Disclaimer: I don't own Sailor Moon

Hello everyone! Yes, yes, I am still alive. I know it has been over a year since I last updated, and I cannot apologize enough for that. Hopefully there are still people out there who keep an eye on this story. This year has been so crazy busy for me-I just finished my first year of college, and I finally have some down time before I have to focus on my other priorities. I've actually had the first part of this chapter written a long time ago, but I didn't have the slightest idea how to wrap up until last night. I had a sudden inspiration and worked on the story until now. A special thank-you to lovely my beta reader, an incredible writer, and a dear friend of mine, FuturePrincess. Go check out her stories on Sailor Moon, they're pretty darn amazing and even completed! Hope you guys enjoy!

I know it's been a while so here's a recap of the last chapter: Usagi and Rei got in a huge fight in which Usagi slapped Rei and then told her that she can't live Rei anymore. Usagi then went to a bar/club where she got drunk and bumped into Seiya, Taiki, and Yaten. After an incident with two drunk men from the bar, Seiya offered to drive Usagi home, but because Usagi didn't want to face Rei, Seiya took her to his apartment instead. Upon arriving at Seiya's apartment, Usagi realized that Haruka lived in the same building and made a split-second decision to visit Haruka. The chapter ended with Haruka opening the door and Usagi kissing him. Also, if it helps, you can read the Timeline I've posted for this story-it's a quick summary of all the major events that has happened thus far.

EFFECTIVE NEXT CHAPTER: I WILL BE CHANGING THE TITLE OF THIS STORY TO "PERFECT STRANGERS" WHEN I POST CHAPTER 9


Chapter Eight


There were many things going through Haruka's head at the moment. First, he was, of course, very shocked. Who would have expected someone to show up at his doorstep at three in the morning? Second, what the heck was Usagi doing here, besides the obvious answer? Speaking of whom, why was she kissing him? What Haruka really needed was to sit down and think. However, he couldn't see how he could push Usagi off without hurting her feelings. And though he wouldn't admit it, he didn't want Usagi off of him–he liked the way that her soft lips moved expertly over his, eliciting responses from his body that he hadn't felt in a long time.

Usagi finally broke the kiss for some air. Haruka seized the opportunity to untangle himself from her and gently pushed her off.

"Usagi…" he said, at a loss of words.

Usagi looked up, her eyes a deep azure, full of resolve, pain, and an unspoken desire.

Haruka stared at her. This wasn't the Usagi he knew. This wasn't the girl he grew to love, his pure and innocent Usagi. He had never seen this side of her. She seemed more mature and…. experienced, someone who's seen too much with years of turmoil inflicted upon her. Haruka realized that this was the Usagi that was underneath the daily façade of happiness and laughter. This was the real Usagi, the one who's been guarded and locked away, the one who's been forbidden to be shown. It unnerved him that someone so young was capable of knowing so much hurt. Her eyes, those beautiful cerulean jewels, were dark and foreboding, enumerating multitudes of her suffering. Haruka's heart ached for her.

"Haruka," Usagi purred silkily. She moved closer, smiling at him seductively, and put her hand on his chest and slowly trailed a finger down. Haruka's breath hitched and his heart took off at breakneck speed. He grabbed her hand before it reached its destination.

"Usagi, stop," he said firmly.

She bore her eyes into his, her azure gaze filled with yearning. She leaned toward him, closing the space between them and whispered into his ear. "You know you want this as much as I do," she breathed huskily.

Haruka gulped. "Usagi, you don't know what you're talking about. You're drunk. Don't do something stupid that you'll later regret," he said, trying to ignore sensations that Usagi evoked as her breath barely made contact with his skin.

Usagi shook her head. "I know this," she stressed, pressing her body against his, "is what I want." Without waiting for a reply, Usagi once more captured Haruka's lips in a mind-numbing kiss. Her hand moved lightly over the contours of his chest and down the length of his arm. She smiled into the kiss when she heard him bite back a groan and took the opportunity to enter his mouth. This time, he didn't hold back as he moaned into the kiss and gently slid his hand under her shirt, and rested it on the small of her back. The simple gesture made something inside Usagi snap. Her last coherent thoughts evaporated as her higher brain functions shut down. She closed her eyes and, for once, let her emotions break free of their dam and rule her actions. Succumbing to her instincts, she eliminated the last millimeter of space between herself and Haruka and deepened the kiss, her lower lip trembling as she whimpered in need. One of her hands tangled itself in Haruka's hair of its own accord while her other hand once again traveled down Haruka's body.

