Neptune, you will know
your own destiny soon enough."

After that night, it didn't take very long for a daihmon to appear. At a nearby
cafe, Sailor Neptune made her first elegant appearance. She never fought anything like it,
and it took a blow to the shoulder that nearly broke her arm to make her remember the words
of her powerful attack. It came naturally after that, like fighting, the magick flowing
into her life and filling spaces that she never knew was missing till that point in time.
If she did, she had successfully ignored those emptiness quite effectively. But she didn't
have the luxury of a royal cat to tell her what to do. If anyone knew that most of the
time, she didn't have a clue what she was doing nor what she was getting herself into, they
wouldn't have believed it if they had seen her in battle.

She was glad she didn't have to explain to her parents, who were never there, where
she had gotten the new bruises that she sported every other day. And if she had more
attentive parents, they would have noted that she was apt to disappear a lot more often
then usual. But they weren't around much to notice in the first place, and she later wrote
off any would be suspicions with excuses of park-outings and painting if ever any of the
servants asked. She was glad, at least, that she took up another hobby that wasn't as
public as her violin playing. However, after one thoroughly vicious attack that left her
ankle broken, she decided that it was time to move out of the house. Sooner or later her
parents were going to find out, or someone was going to point it out to them, if she stayed
home. And so, at the age of sixteen, Kaiou Michiru asked and was allowed by her parents to
rent an uptown apartment of her own. She moved out in a few days, after having had the
furniture moved, and her secret life became all the easier to live without half the
sneaking around that she had found herself doing for the last month or so of her life.

It caused a small fiasco, as expected, but quickly died down. People with too much
time on their hands speculated that she had a falling out with her mother and father. She
assured her fans publicly that nothing had happened, though the press was inclined to
disagree. It was, however, a blessing in discuise for she used it to transfer schools, a
matter of convenience on her part. She moved completely into the city then and left
everything behind without even one regretful, backward glance at what she left behind. She
just wasn't the type of person for regrets, and there was nothing especially precious that
she didn't, or couldn't, take with her.

In her new apartment, or "studio" as she liked to call it, she settled in quite
nicely with her old, wooden, violin case with black thorns down its side and white
scratches down the back. She had a piano that her mother thought was essential in any
elegant home belonging to the rich, and it was next to it that her violin hanged. She
didn't object to the extra instrument since it felt right in the foyer, though her reasons
were entirely different from her mother's. It reminded her of Ten'ou Haruka, and the
afternoon at the concert hall when she had first heard the other play so beautifully.

She was left quite breathless with memories and emotions she couldn't remember
experiencing until that moment, and she wanted to capture it any way she could. For some
reason, she had a feeling that the other would have liked this particular baby-grand,
though she never even met the woman, formally or informally.

The apartment also made healing injuries from battles far easier, and she had no one
to explain of her whereabouts to any more. She called home on the weekends ever Saturday
at precisely six o'clock to inform her parents that she was all right. She called them
sparsely in between the times and them to her. If there were an exceptionally important
social that she should be attending with them or go in their place, she quietly went
without complaint.

It was, in the end, not that much different from before. Though, she did adamantly
refused any maids or butlers at her apartment much to her mother's dismay.

The nightmares though, continued and increasingly got worse. Days after her move,
when the nightmares became more of an expected routine that was unpleasant but unavoidable,
the woman with red demon-eyes came again to visit her when she had awokened. "You've been
doing remarkably well, fighting evil," she heard the woman say when she blinked the
terrifying visions out of her sleepy eyes.

"Thank you," she said properly, her voice husky from sleep. Somehow she had a
feeling that the woman wasn't inclined to compliment unless the other was thoroughly
impressed and truly meant it.

The woman watched her, "The dreams, are they becoming more vivid?"

Somehow, it did not surprise her that the other had asked, "Nightmares more like it,
and yes, they are becoming... well, more detailed." She had a feeling, these days, in her
nightmares, that there was someone beside her.

"This does not bode well," the woman murmured, more to herself than her. "But alas,
I have good news. You are not alone in your fight, for there is another Sailor Senshi out
there." She did not feel the need to ask for she knew the other would answer nonetheless,
so she inclined to raise a brow in the darkness in inquiry. "Her name is Ten'ou Haruka,
and she is Sailor Senshi Uranus."

