Show: Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon
Timeline: "The Last Sacrifice: The End of the Silver Millennium", ("Horoscope"), "CAS 1: The Trouble with Love", "CAS 2: To Defy Destiny", "Every Cloud", "Crystal Shards", ("Horoscope"), "CAS 3: Unwilling Accomplice", "The Reason We Fight", "CAS 4: Princess of Light", "The Reason We Still Fight", "The Reason We Fought", ("Horoscope"), "CAS 5: One Last Shining Star", "In the Darkest Forest", "Destiny or Duty", "Desperately Searching", ("Horoscope"), "Kazeko", "Chronicles of the Star Senshi", "Horoscope"
Couples: Haruka and Michiru
Finished: yes, 2005
Author's Note: Every time the scene changes, so does the time period. You can see from the timeline above how complicated and all-encompassing this fic is. Some parts require knowledge of the 5th season of Sailor Moon to understand. There is a slight spoiler for the end of "Desperately Searching" and the end of the "Chronicles of the Star Senshi". Enjoy! Valentine's Day fic.
The shrill screech of the alarm clock filled the small apartment, followed by a sharp crash and sudden silence as a seriously annoyed hand introduced it to the idea of flight. The owner of that long-fingered pianist's hand groaned as she pushed the blanket off her face. Now she had to buy another new clock. Haruka glared at the remains of her only time piece and considered going back to sleep. No, she couldn't. "I have a race today," she murmured. "Coach will kill me if I don't show up." Resigning herself to her fate, the tall, blonde, masculine, Junior High School track sensation, Junior F-1 Racer, playboy, untamable flirt slipped out of bed, kicked her now-broken clock, and headed for the bathroom. Ten minutes later, after a very brisk, cold shower, Haruka emerged, drying her short, unruly hair with one hand and digging through her closet for a clean uniform with the other. Any clean uniform would work.
Haruka wandered into the kitchen of her apartment, buttoning her shirt as she draped her jacket across the back of her chair, heading for her cupboard. Grabbing the nearest half-eaten box of extra-sugary American cereal, Haruka poured herself a bowl, dumped some milk over it, and inhaled the small meal. Her mother would have been upset at her eating habits, but Haruka loved sugar too much to give it up. Dropping her dishes in the sink, the blonde opened her door and retrieved her newspaper, dropping it on the table as she gathered her school supplies. She flipped to the horoscope as she buttoned her jacket and straightened her tie.
"AQUARIUS: Jan. 21—Feb. 19: This is your prime time, so watch who jumps on your bandwagon this week. You could meet someone who supplies what's been lacking in your love life. Show how well you can take charge this weekend, when an unexpected delay tests your mettle."
Haruka snorted. "Yeah, right."
Michiru hummed as she brushed her hair, her alarm clock silent. She never needed it. Her meal was simple but healthy, including fruit and bread and juice. She hated the American sugar cereals, knowing that it caused cavities. Hair brushed, the woman straightened her skirt and grabbed her sketchpad, taking the paper with her. She always read it on the bus to school.
As the scenery sped past, Michiru skimmed through the head stories, finding one about a handsome blonde racer winning yet another race. Ten'ou Haruka. She was half in love with that racer, though she knew that Haruka was a woman and not a man as the media claimed. She had a favorite fantasy about riding along the beach in Haruka's gold convertible, the one place the sea and wind met, the one place she would feel content and could forget her Senshi duties for just a little while. Turning the page, she flipped through the paper, ending on the horoscope pages. Silly superstition. Michiru wouldn't dare plan an important event without consulting her almanac for good and bad days, but the horoscope was so Americanized that it was stupid. Somehow, though, she couldn't look away. Sighing, the aqua-haired Junior High student read the words.
"PISCES: Feb. 20—Mar. 20: You're strong enough to change your life for the better this week. Follow your inspiration to a pot of gold. Your heart could be blown away by an Aquarius this weekend. Sharing strong opinions seals your destiny together."