Innate hunger, pure and raw, clawed through Haruka. The faint stirrings of lust began to awaken deep within him, and his desire quickly trumped all rationale. He felt Usagi grind her body desperately against his, her small frame molding into him. Her feather-light touches drove him crazy. His primitive impulses screamed at him: He wanted her – now. He wanted to eliminate every miniscule nuisance between them, to feel her bare skin rub against his. In one swift movement, he picked Usagi up by her thighs. She obediently wrapped her legs around his waist and her arms automatically wound themselves around his neck. Without breaking the kiss, Haruka made his way toward the bedroom and unceremoniously lowered both of them onto the bed, with him straddling Usagi. The tension was palpable; the air was electric. Her eyes screamed for him to take her. Without waiting for further invitation, he lowered his lips onto her jaw line and planted a trail of kisses down her neck. His hand gently massaged her thigh in a circular motion, soothing and hypnotic. Usagi closed her eyes and arched her back, her knuckles white as she gripped onto Haruka's arms. His unoccupied hand tugged at Usagi's shirt. Taking the hint, Usagi raised her arms and Haruka quickly slipped the shirt off and tossed it to the side. Haruka's own shirt soon followed.

"Like what you see?" Haruka asked with a teasing smile, catching Usagi staring at him.

"Very much so," Usagi smiled back coyly, her fingers tracing over the subtle lines of his toned chest. For the third time that night, her hand traveled down and stopped right above Haruka's pants.

Haruka closed his eyes and groaned, his need for Usagi very much apparent. "God, Usagi."

Usagi looked at him with feigned innocence and merely smiled. Her fingers lazily ran over the skin above Haruka's pant line, teasing. A mischievous glint entered Haruka's eyes as he placed his lips over Usagi's. Usagi responded enthusiastically, momentarily forgetting her ministrations. With one hand, Haruka ran along the length of Usagi's upper body and curves, resting on her torso while his other hand rested on her thigh and stealthily made its way toward the core of her desire. Usagi gasped and dug her nails into Haruka's skin. Her breath became shallow and beads of dewy perspiration formed around her forehead, making her hair matted and sticky.

"Karma's a bitch, isn't it?" Haruka said conversationally as he moved his thumb in a circular pattern on Usagi's torso, barely touching her skin. Usagi's eyes rolled to the back of her head and she could only respond with a whimper of pleasure. Haruka smirked at Usagi's response, his hand getting dangerously close to its destination. Usagi squeezed her eyes tightly and hung on to Haruka for dear life; never had she felt such bliss. The very, very tiny part of her conscious thoughts told her that she ought to inform Haruka – and soon – that she was a virgin. She hadn't meant for things to go this far – she had thought that Haruka would deny her advances. That fleeting thought quickly dissolved when she felt something bite down on her neck. A new wave of pleasure washed over her as Haruka worked his mouth on her neck while tugging at her pants.

"Mamo-chan," Usagi sighed.

Haruka froze. Realizing what she said, Usagi gasped in humiliation. "Oh my gosh Haruka – I'm so sorry… I didn't mean – I was – but –"

Haruka merely stared at her, careful to not let his composed mask slip. "I should've known." How could he have been so stupid? How could he have honestly believed that Usagi wanted him?

Usagi watched Haruka apprehensively, afraid to speak. She felt like a complete idiot and a major bitch. What was she thinking? But I wasn't, she reminded herself. I wasn't even THINKING about him. I was barely aware of anything expect what Haruka was doing to… yeah, okay not going there. Damn it, I can't believe this. Even when my conscious thoughts stop working, he still manages to wiggle his way into my stupid subconscious. That's just like him. Can't stand to be unnoticed for one second. 'Oh look at me! I'm so fly! I'm so sexy! Bow down to my awesomeness!' Isn't it enough that my life has been a living hell for the past two years? Seriously, go make someone else's life miserable and pathetic…I must have done something really, really bad in my past life to deserve this, like castrate someone with a fork. Hey! Maybe I castrated him! That's actually not a bad thought. I'd be doing everyone a favor. Haha suckah! Okay, totally not relevant to the situation at hand. Focus, Usagi, focus.