She was glad of the darkness then, for she was so surprised that had she not already
been sitting on the bed she might have fallen. "Ten'ou... Haruka?" She murmured that name
almost reverently and her body trembled with so fierce a joy that she was almost ashamed by
it. She was unused to the overflowing emotion that seem to come only when Ten'ou Haruka
was mentioned or near, a foreign feeling that only the blonde could obtain out of her. It
was addictive and frighteningly so, but she enjoyed it for the same reason she feared it.
It was the only time that she felt truly alive, the only time she felt as if she was waking
from that place between slumber and wakefulness, a feeling she had found escaping her
completely in these days of magick and secrets. The feeling inside made her aware, almost
unbearably aware, of that something that was fundamentally missing in her life that she
knew that this Ten'ou Haruka, this woman that haunted her day and night, could fill. But
with what? Would a ride in the sleek, yellow Convertable really solve anything, other than
bring a silly, girlish fantasy into reality?

"Yes," the woman replied, cutting through her thoughts, almost as if she was
answering the question that she did not dare to voice aloud. And there was a hint of
something in the other's voice that was akin to amusement. "You're partner," and she felt
as if the woman had deliberately left things unsaid but did not ask for more than what she
felt the other would be willing give.

In the darkness, all she could see was those blue, arrogant eyes. Eyes that spoke of
a freedom that she had never experienced, and such honesty that she only wished she could
obtain. "Thank you," and this time her voice was husky for a different reason.

"You never asked me who I am," the woman with eyes of ruby red finally answered after
much silence.

She shook her head slowly as if to clear it before the words left her mouth. The
certainty in them did not surprise her, for it came to her as naturally as water, "You are
Sailor Senshi Pluto," she told the other calmly. "What else is there to know?"

Perhaps, she wasn't the only one who was unused to surprises, for the demon-eyed
woman looked to her so hard, she could almost feel the others gaze piercing through the
darkness and into her very soul. "What else is there to know, indeed," the woman finally
said in that mysterious, yet familiar way, and then promptly disappeared into the darkness
and the shadows from whence the other had came. She didn't even need to call out to make
sure that Sailor Senshi Pluto had gone, or if the other had returned to wherever the woman
had came from, she just knew it to be so. She knew it like she knew that when she finally
meet Ten'ou Haruka face-to-face, everything will be changed forever, for both of them.

After all, the ocean forgets nothing.


* * *


It would be a lie to say that she hadn't been watching the blonde from afar for
sometime. She found herself on the sidelines, in the shadows, as long as she could see
those arrogant blue eyes and the quirk of those equally arrogant lips without being seen
herself. She was new and people were interested, many have already heard of her history
and more than a few were fans. She didn't care about it, and her carelessness made her
popular, aloof, and much admired. She was, as she had dubbed herself jokingly one evening
as the piano music Ten'ou Haruka played danced in the background, "a closest Ten'ou Haruka
fan-girl". The idea was nicely silly, and strangely, it did not disgust her in any way in
its normality, instead it made her glad. She broke into a smile in the middle of one of
her schoolmate's conversation with her when her mind had unexpectedly arrived at the
conclusion that she really did like the blonde, to the point in which it could be called a
crush. Ah, but the history between them was far richer and deeper than any of those
frivolous feelings could hold.

Bedazzled by the beauty so rarely seen gracing the "Ice Queen"'s face, as some had
already come to call her behind her back, her classmate was truly enchanted by the
heartfelt smile on her face. The girl had gushed and half-swooned before Michiru amusedly
left the young girl by the side of the stage.

Sometimes, when she was on her own, she indulged herself in the scenario of actually
being with Ten'ou Haruka. What would it be like to ride in that yellow Convertable she saw
the blonde drive away in with one girl or another, every week? How would it feel with the
wind blowing in her hair and having those arrogant, blue-eyes turn to her with a
comfortable smile? How would it feel to have her fingers run themselves through the
disheveled blonde locks? Would it be like silk or satin, or a combination of both if she
could do so freely, running her fingers lovingly through the strands? They were from two
different worlds, she acknowledged, but could not help but be intrigued. It would not do
for her image if she was caught hanging out too much around the music room whenever Haruka
was there, nor the track, but one of the girl's on the track team finally caught her in the
act one day.

