That Path Before Me
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.blue.


"Let not the waves of the sea separate us
now, and the years you have spent in our
midst become a memory.
You have walked among us a spirit, and
your shadow has been a light upon our faces.
Much have we loved you. But speechless
was our love, and with veils has it been veiled.
Yet now it cries aloud unto you, and
would stand revealed before you.
And ever has it been that love knows not
its own depth until the hour of separation."

-- Kahlil Gibran
("The Prophet")

They say that you never know what you had until it's
gone. I never believed them until now. Before me an endless sky
of possiblities and opportunities stretch out its beckoning
hands. The winds have lifted me higher than ever before but then
the silence came and nothing but emptiness remained up in this
sky, this ocean of darkness. Michiru must have felt the absence
of the watery sea of our homeland, she spends so much time now in
the simulation rooms, rebuilding data files that might have
slipped by and I catch her looking out into the universe before
us with a pensive sadness that she never used to express
before.

It is lonely here without the princess. She was our
everything and as a soldier, I feel the loss of guardianship
plaguing me like the inescapable silence. It will be centuries
before communication can be restablished with the city now known
as Crystal Tokyo, and another century or more for us to return
from wherever it is that we may roam. I now wonder how we will
ever be able to last that long.

Michiru suggested temporary hybernation, something that
Ami had came up with before we had left. Yet, my pride stops me
as it had many times before. It is too easy a road to take and I
refuse its comfort. For if I close my eyes, I will dream, and I
know that dreams will not bring me the peace of mind that others
take for granted. I have too many memories to recall, too much of
darkness hidden within me just waiting to be explored, to take
sleep and dreams for comfort. I cannot. I refuse to. And I fear
it, but I shall never accept such a feeling within me known as
reluctance.

Serenity, how you have changed me!

Before I had known Michiru, I had not lived except for
the call of the wind that was always out of reach to me. I had
reached for it for so long that when I had finally found it by
this siren of the ocean, I was surprised. She brought with her
a curse, a gift, and a future that I chose to take when I
realized that destiny in itself was inescapable, for it had made
me who I am.

It was as inescapable as this silence.

Now I see why our *hime-chan had feared her own powers,
and that her struggles, even in the end, had been painful. I
miss her. Our daughter, our other-half. I wish I could see her
now before me, breathing, alive, and smiling. But I have only
memories to live with now and they are not enough.

A whisper passes by me and I know she's here.

Michiru.

My only salvation.

My only light.

Without her I would be nothing. And even as I live with
the emptiness of loss, of the faces I can no longer see, I know I
can survive this silent torment. But I cannot live without her.
There are such silences that one shall never overcome. I
acknowledge that now, and over the centuries it was a fact I had
learned to accept.

I can live without Serenity, knowing that she is happy.

I cannot live without Michiru.

Even now, she smells of the ocean, that distant ocean
that I fell in love with. She calls to me like no other, she
calls to me so silently that not even the beautious voices of the
wind can sweep it away or hide her intentions. Her heart is as
expressive as those eyes that shimmer into mine like an endless
stretch of reflective pools. Sometimes I cannot bear what I see
in her eyes because I see myself and I am plagued by the doubts
of why she loves me. Yet, in those eyes I have learned to love
life. Enjoy it for more than the wind, for more than the rush
and the races and the flirtatious looks and the stolen breathless
kisses.

Loneliness had once sent whispers through my soul but now
Michiru fills that with a soothing touch, a soft, lulling call,
and I am once again set free, this time by love. As free as if
the wind is still in my hair and pulling me in, towards the
infinite sky I had left behind me.

She is like that sky.

A perfect reflection that hides the depth that lies
within.

The ocean transforming before my eyes. Unfurling those
powerful waves that calms yet can destroy.

She will always fascinate me.

And I will always love her for it. For herself. For the
ocean within her.

Those pale arms, the color of the untinted foam, wrap
around me. Her prescence is unavoidable, but her actions still
manage to surprise me and please me all at once.

"Haruka," she whispers into my ear.

For once, the wind would not have been enough. It could
never bring out this need and this warmth within me. It had
never called to me with this deep and hidden passion, this
intensity beneath the calmness, this churning that has drowned me
willingly a million times over into a bright oblivion of endless
passion.

"You are dreaming again." She tells me.

I do not turn to those fathomless eyes, but I can tell
that she is smiling, yet that the smile is sad and tinged with
memories of her own.

"I see that you have returned from simulation. Is
everything alright?"

Her hair shifts upon my shoulder as she nods one brief
nod of confirmation. No words but I can feel the answer she
gives to me. Answers that no words can express.

She misses the princess... no, Queen, as well.

I have only the darkness before me on the viewing screen
to contend with because I am yet unready to face the woman beside
me, behind me, and all around me. I have yet to concede to my
defeat at my inability to ignore her and her beguiling presence.