Usagi felt the bed shift beneath her and was abruptly pulled out of her thoughts. Her eyes focused on Haruka, who was walking toward the door. "You should stay here for the night. I have spare pajamas in the closet," Haruka said with his back turned to her. "You can help yourself. The bathroom is on your left if you need to take a shower. Extra towels are in the cabinet. I'll see you in the morning."

"And where will you sleep?" Usagi asked, her voice coming out small. Now that Haruka was not by her, she felt extremely diminutive. She clutched the sheets tightly to her chest.

"On the couch, where else?"

-OoOoO-

Soft light filtered through the window, basking the room in warm sunshine. Usagi groggily opened her eyes and yawned. For some reason, her head felt like it had been pounded through with a hammer. Without thinking, her hand fumbled its way to the nightstand where she kept a bottle of Advil. When her hand hit the furniture, she realized something was off: Her nightstand was usually very cluttered, and by now she would be knocking things off left and right. Yet, she didn't make contact with anything; the nightstand was uncharacteristically clean. In fact, the only items resting on said furniture were a lamp and digital clock that read 8:19 A.M. When Usagi realized that she wasn't in her own room, she sat up and looked around wildly. She saw that the room was very simple, with mocha-colored walls and beige curtains. It only had a bed, nightstand, dresser, and a one-person sofa in the corner. Everything matched and was very tidy. Despite the simplicity, the room was very cozy, and as she wondered who lived here the door opened and a very disgruntled Haruka walked in. Usagi was at a loss for words. Haruka, of all people, was the last person she had expected to see. What the hell? She thought frantically. She delved into her memories, trying to recollect the events of last night. She remembered the fight and winced. She'd have to deal with Rei later. Skimming over that part she remembered being at the bar and drinking - a lot. And then, vaguely, she recalled Seiya being there, and a fight, and crying in Seiya's car, and then... nothing. She couldn't figure out why she was here - if Seiya drove her, shouldn't she be at Seiya's place right now? Well, at least she knew the source of her headache, which at the moment was making her head hurt so much it was difficult to think.

"Hey Haruka," she said, unsure where to start. "Ummm, do you have any Advil or Ibuprofen or something 'cause my head hurts like a mother."

Haruka stared at her for a moment, unsure if she was just pretending not to remember or if her confused expression was genuine. Either way it didn't matter, he told himself. It would be better if she didn't remember so the inevitable awkwardness can be avoided. "Yeah, sure. I have some in the other room I'll get it for you. Why don't you get cleaned up, the bathroom is right through those doors." He pointed to a door to his right.

