Desperately Searching

Title: Desperately Searching
Author: kazeko
Rating: R
Show: Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon
Series: prequel to "Kazeko"
Multipart: yes
Chapters: 9
Couples: Haruka/Michiru, Makoto/Ami, Minako/Rei, Princess Serenity (Usagi)/Prince Endymion (Mamoru), Serenity (Ailan)/Setsuna, Hotaru/Shioko (OC)

Timeline: "A Child of Darkness and Light", "The Last Sacrifice: The End of the Silver Millennium", "CAS 1: The Trouble with Love is the Lovers", "CAS 2: To Defy Destiny", "Every Cloud", "Crystal Shards", "CAS 3: Unwilling Accomplice", "Our Past 1: The Reason We Fight", "CAS 4: Princess of Light", "Our Past 2: The Reason We Still Fight", "Our Past 3: The Reason We Fought", "CAS 5: One Last Shining Star", "In the Darkest Forest", "Destiny or Duty", "Desperately Searching", "Kazeko", "Chronicles of the Star Senshi 1: The Gathering", "Chronicles of the Star Senshi 2: Castle in the Sky", "Chronicles of the Star Senshi 3: Queen of the Moon", "Chronicles of the Star Senshi 4: Separation Anxiety", "Crystals of Love: Betrayal", "Crystals of Love: Forsaken", "Chronicles of the Star Senshi 5: Black Moon Family", "Crystals of Love: Destined Couple", "Horoscope"

Time: Six years after Sailor Stars, immediately before "Kazeko"
Disclaimer: Takeuchi Naoko, Toei, Kodansha, etc., own Sailor Moon and all SM characters.
Disclaimer 2: I own the world, any characters not from BSSM, and the people and history of the world. Please do not steal my ideas or my characters without asking.

Chapter 9: Meeting of Wind and Wave
She was floating, lost in the clouds between life and death. Spotting the earth far below, she relinquished her claim to her body, finding the freedom of the eternal skies appealing. She was finally letting go when a glint far below caught her eye. The sea. A slender, graceful creature breached those still waters, hair streaming like cloud tatters behind her, and Haruka felt herself being pulled down. She felt a touch of destiny as her fever finally broke, and the Skyling opened her clear emerald eyes.

She was in a cave. Again. The blonde groaned at the strange ways of the groundling, living in caves no wider across than the span of her wings. There had to be better places to sleep and eat. Ignoring her claustrophobia for a moment, the Skyling princess managed to sit up. She flinched from the nearness of the ceiling, eyes searching automatically for some sort of escape. There was a small hole in the roof on one side to vent smoke and a larger opening in the far wall, the sound of water telling the woman that she had to be near the sea. With no small effort, she fell out of bed, standing up slowly and walking toward the door. She could feel her body start to reenergize itself after a brief hibernatory state and she realized that she must have been very sick for her body to have responded with such a drastic measure. She stumbled and tried to open her wings for balance, noting with a great deal of shock that her wings were bound—tied closed and strapped still along her back. "To keep me from injuring myself in my dreams," she realized, struggling to calm herself.

Somehow, the flightless Skyling made it out of the cave, pulling herself onto the rock at the entrance. Water from a brilliant blue bay lapped at the stone, and Haruka looked out, wondering if the entrance to the bay she could see in the distance, shaded by great tree, led to the sea. Spying a large, flattish and water-worn boulder a good distance out, Haruka decided that she could sit there and clean her wings in the middle of the huge bay. Spying stepping-stones that led to the seat, she headed out of her cave.

Michiru slipped past the guards, silently leaving her kingdom, heading for shore. Ami had told her that the Skyling was in the sea caves, and she knew exactly what her cousin was referring to. Ami had been called away by her father, but Michiru knew she could find the Skyling herself. As she approached the bay, she noted a rippling in her water—there was someone on the great rock in the middle of the water. She slipped under the guardian trees of the bay and moved closer to the rock, slowly lifting her head above water and prayed that the intruder was friendly.

What she saw took her breath away.