"Michiru!" There was an exclamation of surprise if she had ever heard one.

Somewhat reluctant to turn her eyes from the woman that was seemingly flying down the
track, she turned, "Elsa-san," she replied with an elegant bow as Elsa Gray hurriedly
complied, remembering her manners.

"What are you doing here?" The girl asked before slyness crept up into her eyes,
"You've seen our Champion, eh?" Red-hair bounced as the other turned to the field. "She's
something quite amazing, isn't she? I feel, sometimes, that I'm chasing the wind when I
run with her." Elsa sounded regretful and sad, almost defeated.

"Like the wind," she echoed quietly as she could not help but look to the figure
crossing the finish line first.

"Hey, I see you've got your sketch-pad on you, Michiru!" The girl next to her
clapped her hands on her hips, shaking off the moment with a cheerful smile. That one was
a bold one, Elsa Gray, she noted with a pleasant smile on her lips at the other's inquiry.
Refreshingly innocent, she thought to herself, these are the people I'm protecting with my
powers and my duty. And it made her glad that the other was not so formal with her as
others were wont to do. "You must be good, especially since I've heard that everything you
touch turn to gold, or something equally silly like that."

"I sketch, now and then," she answered absent-mindedly.

"No, no!" Shaking the short, red curls. Elsa laughed heartily, "I meant I saw some
of your paintings at your first exhibition a few months back!"

She blushed faintly, unwilling to allow the other to see what exactly it was that she
did draw in her sketchbook. "I'm actually looking for a model," she lied, "I was
wondering, do you think Ten'ou Haruka-san would be interested?" It was the perfect excuse
to take the blonde aside and give her the wand of Sailor Uranus. Somehow, her heart
fluttered at the thought of no longer being so utterly alone, and the thought was
disturbing because she had never considered herself alone until the thought had come upon
her these last few days.

Ten'ou Haruka should be expecting her, she thought. It was the way things were,
after all. The wind would have told the ruler of the skies, if those dreams that haunted
her did not find the other as well.

Widened grey eyes looked to her, "You're kidding me!"

"No, I'm quite serious," she smiled.

"Well," the spunky girl next to her perked up, "You never know till you ask the woman
herself!" And before she could protest, Michiru found herself half dragged in the
direction of the track. "Hey," Elsa smiled over her shoulder at her, "thinking of joining
the track any time soon? I've seen you run, and you've surprised even me!"

She could only smile regretfully, "It's not really me, Elsa-san," and the other girl
shrugged those tanned shoulders in good-natured defeat at her reply. She did not fight the
firm grip tugging her along, for it was going to happen sooner or later, and somehow she
knew she would never be ready for this moment, just as much as she knew that she would
always be waiting for it as well; strange ironies that never populated her life so
frequently, until now. "Ten'ou Haruka-san, I've heard of your reputation. You're really
great!" Elsa got ahead of her and walked over to Ten'ou Haruka who was zipping up her
jacket and concealing whatever curves that might have given her away otherwise when she
wasn't running, or near the circuit. "You did amazingly out there today," the redhead
commented. And Ten'ou Haruka looked at her as if trying to figure out what Elsa was
getting at with a surprisingly honest and open face as the blonde turned to them curiously.
Some people cannot tell the difference between people who thinks highly of themselves,
pretending to be indifferent praise, and those who just don't care, but it was obvious that
Ten'ou Haruka was of the latter rather than the former. "Well, there's someone I'd like
you to meet, Haruka-san," as the other stepped back, she could feel those arrogant blue
eyes sweep over her form before meeting her own eyes. "Come on, Michiru!" Elsa encouraged
as she stepped up next to the redhead.

So free, she thought before she bowed her head politely. "This is Kaiou Michiru,"
the redhead next to her introduced them pleasantly. "She's very intelligent and a
brilliant artist."

Elsa's words faded to the background when their eyes met and she could do nothing but
be honest, "You didn't break a sweat out there. I think you were holding back, hm?" she
said instead, trying to soften her words with an ill-attempted smile. This was becoming
more difficult by the second as her heart pounded in her chest. Ten'ou Haruka wasn't
expecting her as she had thought, or if she did, she hid it well. It could mean only one
thing, that her presence was unwelcome.

"What do you mean?" Ten'ou Haruka asked, but she could see the awkward stance that
was half defensive in the other's attempt to seem careless and uncaring. It would have
fooled anyone, except her.

