Destiny or Duty
Title: Destiny or Duty
Show: Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon
Timeline: "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", "CAS 4: Princess of Light", "CAS 5: One Last Shining Star", "Destiny or Duty", "Desperately Searching", "Kazeko", "Chronicles of the Star Senshi"
Couples: Haruka/Michiru, Rei/Usagi, Mamoru/Usagi, Makoto/Rei
Series: only as part of my timeline ;-)
Time: Immediately after episode 200
Disclaimer: Takeuchi Naoko owns every character in this story.
Chapter 1: A Night of Tears
Haruka sipped her cool drink, silently watching the stars dance past Tokyo. Her perch on the roof of the house she shared with her beloved, the Guardian of Time, and the little girl with the power to destroy the world, overlooked the entire area. Looking deeper into the city, she could see the Juuban District where her princess, prince, and all of the Inner Senshi lived. She knew they were all asleep, dreaming their innocent dreams silently, ignorant of the pain their outer partners still felt from the earlier battle. And betrayal. Wind, her element, swirled around her, trying to calm her bruised and battered feelings, trying to get her to think of anything else, caressing her, calling to her, exciting her, teasing her mercilessly. Like her Michiru.
Haruka laughed at the sudden thought, for the smaller senshi was not the wind. She was most definitely the sea, the waves, crashing and fierce when disturbed but calm, peaceful, and loving when so gently touched. How was it, then, that they worked so well together; why did Michiru stay with her, why did Michiru love her so very much? Was it fate . . . or the fight?
Haruka's empty glass shattered in her hand and she blinked as she realized how very hard she had been gripping the cup. She stared at the dark blood welling up from the cuts on her palm and slowly, leisurely, dripping to the roof. The tiny pieces of glass embedded in the wound sparkled in the faint moonlight, and the magnified light reminded her of the Star Seeds she and Michiru had stolen from their friends and fellow senshi earlier that day. She saw Saturn and Pluto fade away; she watched as she and Michiru attacked their princess; she touched Michiru's hand as both of them died, their efforts and deception utterly worthless. She squeezed her unhurt hand into a fist, tears welling up in emerald eyes unused to such moisture. She and her Michiru had done their best, tried everything they could, but Galaxia had been too powerful for them. As she had done so many times in the past, Sailor Moon, Tsukino Usagi, Princess Serenity, saved the world alone, by herself, with no help from the eight dead Sailor Senshi sworn to protect their princess, to die before she fell to the enemy. When she needed them most, her guardians had not been there. "Then she brought us back to life," Ten'ou Haruka whispered to the cold, uncaring winds. "She forgave us, she still loves us, even though we almost killed her. Even Setsuna-san and Hotaru-chan forgave us, but we do not deserve such mercy. I do not deserve such mercy."
The Uranian Senshi looked up at her name, startled. Michiru had been sleeping when she left the comfort of their shared bed for the questions posed by the cool night wind. The aqua-haired beauty walked into the pale moonlight, long, loose hair blowing in her partner's gusting wind, silky nightdress revealing her long, shapely legs. "Why are you out here, Haruka?"
The blonde looked away, her short hair shadowing her deep emerald eyes. When her partner didn't answer, Michiru moved closer, gasping when she caught sight of her lover's injured hand. "Oh, Haruka," she whispered, tears in her sapphire eyes as she bent down, white handkerchief in hand. "You shattered your glass."
"It doesn't hurt, Michiru."
The Neptunian Senshi looked up at the taller woman, frowning at the tears sparkling on Haruka's cheeks. "Why are you crying?"
"I've been thinking," the blonde whispered, looking up at the stars.
Michiru knew that her lover would volunteer little else, so she let the silence stretch as she carefully removed the shards of glass from the senshi's hand. "Let's go inside so I can wrap this up," Michiru whispered.
Haruka followed her partner mechanically, her will still lost to the swirling winds. "So tired," she whispered softly, her voice dark and a little frightening. "So very tired." Kaiou Michiru knew that something was dreadfully wrong with her partner, but she waited until Haruka was sitting on their bed, in the light, before she dared to ask.
"Why are you tired, beloved?"
"Why did they forgive us, Michiru?" Haruka countered, eyes still hidden by her short hair, her voice choked with unshed tears. "We killed them, we could have killed her, but they forgave us, anyway. We don't deserve it; I don't deserve it."
"That's how we fight, Haruka. Usagi-san understands that." Michiru used a wet cloth to clean Haruka's hand, thankful that there weren't many cuts and none of the wounds were serious.
"Why does she always forgive us? I hate this fight, Michiru. I hate this war."
"It's our destiny, Haruka."
"What if that's the only reason we're together?"
Michiru's head shot up, tears in her round blue eyes, tears that her lover couldn't see with her head hung. Fear and pain followed the first of the tears, the same emotions that filled Haruka's distant green eyes. "What do you mean? Haruka, I love you. I really do." Her tortured voice was little louder than a whisper, her hand on Haruka's leg clenched into a fist.
"I know," Haruka whispered, looking into her lover's eyes, placing her uninjured hand on the kneeling woman's soft cheek, wiping away the warm tears. "I love you, too, Michiru, but what if there was no fight? Would we still be together? Would we love each other, Michi? Would we stay together? Or would you be with some man, never knowing the racer you only met because of the approaching silence?"
Michiru, searching for something to say, covered Haruka's hand with hers. "I don't know, my love, but I think we would always be together. I hope we would." She felt more tears run over her hand, responding to her lover's pain, and she fought them back. "We're together now, and that's all that matters."
Haruka leaned back and watched, silent, as Michiru wrapped a bandage around her injured hand, pausing often to wipe the obscuring tears away from her sapphire eyes. She wanted to help the young Neptunian princess, but the Uranian had no words of comfort or hope to offer. She had no idea how to make her lover stop crying.
Michiru finished silently, putting the remaining bandages away and slipping into bed beside Haruka, pushing the woman onto their bed and covered her up. "Go to sleep now, Ruka," Michiru whispered. The blonde stared at the ceiling, lost in thought, as her partner princess pulled her lover's arm around herself, needing comfort after their midnight conversation, no matter how false. Haruka's long fingers automatically began to run through the other woman's aqua hair, a gesture that always calmed the younger woman, and Michiru began to relax. Maybe Haruka would be okay. Sighing, Michiru fell into an uneasy sleep, but Haruka was still awake hours later, stroking her girlfriend's hair, lost in thought.