"Okay, thanks." Usagi scrutinized Haruka's movement as he left. She felt that something was off. For some reason, Haruka didn't emanate the friendliness and warmth that he usually did. In fact, he seemed a bit distant. Thinking it was all in her head, Usagi got out of bed and walked to the bathroom. She'd barely taken three steps when she realized that she was shirtless. "Oh holy-" She looked around and spotted her shirt crumpled and lying at the foot of the bed. She looked down and prayed that she had something on and she saw she did, though the sight of her panties didn't quite soothe her now frantic mind. Suddenly everything fell into place: Haruka's distant expression, her sleeping in his room–alone–and what happened after she got out of Seiya's car. The humiliation of previous night's events made her stumble and her stomach tightened and churned dangerously. Realizing that that reaction had nothing to do with her epiphany, she clamped her hand over her mouth and ran to the bathroom. When she reached the toilet she heaved and spilled her guts out. She heard Haruka enter the room and closed her eyes, mortified. Please, please, please let him set the Advil down and not come in here, she prayed. Unfortunately, the Gods didn't favor Usagi today because she felt Haruka right behind her a second later. Damn it! She screamed mentally. Without saying a word, Haruka moved closer and with one hand gently scooped up her golden tresses. Usagi thought she was going to die of humiliation but that thought was quickly interrupted by another wave of nausea. After bowing before the porcelain god for a good fifteen minutes, Usagi shakily stood up with the support of Haruka. She mumbled a quick thank-you and he nodded and silently left. Vowing never to drink again, Usagi rinsed her mouth of the vile aftertaste and made her way back to the room. She sat on the bed and buried her face in her hands, completely dazed and at a loss. What have I done? Stupid, stupid, stupid. Way to go, Usagi, way to ruin another relationship. In the past day and a half, it seemed she had screwed up every good thing she had going in her life. Come to think of it, yesterday was possibly the most eventful and dramatic day she's had since, well forever. The last time she had felt such a tornado of emotions–anger, pain, sadness, and passion–was seven years ago. It struck Usagi that out of all the emotions she felt, she definitely wasn't expecting passion to be on the list. She'd dealt with anger and sadness, and is an old friend with pain, but passion was something she hadn't encountered in a very, very long time. Ever since Mamoru broke off the engagement, her dating life has been in the dumps. She'd gone out on quite a few first dates and even attempted a handful of relationships, but no man was able to put the spark back in Usagi, to make her excited to be in love again. She would either be bored of them or become incredibly annoyed with them after a while for no reason. Rei, in one of her more blatant moments, sourly pointed out that Usagi had serious commitment issues and would die an old spinster if she doesn't become less uptight about dating and start to actually show interest in her prospects. Rei's comment earned her a biting retaliation in which Usagi told her that she wasn't any better in the dating arena and seeing as how she also has serious commitment issues, she should worry about getting a steady boyfriend herself before belittling Usagi. Commitment issues aside, Usagi realized that last night, with Haruka, there was passion. Granted she was heavily under the influence of alcohol which probably had a lot to do with how she was feeling, but nevertheless last night there was something there. Usagi felt a bubble of hope as she thought about this. Maybe this was the spark she was looking for. Okay, so having almost drunken sex was perhaps not the best way to start off a good relationship, but at least she knew that they have physical chemistry. Woah slow down there, Usagi, she reminded herself, don't think too far ahead here. Usagi tried not to let her memories of last night get the best of her, but her thoughts unavoidably turned to the conversation she had with Haruka in his car yesterday. The more she thought about it, the more the idea of dating Haruka appealed to her. Off the top of her head, she could think of many qualities she liked about Haruka and many more reasons why dating him would be good for her. But does he still want to date me, after what happened? She thought. Would he even want me after he saw me like that? Usagi remembered his guarded demeanor this morning, how he barely made eye contact with her. She needed time to really think this one over, but before anything could ever even happen between her and Haruka, she needed talk to him and clear the awkward silence.

-OoOoO-

Haruka heard the bedroom door open followed by the footsteps of Usagi making her way to where he sat reading the paper and drinking a cup of coffee. He didn't know whether he wanted Usagi's company or not. A part of him wanted her to sit down so they can talk this through and have their friendship go back to the way it was before last night–though he doesn't know how normal their friendship will be after they'd seen one another almost naked. The other part of him wanted her to leave so he doesn't have to deal with talking to her and face the humiliation of his rejection from last night. Haruka heard the sound of the chair scrape against the tiled floor as Usagi sat across the round dining table from him. He felt her staring tentatively at him and knew she was waiting for him to look up from the paper. He knew that this conversation was inevitable, but he wished he had more time to mentally prepare what he was to say though he knew he was just making excuses to avoid the blonde across from him.

"Haruka," Usagi began, her voice soft and hesitant. She waited for him to look up from the paper, and when he finally did and made eye contact with her, her heart began to beat twice as fast. His soft amber gaze seemed to pierce into her soul, as if he already knew what she was going to say. "I'm sorry," she said in a rush before her nerves got the best of her and she chickened out. "I'm sorry for everything. I know that probably doesn't mean much right now, but I really, really am. From intruding your apartment so late at night to forcing me on you to what happened in the bedroom. This will sound super cliché, but it's true: What I said and did has nothing to do with you; it was all in my head, it was all my fault. Especially what I said. I didn't even mean for things to get that far. I don't know what I was thinking–I thought you'd stop me before it got so carried away." Usagi abruptly stopped talking and pressed her lips together for fear more stupid words would flow out of her. This was definitely not one of her finer moments, and her apology sounded more like a muddled accusation rather than an articulated "I'm sorry" explanation. She wished she was more coherent with her words so that Haruka could know how truly sorry she was. "I'm sorry, Haruka. I'm sorry if I hurt you. What I did was completely inexcusable. Please, I don't want to lose you as a friend," Usagi whispered pleadingly, her eyes cast down in shame.