Aquarius? Michiru snorted as she closed the paper, eyes landing on the racer's face. So strong, yet so feminine. Thinking for a moment, Michiru realized that a friend of hers, Elsa Grey, was going to be in a race that afternoon. And Ten'ou Haruka was one of her opponents. And Haruka was an Aquarius . . . This was stupid! She couldn't believe that stupid little line in the paper! And still, she had a feeling . . . Kaiou Michiru, Sailor Neptune with a duty to fight the Silence, decided to obey that damn horoscope.
Haruka dried her hair, glaring at Michiru as she sat serenely on the couch, sketching. "Never again, Michiru-san. Skinny dipping—any swimming—is not for me."
"You caught on," the artist smiled. "We'll try again later."
"Never. I feel like I need another bath! How do you get all of the salt out of your hair!"
Michiru shrugged as she readjusted the sleeves of her borrowed shirt. "I never have a problem and I swim all of the time. Maybe you just need to get used to it."
Haruka leaned closer, emerald eyes glowing. She placed her free hand on Michiru's cheek, freezing the artist's pencil, her half-buttoned shirt showing a great deal of her still-damp cleavage. "I said 'no'. No more swimming. Not unless you can beat me in a fair race, humans and Senshi."
Michiru caught her breath and touched Haruka's cheek. "I'm game whenever you are."
The blonde snorted as she moved away, throwing her towel carelessly across the chair. "Whatever. Anyway, do you want me to take you home yet?"
Michiru froze at the words, tears filling her eyes. "Do . . . do you want me to go home yet, Haruka-san?"
Haruka paused, turning to face her aqua-haired guest. "No, I don't. I didn't think you would want to stay around me much longer. But I don't have much to eat . . ."
Michiru smiled as she placed her sketchpad on the table. "I'm sure I can find something. After all, you treated my wounds."
"Speaking of your wounds, let me look at them." Haruka stood behind Michiru as the artist removed her borrowed shirt to reveal the bandages she had replaced after her swim. She hadn't let Haruka examine her wounds after she removed the sea- soaked gauze and the water-proof tape, so the blonde gently peeled the tape away, wondering if they had gotten worse. Her emerald eyes widened at the smooth, unbroken, perfectly healthy skin revealed, unable to believe that the siren healed so fast. "Michiru-san . . ."
"I know. They're already healed. I replaced the bandages to make you feel better. It's part of being a Senshi. I was afraid it would . . ."
"Freak me out? No, Michiru-san. I just didn't expect it is all. So . . . what about supper? You said you can cook . . ."
Michiru laughed and took Haruka's hand, leading her to the kitchen. "We'll find something, Haruka-san."
Unnoticed, a newspaper clipping lay on the table. Haruka's horoscope.
"Aquarius: Jan. 21—Feb. 19: There is trouble in your future, but a pure heart and the one you love can pull you through. Don't trust strangers, beware false promises, and be true to your heart. Today you will find what you are looking for."
"Pisces: Feb. 20—Mar. 20: Danger colors your every move, and darkness clouds your vision. Don't let external problems ruin your relationship this week. A sign will appear to light your way; trust in the love and strength of others. Today you will find what you are looking for."
Haruka stared at the words on the page, the matching line in both horoscopes. "Today you will find what you are looking for." She cut out the horoscopes and put the clipping in her desk drawer beside the other interesting newspaper articles she had collected. "True to your heart," she whispered. "But what if I don't know what my heart wants? I can't fall in love with Michiru because of our mission, but . . . 'the one you love can pull you through.' Michiru. And the pure heart . . . today we will find them. Today the talismans will appear and three innocent people will die." Haruka dropped the paper and headed for the pool where she knew Michiru would be.
Haruka watched Michiru sleep, smiling, unable to belief her good luck. Michiru loved her. It was more than the lanky blonde had ever hoped for. But there she was, sleeping peacefully, undisturbed by her lover's thoughts, lying on her back with one hand held to her breast and the other on her bare belly. Her wavy aqua locks rested calmly over her shoulders, moving only slightly with her every breath.
"Enjoying the view?"
Haruka smiled, reaching out to take Michiru's hand. She had known, somehow, that the younger senshi was awake. "I really am. I don't know why I resisted your charms for so long. Even my power isn't so incredible . . ."