"You can hear the wind calling, can't you?" She continued to smile ever so slightly,
amused by the gallant attempt to evade her words at the same time hiding her own
disappointment. Shock spread across that face and those blue eyes widened, but it was gone
as quickly as it came.

"You're strange," Haruka said instead as the other broke eye contact and hefted the
duffle bag over one shoulder. "So what do you want of me?"

She shouldn't have been surprised that the other was reluctant. She should have
known the wind would to want to run away. So she accepted that perhaps, loneliness was
better after all, and tried to smooth out the awkwardness of the moment with her earlier
excuse, "Would you be a model for my painting?" She asked hopefully, though she was wise
enough to not show her own eagerness.

"Pass!" Haruka shrugged it off with a disinterested tone, but she knew it was her
that Ten'ou Haruka was running away from this time. "I don't like that kind of thing," the
blonde explained and walked away in that casual grace of a born athlete.

She could not keep the disappointment from escaping into her eyes as she watched the
blonde walk away. Perhaps it was better this way, she thought to herself. She didn't want
another human-being to share in the nightmares and the burden of Senshi duties anyway,
especially not one like Ten'ou Haruka who was never meant to be tied down by anyone or
anything. She smiled at Elsa Gray who looked just as disappointed as she had felt moments
ago, "Well, I guess she really is as aloof as they say she is." The redhead supplied
sympathetically, and for those simple words, she was grateful to the other for trying.

She shook her head in disagreement, "That's her choice. After all, modeling isn't
for everyone." There was, perhaps, more meaning in her words than she intended, but it
would be highly unlikely Elsa would understand the double meaning. "People like her...
running is better for her health."

Ah, all those double entendres. Life for her, she realized, was just about to get
more complicated, indeed.


* * *


She had a martini under the arches of the grand windows. Watching the blonde play
the piano as she sipped the clear, sour liquid. It was dry and that was what she needed
that night as she sat beneath the moon and in the shadows of the candle-lit table. She
joined in the applause, just before a voluptuous singer sauntered onto the stage. The
other woman swayed seductively, watching Ten'ou Haruka through lidded eyes before shooting
a brief, but equally seductive look towards the blonde.

Ten'ou Haruka really did look dashing in the white tuxedo the other sported that
night, but she wondered what the blonde would look like with a dark, blue one instead. It
would bring out the shine in those arrogant eyes, and the gold of the blonde locks would be
more defiant. More dashing, more beautiful, and more of that would only increase the ache
in her breast. And she remembered a few weeks before when she had confronted Ten'ou Haruka
again about the apocalypse, how her heart had been so determined for one last try by any
ways possible. She remembered how happy she was when the blonde said that she was pretty,
and how it was so disappointing to be rejected nontheless when the other still refused
their destiny of fighting evil together. It was just as well, she had not wanted to bother
Ten'ou Haruka again after that, it was her last try at the inevitable, her last stab at
ridding herself of her loneliness. In truth, Kaiou Michiru had never been denied of
anything in her life, and she very much doubted that there was much that could be denied of
her. Oh, but it seemed that the one thing that mattered to her heart the most turned out
to be something that she could not obtain on her own. Instead, as much as it frustrated
her, she was almost... glad that it was so.

It was pleasant irony, she told herself as she sipped her martini. Her ultimate
happiness no longer took just one person, herself, but the cooperation of two. Had she
been anyone else, she might have cursed the gods above for such things of fate, but
instead, she contended herself to watch and sip her bitter, sour drink.

Life, it seemed, was not about to get any sweeter.

But, for as long as she could watch Ten'ou Haruka and pretend... pretend that she was
in a yellow Convertable with the music playing on the radio and the wind roaring as they
traveled down the highway by the sea, together, life was decidedly more bearable. And
hungrily she devoured what her eyes and ears could give her, unashamed of her new passion
as her fingers lightly tapped against the white table cloth while memorizing the lines on
the blonde's face as surely as she had never done so with her own. She knew those lines
and shadows quite well by now, and it helped her with the portraits she had already done of
the other in secret.