Haruka's heart went out to blue-eyed girl before him. He knew, without a doubt, that Usagi's apology as one-hundred percent sincere. He also knew that he was as much to blame for last night as Usagi, if not more. Yes, Usagi may have initiated the whole thing but she was drunk. He, on the other hand, was perfectly lucid and should have known better. Not only did he not stop her advances, but he egged her on, pushing her desire to the limit. In a sense, he took advantage of her. He should be the one ashamed of himself, not her. And now she sat there, with her head down and her eyes most likely full of guilt. He hated that he was the cause of her sadness. Ever since that bastard broke her heart, Haruka had vowed to put a smile on her face whenever he was with her, if only for a moment. "Apology accepted," Haruka replied graciously. "I'm not mad, and I definitely don't blame you, Usagi. It was as much my fault as it was yours." He conveniently left out the part of how she did hurt him, but it wouldn't do any good to voice that.

Usagi looked up, her eyes hopeful. "Really?"

"Absolutely." Haruka had to stop himself from laughing out loud. The way Usagi was looking at him reminded him of a puppy looking at its owner after it had done something wrong–she looked so darn cute!

Usagi smiled in relief. This was another great thing about Haruka: He has the ability to make her feel comfortable and at ease in any situation. If this were with any other guy, well she didn't want to go there. Not that she had many guy friends to begin with, and even less she'd even consider hooking up with. The more Usagi dwelt on the idea of dating, the stronger her convictions about it grew. The question now was, should she bring it up? Would Haruka think she had become desperate and semi-psychotic? Yesterday when he confessed his feelings for her, she all but ran out of the car without an answer. Then she showed up at his apartment drunk and practically begged for sex. Now she tells him that she wants to date him? Of course she knew he would be gracious in his reply, being the perfect gentleman that he was, but still, she didn't want to come off as too forward or intense. This was a fine line that Usagi was walking on because she knew despite Haruka's cordial response, there was a no man's land between them, and order for their friendship to continue without any tension or awkwardness, they must come to an absolution. Saying "I'm sorry" followed by an "I forgive you" was definitely not the remedy to this delicate situation. Usagi suspected that Haruka felt the same way she did: For their friendship's sake, they needed to talk about yesterday, from the conversation they had in the car to Usagi's late night intrusion and figure out where they both stood, however unpleasant the talk may be. Usagi also suspected that Haruka was being courteous by not bringing up the subject himself for fear he might be pushing Usagi to talk when she wasn't ready to do so. She knew this was an unavoidable topic and if she left without resolving the situation, she may not have another chance to talk with him for months, in which case their friendship would definitely have taken a turn for the worse. Plus, after all she's done, it was the least she could do to give him an answer.

"Haruka…"

"Hmmm?" Haruka replied absent-mindedly as he took a sip of his coffee.

"I want to talk to you, about what you said yesterday," Usagi stated firmly, hoping the tone of her voice let Haruka know that what she was about to say was serious.

Haruka froze for a second, completely caught off-guard. He slowly set the cup down and scrutinized Usagi for a moment. He had mentally prepared himself for a very awkward morning, one that consisted of Usagi making a hasty and jumbled apology, which she had already done and didn't disappoint, and then sitting together for an uncomfortable twenty minutes or so and finally Usagi excusing herself and leaving. He certainly didn't except Usagi to willingly offer to talk about yesterday. The look of her alarmed face when he confessed that he had feelings for her was still imprinted vividly in his mind. Not that he wasn't glad that Usagi was opening up–he was just very, very surprised. And eager to hear what she had to say. "Don't worry about it," Haruka replied easily. "I'm sorry if I alarmed you. I know it was very sudden, and you didn't have any time to process what I told you." Haruka had to make sure that Usagi wanted to talk because she was ready, not because she felt that she had to for his sake, so he responded in a way that left Usagi completely free to back out of the conversation if she chose to do so.