Michiru blushed and pulled Haruka's long fingers to her lips, kissing them gently as the memory of what transpired the night before brought another blush to her cheek. "It . . . it was my first time, Haruka."
"With a woman?"
"With anyone," Michiru clarified, her voice shaking. "I . . . I hope . . ."
Haruka wrapped her arms around her lover, pulling the smaller woman close. "You were perfect, Michiru. I never would have known if you didn't say anything. Do you think that some of it, some of us, was from before, from the life we can't remember? Our time in the Silver Millennium, the vague images I dream every now and then, makes me wonder if we are reenacting our relationships from back then. Were you and I . . . lovers in the Silver Millennium, and did we get in trouble for a relationship between two Senshi? Did the queen punish us?"
Michiru sat up and kissed Haruka's forehead. "No, I don't think so. Our queen must have been the most perfect woman and her power stemmed from love. She could never have punished us for falling in love, especially if Tsukino Usagi is her daughter. She forgives us no matter what we do."
Haruka nodded, remembering the day before when Usagi, Sailor Moon, touched the Holy Grail and transformed, saving them all. "And we will find the Messiah and she will also forgive us. I just know it." Haruka paused, letting her eyes caress Michiru's perfect body. "My horoscope was right. I did find what I was looking for."
"Haruka! You don't believe that superstitious nonsense!"
The blonde nodded emphatically. "Of course! Because it led me to you."
"Haruka, what do you mean? A horoscope couldn't . . ." She was silenced by Haruka's gentle lips, ending the entire conversation.
"Aquarius: Jan. 21—Feb. 19: Beware. All signs point to a violent day with sacrifice and destruction. Today you will have to choose between your happiness and the future of all that you love. That choice will bring your death."
"Pisces: Feb. 20—Mar. 20: Your life today will prove insignificant to the preservation of the greater good, so make your death count. Your closeness to your loved one will choose the course of battle, so be aware of your partner's thoughts. Love will save the day if it proves true."
Haruka stared at the paper, shaking her head. How could it be true? How could something like that be printed in a newspaper? It didn't seem real, actually. Curious, she read the rest of the horoscope section, calling to mind which of the Senshi fell under which Zodiac sign.
"Aries: Mar. 21—Apr. 20: Fight well and protect the ones you love. Death is not the only end and light can penetrate the darkest forest." Rei. Sailor Mars. Die?
She skipped Taurus and Gemini, ignoring Cancer for the moment. "Leo: July. 23—Aug. 21: The path has been long and fraught with hardship, and the forest seems endless. Perhaps today will bring you freedom, death or life. Remember the one you love for you must embrace that love if you want to be reunited and create the perfect future." Huh? That didn't make any sense. Mamoru was alive and well in America and nothing that Galaxia did in Japan could hurt him. Unless he was already dead. Haruka cleared her throat to banish the sudden moisture.
"Virgo: Aug. 22—Sept. 23: All of the brains in the world mean nothing in a world of emotion where love is the truest and only power. Never forget that, no matter how dark things become." Ami's genius had always been her greatest and most trustworthy power in battle. If that failed, how could the Senshi win against Galaxia?
"Libra: Sept. 24—Oct. 23: A true leader knows what to do in times of joy and peace as well as times of great war and strife. Do not be afraid to lead your troops and die with your troops for that is the true mettle of a leader." Minako was also going to die. Did that mean that the other Senshi and Sailor Moon were doomed?
"Scorpio: Oct. 24-Nov. 22: That which makes you different will not save you today. You must accept your fate so that the future will come to pass. When the moment comes for the most important choice, remember who your family is and let yourself love. It is the only power that can make a difference." Setsuna. Like the woman herself, the short horoscope was cryptic beyond belief. The only word that made any sense was future, Pluto's power and domain.
"Sagittarius: Nov. 23—Dec. 22: Your power has always risen from your strength, but today you must let your strength lead to another type of power, the kind that comes from the heart. You have surrendered before and you must again, no matter the consequence. Do not be afraid." Makoto, physically the strongest of the Inner Senshi and very close to a match for Haruka herself. If she wasn't going to be strong enough to defeat Galaxia, how could Haruka's power be enough?