Crouched on the rocks, water splashing against sandaled feet and bare legs, was a bronze-skinned woman, short hair colored dark blonde, emerald eyes ignoring her surroundings. She was unwrapping a red cloth from around her golden feathered wings, carefully examining and combing through her feathers. Her skirt, tied around her hips with an elaborated beaded belt, was short on the sides and barely reached beyond the belt itself, falling in a triangle shape to pool on the rock she crouched on in the front and back. It looked like the fringe on the bottom would hang to her feet when she stood and the transparent green silk in the back would flutter behind her when she flew. It was low so as not to hide the belly-button ring she wore, made of gold and bearing a topaz on the top and an emerald dangling from a short chain on the bottom. Her shirt, barely worthy of that name, served only to cover her average-sized breasts—large enough to fill a palm but not large enough to hamper her movement. Like her skirt, her shirt was colored in a golden green and covered in tiny stones, looped around her neck and tied under her breasts and under her great wings, giving her freedom of movement. She wore golden bands on her arms and gold-colored bracers on her wrists, tiny gold hoops in each ear, and a single necklace made of gold, with an aquamarine, sapphire, and topaz on the front of the charm. There was not an ounce of fat on her body, every muscle defined, and she moved with the grace of a dolphin or a land cat.

The winged woman finished picking at her feathers, bending her wings into the water as tiny songbirds would, shaking her feathers to wet them, and Michiru swam closer. This had to be Haruka. She was so beautiful, a perfect goddess, and Michiru wasn't sure what to think. The woman stimulated more than the mermaid's sex drive—every fiber of Michiru's being vibrated in time with the Skyling heartbeat, evidenced by the pulsing along her slender neck. They had a connection stronger than anything in the mortal world, and the mermaid was light-headed from the realization. It was the closets thing to a touch of destiny she had ever felt, and it was overwhelming.

As the blonde shook her wings and opened them to their fullest span, letting the sun dry what she had cleaned so carefully, Michiru pulled herself above the water, grabbing onto the rock. Startled emerald eyes met curious sapphire, and both stared.

Haruka opened her wings wider as she leaned forward, reaching a hand out to touch the mermaid's face. In both minds, the memory of a painting from another world or another life surfaced, the image of a golden-winged Haruka and a delicate blue mermaid. As soon as the image appeared, it vanished, leaving both women staring at their destiny.

"Wow," Haruka whispered, breaking the silence. Her voice was soft and sensual, husky and masculine with a musical feminine lilt all at the same time. Michiru had never heard a sound so magical. "You are the most beautiful woman I have ever seen."

"I haven't seen many pretty women," Michiru whispered, her gently elegance evident in her light voice, "but I'll bet you outshine them all. Are you Haruka, Skyling?"

"I am. I can assume that you are not one of the people watching over me, but do you know who was? I remember a Flame Walker and a Faeri, but nothing else."

"My cousin Ami and her Elf lover were watching you, helped by the Faeri princess Minako and her Flame Walker lover, Rei. I have only just been able to get away from my father's guards to come see you for myself. My name is Michiru, and you are much more breathtaking than I imagined."

Haruka smiled, caressing the mermaid's cheek. "It must have been your approach that woke me, Michiru. I remember flying in my dreams and seeing a mermaid in the sea below me before I woke up. I am the princess of the Skylings, or I will be if I ever return home to the Mountains in the West. I came to the sea searching for my people's ancestral home."

"There were Skylings here, long ago, Haruka. But they left when a rift appeared between our two people. It is said that the Great Crystal shattered and the kingdoms squabbled over it, each one finally taking a part. The Sea Folk's crystal vanished, and they blamed the Skylings so the Skylings left. The old texts that my cousin and I guard and study say that the other races have their crystals, and that all can be reunited one day to create a new peace. Do you have a special crystal in your family, Haruka?"

Haruka pulled the necklace off and looked at it. "Only this. My ancestor found this when she reestablished the royal line. It only responds to females of the royal line. The inscription on the back says: 'Nine souls of crystal / Seven races divided / All one forever.' I don't know what it means."

Michiru pulled herself into a sitting position, eyeing the necklace. "It doesn't make any sense. There's only three crystals on your necklace." She reached out with one clawed finger to touch the tiny aquamarine. At her touch, the golden necklace flared to life, a blue/gold glow enveloping it, seemingly emanating from the three stones. Haruka and Michiru stared as the golden charm shattered, three pieces falling into Haruka's open palm. She flexed her claws, unsure what to do, until the light faded to reveal three crystal points hanging from fine golden chains. One was gold, one was blue-green, and one was the color of sapphire. Michiru made a low whistling sound as Haruka held them up to the light. "What happened?"