"No," Usagi said, shaking her head. "What I meant was, I've been thinking about it, and…"

"And?" Haruka prodded, his heart racing with anticipation. He knew that this could go either way, that Usagi could be telling him that she wasn't interested in him, but a large part of him hoped that she would tell him that she's been in love with him for years and had been hiding it all along. Okay, maybe not to that extent, but the general idea was there.

"I like you," she admitted shyly. "And I know I'm physically attracted to you. We have physical chemistry–last night at least proved that much. But I don't know how we connect on an emotional level. In some ways it will be easier with you but also more difficult. I feel you understand me more than anyone else: You get me and I like that. I don't have to hide my feelings or the fact that there was a man who once deeply touched my heart. I have fun when I'm with you, and you make me happy. At the same time, however, the transition from us being friends to dating may be awkward because I'm so used to hanging out with you as a friend, and I don't want anything to be weird. I'm willing to give us a try, but I'm warning you dating me won't be a walk in the park because I am definitely a difficult person to be around, probably messed up on so many levels, have a dark past, and will most likely drive you crazy sometimes. But no matter what happens I want to know that we will always be friends first. We don't have to be exclusive either," she added as an afterthought, "I don't want to bog you down with boring old me if you're interested in other women. We can try and go on a few dates– "

Haruka had heard enough. Before Usagi could finish her sentence, he walked around the table toward her, gently turned her head to him, and kissed her. He felt Usagi tense up in surprise but ignored her reaction. He gently caressed her lips with his and she kissed him back, slowly at first and then with more fervor. After a minute, they broke apart for air, Haruka with his eyes still closed. The kiss was sweet and soft, exactly what their first kiss should have been.

"Really, Usagi, I stopped listening after you said 'I like you'," he chuckled. "But really," he continued soberly, "you think you're all dark and twisted, and maybe it's true, but I don't care. Because I know you, and I know that you're not as creepy or damaged as you think yourself to be. And even if you are, it's okay because it just shows that you're not afraid to feel. Also, I can deal with you driving me crazy because you do that anyway, so I've had practice," Haruka smirked as he dodged the playful swat Usagi delivered. "As for boring old you, I've known you for seven years and I haven't had a single boring moment with you. If this is what being bored feels like, then I say it's pretty darn great. When I said I've liked you for seven years I wasn't kidding. If I can wait that long for you, and now I finally have you, why would I want to go out with other women?"

Usagi couldn't help but smile. She must be beaming like an idiot, but she didn't care. The bubble of hope she had earlier began to grow bigger until she thought it might burst from her chest. She stood up from the chair, took at step toward Haruka, wrapped her arms around his neck, and kissed him with every fiber of her being. "My oh my," Usagi said after they broke the kiss, "aren't you a smooth talker."


A/N: I know much didn't happen this chapter and it only involved two characters, but I wanted to resolve the Haruka/Usagi situation or else it will be come too messy in the later chapters because I'm going to keep adding more dimension to the story. I want to know how you feel about the Haruka/Usagi pairing and if it's too forced and sudden. Also, I know I promised that Mamoru would make an appearance here, but I couldn't make it work. I truly did intend to end the chapter with Mamoru arriving at Japan, but the Haruka/Usagi scene was so long that it turned out to be a chapter within itself. It was either I withhold posting this chapter until Mamoru makes an appearance, which probably won't happend for another eight pages on word, or I post this nice little scene by itself. I think it worked out quite well in the end. I promise I'll try my best to have Mamoru be in the next chapter. Also, for those who are fans of Grey's Anatomy, you may have noticed that I added a Mer/Der moment at the end when Haruka pointed out that Usagi being dark and twisted isn't necessarily a bad thing :)Thank you for reading and reviews are adored!

Again I would like to remind you all that when I post Chapter 9, the title of this story will be changed to "Perfect Strangers"