"Capricorn: Dec. 23—Jan. 20: The power of death is never the greatest and rebirth is merely a faint hope. Remember that even those who seem to betray really do still love you. That strength will help you in the forest." Oh, no. Hotaru. No one who loved Hotaru could possibly betray her.
Usagi. Haruka had saved Usagi for last. Reluctantly, Haruka's emerald eyes returned to the princess's horoscope. "Cancer: June 22—July 22: Love is your greatest power and will light the way in the darkest of times. Those who fight for you always love you and will return when the world is safe once more. Remember that you are never alone, and your power is the greatest of all." Never alone. No, Usagi was never alone, and she never would be. Not if Haruka had anything to say about it.
The blonde tore the page out of the newspaper and slipped into the back of the drawer where she stored newspaper clippings. Tossing the paper into the recycling bin, the blonde headed for the kitchen, trying to push the words out of her mind. She stopped still at the sight of the newspaper on the counter, the exact same one she had just thrown away. Reaching out, she opened it to the horoscope page. It was empty, a caption reading that the psychics had not been able to see anything coherent that day and that it would return tomorrow. Dropping the paper, Haruka dashed to the recycling bin and stared at the empty plastic container. The paper was gone. She reached out and opened her desk drawer, fully expecting the page she had just put in there to be blank or gone. She was shocked to find that it, at least, had not changed.
"Haruka? What are you doing?"
"Nothing," the Senshi of the Winds whispered. "Are we ready to go?"
"Hotaru-chan is dressed and Setsuna-san is standing outside with a very sad look on her face. I think she knows something that we don't."
Haruka took her mate's arm and headed for the door. "Maybe not."
"Haruka! You're not dressed yet!"
"I'm getting there, Michiru. You're not ready, either."
The younger woman crossed her arms over her chest and glared at her mate. "Ruka, you promised Usagi-chan that we would be there on time! Please go brush your hair and find your suit. It's a very important concert for Rei-chan and Minako-chan. They'll be very upset if we don't show up on time!"
Haruka nodded and reached into the closet, quickly locating the black suit that Michiru had deemed proper for the concert. Michiru crossed her arms over her chest and watched the blonde dress, acting for all the world like an enraged mother with a troublesome child.
"You're not a troublesome child," Michiru sighed, her fierce demeanor softening into a gentle smile. "You know that, koibito."
"I know. And I thought I told you that it's not nice to read my thoughts."
Michiru reached out and caught Haruka's hand, smiling kindly as she ran her fingers through the taller woman's perpetually-unruly hair. "I couldn't help it, Ruka. You were pouting. Very loudly. Hand me my wrap and we can go."
Haruka brightened at the promise of a drive as Michiru wrapped a black lacy shawl around her shoulders. She was also in black, the preferred color for a fancy concert—or so she tried to tell her lover—and the matched pair headed for Haruka's car. Before they got there, Haruka paused and turned her lover to face her. "Michi, what do you want for Valentine's Day?"
"I don't know, Ruka. I hadn't thought about it yet."
"But it's on Monday and today is Friday! Are you sure you don't know?"
Michiru took Haruka's long-fingered hand and kissed it gently. "I have you, koibito, and that's all I ever needed. No amount of fancy presents and flowers can change that. I only need you, and I only ever have."
Haruka swallowed, fighting the tears that threatened to spill from her eyes. "That was . . . I don't know what to say, Michi."
Michiru shook her head and pulled Haruka to the car. "You don't have to, koibito. You never have to. Let's go, shall we?"
As Haruka watched Rei's concert, amazed at how the woman had grown in power and talent since they first met, she slipped her arm around Michiru's shoulder and pulled the woman closer. She had no idea what she would do for Valentine's Day, but she knew what she wanted to do that night. Michiru purred softly against her shoulder, and Haruka knew that she was thinking the same thing.