"Are you dreaming of her?"

Was I surprised at such a question? I cannot answer
that, nor can I say that I expected that. No one ever expects to
be confronted with such a question, even if they prepare
themselves for it. A strange paradox, but I have learned that
life is filled with them.

There might have been jealousy in her voice as well, but
I am uncertain of that. It is the one thing I could never be
sure of when it comes to Michiru, when it comes to her feelings
for Usagi, for Serenity.

Perhaps, she is uncertain herself?

Yet the idea did not suit her, for Michiru never seemed
to be uncertain of anything concerning herself nor the people
around her. Michiru was as certain as the sea, unwavering and
undenying to the depth it hides to the splendid moon and the
beauteous Earth.

Michiru would not be uncertain.

"Yes."

I cannot deny this, or lie to her. My hand rises and
grasps onto her wrist, pulling it back as I stand and turn to
her. Perhaps a confrontation on such a subject had been
inevitable. It had been the hidden current beneath our
relationship since we met the odango-blonde child who changed
into a splendid Queen.

"Are you in love with her?"

Michiru's eyes are unwavering.

Her question drowns me.

She was not like the youthful girls who throw temper
tantrums at their lovers when they discover that
their love had been unfulfilled. She would not back down in
tears when the truth was spoken nor does she hide her pain. The
ocean swirled within her eyes, threatening to take me with this
storm, but I would never be able to lie to her. It was not a
choice but a fact.

Yet, I too am uncertain.

Do I love my Queen?

I had never thought about it until now. Never thought
about what type of love I had for her. Yes, I had questioned
myself many times before on the topic, but the answer had always
been a simple yes. I loved her!... I love her. But who was she
that I love and what type of love did I hold for my gracious
Queen?

Do I love the child that I met so long ago?

Do I love the warrior that I protected just as long ago?

Do I love the princess that believed so infinitely,
without hesitation or bounds?

Or do I love the Queen that now stands in her place?
Ruling a kingdom and raising a child that I will not see until
she too becomes a woman.

Who did I love?

Why do I love her?

"Yes, I love her."

There are no tears in Michiru's eyes. But the storm
within it increased and now she looked... sad? But not confused,
not demanding, or screaming, or anything like that of a normal
lover. She was not like that. But if she had told me the same
thing I might have screamed, I might have raged, or at the very
least, let the pain spill forth, but that is only a dream scenerio
because I know -- somewhere deep inside -- that I too will not act
so young.

That is not to say that Michiru did not have her passion.
She had more than enough of it! You can hear it in her music, see
it in her paintings, and I have relived it, again and again,
every time she touches me or searches deeply into my eyes.

She does not express herself the way that passionate
youth does with their screaming and fighting and noise. She
tells me of it in whispers and gasps and the catch in her breath
when we touch as the darkness surrounds and wraps around us.

She is my passion. My everything!

Some might have said that we have lost our innocence too
early. They might interpret our silence and our coldness as
signs of those untouched by love and untainted by passion. They
might think us aloof and rigid in our belief.

When I look into Michiru's eyes, I am constantly reminded
of my aliveness, of the intensity within her and the life still
burning in my breast. I am reminded of the simple joys of
breathing and the way a touch can change your whole world into
joy, love, and desire.

I say we never had the luxury of innocence, but we had
been blessed by the momentary escapes of love.

To be a soldier, there is no youth that you can imagine,
there are no wars that you have not yet fought, and there are no
horrors that you have not yet experienced. There is no such
thing as youth in being a soldier. There is no innocence in
being one. I can remember the soul I carry is older than the
cities on the planet of my birth, I know the dreams of blood and
cries of anguish beyond this time and this place, I remember.
In remembrance, in duty, in life, I have never known this naivity.
I have never experienced this youth that others speak of.

But I have experienced love, and that makes up for all my
years of disenchantment and my days of pain and burning tears
that refused to fall. Michiru has shown me that, shown me the
importance of love in my life and Serenity taught me that
dependence on such a thing is not weakness but a strength.

Every breath I take may be a breath I add to my aged
soul. Every star I count, may be another landmark on the dark
road I've travelled. I wish I could spare Michiru those same
burdens that lie upon her shoulders. I wish I could prevent her
pain from the words I speak and the truth that shines within my
eyes. But she is me, and I cannot lie to her as I have done so
many times to Serenity.

I cannot lie to myself.

Her warm palm reached my cheek, and I tighten my grip on
her lithe wrist compulsively. I have forgotten that I had been
holding onto her, but such unconsious needs will not go
unignored.

There is a wetness to her palm as she sweeps her glove
covered hand across my cheek, and I blink startled.

"Don't cry." She tells me softly.

I am surprised at my actions. My free hand covers hers,
and a few of my fingers touch the warm liquid trailing down my
cheek.

"I'm sorry." I finally say.