She set the bills on the table at the end of the night, and went on with her life
that others deemed to be perfect. There was no need to hide the deep, white scratches on
the back of the violin case in her hand, nor the intricate, cruel, black thorns creeping up
those wooden sides. No one would have noticed those little imperfections anyway, too
fascinated by the rosy color, and the dark-blue velvet lining -- a color like the ocean at
midnight, under a large, white moon that outshone the stars. And if not by the case, they
would have been distracted by the case's seemingly perfect owner, who was famous in her own
right.

Only this time, when she went home to her empty apartment, she left the case open to
reveal that there was really nothing inside. The violin rested on the stand, with the
music hidden in the strings, instead of in its beautiful and empty coffin. She discarded
her childhood fascinations, her strange new obsessions with the unattainable, and instead,
played sensuous music under the milky moon and the envious stars with only red and black to
color into her mind. She played well past midnight before going to bed and into the
embrace of terrible nightmares about the end of the world and unending destruction. Maybe
she'll paint another vision tomorrow, this time with the Messiah at the center of it all.
But she made sure that she went to bed exhausted so she didn't have to think about her
terrible loneliness as well.

The next day, she would go to the Circuit and watch Ten'ou Haruka race, as she was
used to doing after all this time in the shadows. She knew that she would probably lean on
the poles holding up the empty bleachers, and there, she could indulge her imagination with
what ifs before whispering an unheard goodbye to the wind.

In her mind, she can only imagine what it might have been like to have those skilled,
long fingered hands ran over her with the same precision as the blonde did everything with.
She wanted to dream about those arrogant blue eyes, looking at her with love instead of
fear. But black and red soon came as they did more and more frequently now, covering all
else with the terrible, passionate colors of fear and hopelessness.

And the case remained open in the darkness, discarded. Like the cocoon of some
beautiful caterpillar, more beautiful than any before, that had become an enchanting
butterfly.

The blue-velvet was black in the darkness, like an ocean that had pulled back to
reveal the deep, bottomless, emptiness it had once filled. But no one would notice but the
butterfly that had left her cocoon behind for what it was. Cruel, black thorns still ran
up the sides, and deep, white scratches of imperfection was still there on the back of the
case, except that nobody knew that the butterfly bore those same marks in her soul and
barbed those same wounds into the music she played and danced to in the light of the sun
and the moon. No one took notice in those things, because her pain was as beautiful as
she, and they were more than willing to be bedazzled by what they saw in her haunted eyes
and cold, lost smile. In so doing, her audience were unable to grasp the truth of what she
was, nor did they take note of the poison she possessed.

It would be sunlight soon, and she would wake, cold and hungry like any other human
being. She would close the case after putting the violin inside it as a substitute for the
emptiness inside, hiding the truth from all but herself. The black would turn blue again
under the sunlight, as if it had never knew a different shade, and things would return to
routine.

Let the music be her wings, the morning wind whispered along her windowpanes. It
would be for one more night before this great and terrible sadness that the ocean hides
inside those unknown depth finally be revealed. One more night before destiny bedazzle the
wind into seeing that enchanting beauty, one that will make even Ten'ou Haruka miss the
black thorns creeping up the sides of that mahogany case and the deep, white scratches on
its back and in the soul of its perfectly beautiful owner and the future she had to
offer.

One more night before the imperfection of black and red, of chaos and destruction,
bound them all for eternity with cruelty, deep and dark, of a perfect future...



"Perfection is a mask, a shell.
The more of it you see,
the less of it there is."

-- Kaiou Michiru



.The End.


. blue .
( blueweber@hotmail.com )