Haruka opened her eyes, panting, as a very vivid vision faded from her mind. Mermaids and Skylings, Elves and Faeries and Fire Walkers . . . everyone was there. All of the senshi. What was that? She looked over at Michiru, frowning at the pain on her lover's face. She could sense the younger woman's terror and love . . . Michiru's blue eyes shot open as the dream ended, and she stared up at Haruka. "Picture," she whispered. "Do you remember that picture, Ruka? The one of the angel and mermaid! Usagi-chan once said that their people would never let them be together. It was true . . ."
"We found our own way, koishii," Haruka whispered, pulling Michiru closer. "It was nothing but a very strange dream. Maybe it stems from what we were up to last night," she purred suggestively. Michiru giggled and nodded.
"I really don't know what got into you, either. Was it Rei's concert?"
"I think so. Or that dress you were wearing . . ."
Michiru smiled and closed her sapphire eyes. "Go to sleep, koibito. We'll talk in the morning. Go back to sleep now."
Haruka stayed awake long after her lover's breathing had steadied, long after the moon set, until the first faint blush of dawn touch the darkened sky, and she finally knew what she was going to give Michiru for Valentine's Day.
"Sir? I have shown you all of the rings we have . . ."
Haruka shook her head. "These are all too plain for her. She's a very special woman. Do you have a special one?"
The clerk raised his eyebrow as he remembered the new rings that had just come in. "We do, but . . . it is very expensive, sir."
Haruka rolled her eyes and slipped her wallet out of her pocket. It was one that Michiru had bought for her, dark navy with her name in kanji in gold across the cover and in English on the inside. She considered it a little too expensive for her tastes, but it was a functional tri-fold, and that was all she cared about. "Money is no object where love is concerned, you see." The clerk caught sight of her name and almost fainted, catching himself on the counter.
"Gomen'nasai, Ten'ou-san! I had no idea . . . let me get the ring right now! I am sure you will like it!" Haruka chuckled at the power of her name as the little man scurried out of sight, never noticing a certain green-haired senshi peek into the shop in a very un-Senshi like move.
"What is Haruka-san doing in a jewelry store?" Setsuna backed away so the blonde would not see her as she continued her trek to the candy store. She had promised Hotaru some chocolates, American chocolates, for Valentine's Day. "I guess she's getting Michiru-san a present," she decided. "That must be it."
"Aquarius: Jan. 21—Feb. 19: This year Valentine's Day is very special, so make sure your partner sees that. No matter what you do today, your partner will never forget it. It is a good time to secure an old relationship and make it forever."
"Pisces: Feb. 20—Mar. 20: Today let your heart speak for you. This is no time to be indecisive when your partner makes a move. Today will be very special for you."
Haruka folded the paper and whispered a brief prayer to every kami and bodhisattva she could think of, palms sweating as the paper joined all of the other special horoscopes in the drawer. Today had to go well.
Michiru and Haruka finished the song, both bowing, the aqua-haired woman reluctantly letting her mind return to the mundane plane from its flight with Haruka far above the earth. In the past, before she met her soulmate, Michiru's spirit wandered alone during her performances, and she always knew that she was missing something. With Haruka, though, she felt complete, their minds and spirits so closely linked that neither felt complete without the other. The muted applause as the music faded was the rowdiest the small, elegant nightclub would support, but the only person that mattered to Michiru was her partner standing at the piano. Haruka bowed again, gesturing for Michiru to wait before leaving the stage. She took center stage and cleared her throat, waiting for the noise to die down. Michiru couldn't see her partner's nervousness for all the years that they had been together, for which the blonde was grateful.
"Michiru and I have been performing together at least since we began High School seven years ago, and we have been playing duets here almost that long, certainly before I became known for the piano. That is why I chose this diner for tonight." Michiru looked at her lover, eyebrows raised, as the tall blonde turned to face her. "Michiru, we have been together for a long time, and I would like for 'a long time' to become 'forever'." She crouched down on one knee, pulling a small blue box out of her pocket, watching as Michiru's sapphire eyes filled with tears. The aqua-haired senshi swallowed, hands flying to her mouth as she began to shake her head almost imperceptibly in wonder.