I let her go. I step back and let her go. Watching her
eyes widen slightly like luminous pools of unending sea on a
stormy day, sad and pensive, hiding secrets I would never be
able to hear or touch. Perhaps one day, she will allow me to
explore her soul and discover the treasures that she keeps only
for herself...

The ocean has calmed slightly, now, and though the sadness
lingers, she only smiles. Her hands reach for my face, my wet
cheeks feel that warmth and I am reminded of the power of her
touch. Her soul brushes against mine, like her lips and her scent
and her hair. Her beauty threatens to drown me and I could only
close my eyes and give myself completely over, hoping that she
will accept this tattered and over worn soul that has yet to know
rest and life and innocence.

The distance closes and she is in my arms and I am
complete.

Perhaps I am closing my eyes for fear of what she will
find there. This need so great for her touch and presence that
going on without her would be impossible. I do not wish for her
to know this vulnerability within me for her, this knowledge that
I would never be able to continue on this journey or any journey,
without her beside me as my partner, my lover, and my soul.

She is my everything.

She is my serenity.

She is my other half; a part of my broken soul.

I have long learned that living without her is not living
at all. My hell is life without her; breath without her breath,
dream without her dream, and life without her life.

There are many reasons why I love Serenity. Because that
girl-child turned woman still holds an innocence, a trusting
naiveness I shall never have. She is the light of my darkness,
she is the dream of my disbelief, she is the faith of my
hopelessness.

But Michiru is my other half.

She is within me and around me and part of me.

I cannot live without her.

I need her more than the wind that calls my name and
whispers secrets into my ear, I need her more than the light of
the rising sun and the smell of the Earth beneath me, I need her
more than my freedom -- and sometimes that revelation scares me.

I need her.

I love her.

And I would die without her.

Serenity is hope.

Michiru is life.

How can I choose which I love more?

How can I choose between such things of life?

I love Serenity and I always will, but I love Michiru
just as much and probably more. Some may call me treasonous,
others, selfish. I cannot deny that my love and duty conflict in
the field, that many times I am torn between protecting my lover
and the life of my princess.

But that is the life of a soldier.

I will miss Earth, and the smell rising from the dark
soil beneath my feet. I will miss its blue sky that have often
beckoned me forth, to go and reach for the impossible. I will
miss the silent and haunting songs of the wind that is a part of
myself, not always invisible and never will it be gone. But for
now, I will follow my duties and live here in the vast and
empty space. Traveling from planet to planet, searching for the
birth of new worlds that had been destroyed after the wrath of
Galaxia.

The ocean stirs.

I am glad that for now, it is safe to dream of a future
not on the verge of collapsing. That the knowledge of Michiru's
life pacifies me. She is breathing my breath, sharing my love,
and dreaming my dreams. And for now, all of these treasured
moments will last.

She wraps her pale arms around my neck as she does her
soul around my own. Somewhere the computer is beeping, telling
us of the distant world and climates. I catch words here and
there, but all I can feel is the soft brush of her breath and
the strong beat of her heart close to mine.

I smile, knowing that those pale arms around my neck may
soon gain a tan, and I might be able to hear the familiar call of a
foreign wind whispering secrets into my ears. But for now, I close
my eyes and turn my ears inward. Feeling her lips on my own, brushing
against me and pulling me to her. Tightly raveling her threads of
binding love around me.

For now, I can only hear the rushing currents of the cool
blue ocean beside me, around me, beneath me, within me. And it
drowns me and it holds me in its embrace.

The wind spirit within me answers the siren's call and I
am home...

Home to my love.


The End

blue@icedream.f2s.com

*hime-chan -- Haruka is referring to Tomoe
Hotaru (NOT Serenity-hime). Both Haruka &
Michiru, as well as Setsuna, are known to
call Hotaru, hime-chan. Because to them
she's THEIR little princess.

Dedicated to Naomi, who I'll never email
about her AWESOME, BEAUTIFUL, WONDERFUL,
fanfics. *bows to Naomi-sama, bow, bow, envy*
... ^-^;; Ignore that last part... *cough
nervously* So go read her "Awakening the
Spirit" and "The Fire's Secret"

Anyho, this fic is also written to compensate
for the complaints I've been getting from
CaviS about being too depressing... (At
least I'm cute about it when I'm doing it!) ;p
I thought I'd write something "uplifting", so
to speak ^-^v and it's not Usa/Mamo so CaviS
can breathe easy! Hopefully, he'll get a move
on the next chapter of Rifts *pointed look @ the
author of Rifts*

Special thanx to my editor A.L. a Campo
who's help in editting my urr...
interesting grammar/spelling stories is
VERY much appreciated!

Well... I certainly hope you enjoyed this brief
entertainment! ^-^v

Ja ne for now! ^-^


.blue.
blue@icedream.f2s.com