"I don't know," the Skyling murmured. "But I think I had a flash of something a moment ago. There were two groups of Sea Folk, one group more green and the other more purple, and they seemed to be making a treaty."

Michiru nodded. "Sure. When the Skylings lived along these shores, there were two groups of Sea Folk. The first kingdom was of the Lakelings and the other was of the Oceanlings. Now we're all Sealings. When the Great Crystal shattered, many believed that there was only one shard for the Merfolk, so after you all left, the two great queens reconciled their differences and merged their kingdoms. My cousin Ami's mother is a direct descendant of the last Lakeling Queen and one of the few cross-breeds we have, though she is more Lake-like. Even after so long, we all stick to our own races. My mother's younger brother married Ami's mother and she was the only child. I am told that my father has Lakeling in his blood, but he refutes it. As time passed and the great scrolls were translated and studied, we realized that there had been two races since the beginning and came to believe that there were actually two shards for the Sea Folk."

"These . . . are these shards of the Great Crystal?"

"Maybe," Michiru whispered, picking up the two blue ones. "The color of the Lakes is sapphire and the color of the Oceans is aqua. Maybe the nine souls of crystal are actually nine shards. If we can find all of the shards, we might be able to remake the crystal. There would be two for the Seas, one for the Skies—the one you hold, I'm sure—one for the Faeries, one for the Flame Walkers, one for the Elves, and one for the Darklings. I assume there is only one for the Plains and the Hills since they used to be the same race and soon will be again. But where's the ninth?"

Haruka smiled as she slipped her necklace on, gesturing for Michiru to hang the aqua crystal around her own neck. Her thoughts turned to a tall queen with dark green hair and garnet eyes. Certainly Setsuna had the final piece of the crystal. "I'm sure we can find it. Tell me, Michiru, what you know about my people."

"We know that you love our songs."

"Songs?" Haruka's mind flew to the morning song of her home and her eyes flew to the tiny scars just barely evident on her wrists. Michiru followed her gaze, looking up quickly and pretending she had not seen anything.

"Lots of songs, Haruka. Songs to call animals forth from the depths of the ocean, songs between a mother and child, songs just for lovers, songs to gather our pods, and songs to worship the morning sun. Like this." Michiru placed her webbed hands on the rock beneath Haruka, tail tracing lazy patterns in the water, sapphire eyes closed. She reached deep inside herself and began to sing, her voice the siren call that led many unwary Landlings to their deaths. Her gentle voice filled the air, enveloping Haruka in a sound so pure, so utterly beautiful that she trembled. It was even better than the Morning Song. She felt the music enter her, filling her, exciting her, and the tingle spread to her wings
and her golden feathers. Warmth covered her wings as Michiru's voice faded, and Haruka looked at her extra appendages, shocked. Oil.

"Oil," she whispered, running her fingers through the pale liquid. "When we lived by the sea, we didn't need the Morning Song because we had your voices. Michiru . . ."

Michiru shifted herself on the rock until she was sure she wouldn't fall back into the water, pulling Haruka's right wing toward her and running her sharp claws through the oil and feathers. Haruka froze and watched Michiru, wings and muscles relaxing under the mermaid's gentle touch. The Skyling closed her striking eyes and began to purr as Michiru moved to her left wing, opening them when the woman finished. "I think we used to comb your people's feathers. I know that our songs can help an injured creature heal faster, and sometimes we sing to sea birds during a great storm to keep them safe. We also comb through their feathers like this."

"No depression," Haruka murmured, feeling that the lust phase was less pronounced and only in response to Michiru's nubile body. She smiled as she wrapped an arm around the sea creature and pulled her close, smiling as she rested her forehead on Michiru's, pulling her healed wings in closer to cocoon them. "I think I've found where I belong."

Ami watched the interaction between the two women from the entrance to the bay, Makoto and Minako concealed in the trees above her. For all intents and purposes, they were all three invisible. "Look at that," the duchess whispered, knowing that the elf and faeri would hear her.

"Too bad they're so different," Minako commented, fluttering her wings. "But they do make the perfect couple."

To be continued