Haruka opened the box, revealing the perfect ring she had argued with the clerk at the jewelry store about, praying that it was good enough for her Michiru.
A sigh spread through the room at the absolute beauty of the ring that shone brightly enough to be visible to every patron of the diner. "Aishiteru, Michiru," the blonde senshi whispered. "Will you marry me?"
Absolute silence reigned in the diner as Haruka held her breath, blood pounding in her ears, heart beating as fiercely as if she had just run a marathon, her entire world hanging on her lover's answer. She could feel the other diners leaning forward in their seats, praying for her, knowing that the magic of Valentine's Day would help bring those two perfect hearts close together.
Michiru reached out one trembling hand, finger just barely brushing across the tiny diamond flower on the golden band, and her sudden half-sob broke the tension in the room. "Yes," she whispered, tears running down her cheeks. "Kami-sama, yes, Haruka."
The blonde pulled the delicate ring out of the box and slipped it on Michiru's slender finger, biting her lip until it was safely on. She had been so afraid that it wouldn't fit.
Suddenly overwhelmed by the sheer reality of her lover's answer, Haruka shot to her feet and pulled Michiru into her arms, kissing her as cheers sounded through the formerly quiet room. Gods she loved this woman!
"I remember," Michiru whispered, her voice full of many more decades of knowledge and maturity. "What horoscopes?"
Haruka grinned, the roguish motion dispelling her business-like Uranus persona. "Well, about that . . . I still have them."
"Haruka! After all this time?"
"They were important to me," the blonde whispered, heading to a nearby chest. Opening the lip, she removed an ancient envelope protected by many spells to keep the pages fresh and handed her wife clippings from extinct newspapers, the ink faded but readable. Michiru scanned the small kanji and tight hiragana, printed by a press that no longer existed, last remnants of a fallen civilization, and she laughed.
"I can't believe you, Haruka! This is us . . . these words were written for us! Oh . . . are these from the day we fought Galaxia?"
"Yes. They weren't in the regular paper and the one I got them from vanished when I threw it away. They didn't disappear, though. It took me a long time to realize that those words were saying that we were destined to lose against Galaxia so that Sailor Moon could heal her and bring her back into the light."
"We should frame these," the sea senshi mused as she glanced around their living room for a place to hang them. Like all of the Senshi who lived in the Crystal Palace, the Ten'ou-Kaiou pair owned an entire suite, almost a wing of the spacious palace, which was expanding again after the threat of the Black Moon family was gone. Also, the Queen was pregnant and wanted her next child to have as much space as Chibiusa.
Haruka caught Michiru's hands and stared into her partner's sapphire eyes. "I missed you so much," she whispered, all hilarity gone. "You can frame and hang up whatever you want if it means that you won't ever leave me again."
Michiru slipped one hand free and caressed Haruka's cheek. "Never, koibito. I never meant to leave you, and it almost killed me. It will never happen again." She kissed her wife, all of the passion they had shared when they were younger returning, surging through them, and Haruka groaned.
"Can we finish this conversation with a little less clothing on?"
Michiru giggled. "Of course. But first I have a surprise, a Valentine's Day gift for you."
"Valentine's Day? Today? I thought it was a few days ago."
"It was. The day you and I were reunited when you pulled me from the depths of the gas clouds of Neptune. Do you remember the power surge when the life-forces of our planets touched to free me?"
"Of course I do! I was sore for so long . . . even when we went back in time so you could give Usagi-chan a blood transfusion before she even met us."
Michiru smiled and twined fingers with her wife. "Ruka, do you remember the last time you and I were linked by that much power? Or, rather, the first time?"
"When we conceived Helios? And Kazeko?" Haruka's emerald eyes widened, and she fell, landing in Michiru's lap. "Michiru . . . you're not saying . . . I wasn't even thinking it! Honest!"
Michiru grinned. "But it happened anyway. Haruka, in nine months, you will be the proud mother of triplet girls."
"Three?" For the first time in her life, Haruka fainted.
"Happy Valentine's Day," Michiru whispered.