I was quite inspired by Alan Harnum's writings in the Utena fanfic section. This
guy's writing really is amazing, and he impressed me so much that I just had to go write
something equally dark -- which I haven't been doing for awhile. (GAH! I've been going
WAFFy... well... as waffy as it gets for me since I've been writting WAY dramatic stuff
since Sheep is a very harsh story). I definitely wanted to try something similar to
Harnum's style, but the depth and darkness I wanted to portray... just didn't fit any of
the InnerS. I needed a little more darkness in it, a little less emotion and a lot more...
I don't know... foreboding. I went through the InnerS, before going to the OuterS. I
thought about Hotaru -- she'll be coming along soon enough -- but I thought, Michiru's a
pretty flat character from many people's point of view. She's "too perfect" as I've seen
more than a few SM fans describes her. But I really am fascinated by Michiru, and I
thought she would be the perfect centerpiece for this experimental fic. I was going to use
Hotaru, but when the violin case came up in the first sentence, and it was decided for me.
I don't feel up to writing about Mistress Nine just yet, but I will... oh and boy would it
be fun!
The fic was going through mostly narrative without either good or evil, I would have
planted action, but it didn't feel... well... right. So I kept to the flow of things
instead of trying to change how it was going as I typed it. The ending's a bit dark simply
because I really wanted the dark tone to be always there, that's why the story is somewhat
"plain", so to speak, but I really didn't want "And then they met and completed each other,
and lived happily ever after... blah blah blah." It was fun. I hoped I gave Michiru some
character. This fic was REALLY amazing to write, I had a good time doing it. One of the
best advices I was given when I was reading Harnum's piece was that to write a character
you have to think, what were they thinking? So I sat down and thought (and even at one
point, tried to become, Michiru). Michiru might be thinking this when this happened, and
this is what probably shaped her to become like this, etc, etc. was what I was feeding my
imagination as I did this bit. I hoped you had just as much fun reading it and I hope I
kept our Michiru in character. I noted that in the anime, she's a bit more sly and
cunning, and this piece portrayed her as uninterested with the happenings of her own life,
but I don't believe Michiru would ever really be into the whole fame or fortune thing. I
don't really feel like going into detail about it, but one thing I do note in the anime.
Michiru's a lot more "passionate" than she might seem in this fanfic, but I want to show
that she's not really meant to be ordinary - that being so bores her - and that Haruka is
the one who can really bring the passion out of her. However, the stairway incident, I
don't think Michiru really meant it when she said THAT passionately about being a violinist
(this is only my interpretation for my fanfic). After all, when Haruka mentioned it later,
she had looked away. Hey, she could have meant it, but in this story, she's allowing music
to fill a void that wouldn't go away, not because she truly enjoyed playing. It was,
somewhat annoying at one point when I had to step out of my world and step into the anime
world, but I dealt with it. And yeah, Michiru's a bit young to be drinking a martini at
the time, but it fits her image and... Well... there's this rumor about being too young to
drink, but we all know it's just a rumor, ne? ^_~ I kept as much Japanese out of this one
as possible without seeming like I was just translating words. I stuck with "hm" instead
of "right" for "ne", because it sounded awkward for her to say "right" in that sentence.
The need to write "ne" was SO overwhelming, but I suppressed those damnable urges!
The Hotaru one is probably popping up next week, but it'll be awhile before I post
again after that. Life, sadly to say, is a busy, time consuming thing. And I have so much
writing to finish online, but I have so much more to do that I'm hardly even in my room
nowadays much less sleeping! Well... I go there to sleep, and that's pretty much it.
Have no fear though, I'm not finished with Sheep yet, but I need time to get back in
the Sheep mode. Alan Harnum's writing, though good, threw me a curve ball. This type of
style is TOTALLY wrong for the ending of sheep and I'll have to wait it out, or flush it
out of my system before I even touch my old pieces of work. (But I'm going to take
advantage of this mood and write some short pieces well I can.) Sheep 10 is also proving
difficult, but at least I know what to do now. In all honesty, it might have been done
sooner, but my palm-pilot ran out of batteries on me and *poof* my entire outline for 7 -
10 for sheep was gone, the entire outline for all the episodes of Karma - Nengan the Great,
was gone! My original story entries were all GONE! *sob, sob* That was a while ago, but
every time I think back, I want to cry.
Anywho, this is definitely dedicated for my best friend. Think of it... as a REALLY
belated birthday present, Katz... and um... it'll have to do till I'm no longer broke and
can actually afford to buy you a birthday present ^_^;; A good, non-cheap, birthday
present. And I don't care what you say, it'll make me SO happy when I get you the perfect
present, and you know it!
This is also dedicated to my long time editor, A. L. Campo. I still cannot believe
you stuck with me through Sheep this long! You're the best! And since I cannot pay you
for your tedious and difficult job of going through my work... here! Think of this as a
... umm... another story for you to edit! ^_^v
[hmm.. that didn't come out quite right ^_^;; But just want to let you know you are
so DEFINITELY appreciated!]
Okay, going, going! Hoped all you readers were entertained!
Happy New Years everyone!

-- blue
( blueweber@hotmail.com )