Disclaimer: I don't own Sailor Moon.

Author's Note: This is set sometime around the S season after Michiru and Haruka discover the identities of the Inners, with an AU spin.

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First and Last

"You belong with the Inners now, you know."

The soft voice wasn't enough to make Makoto look up as she sat on the windowsill, gazing dejectedly out through the glass without really seeing anything at all. Haruka and Michiru exchanged worried glances; the brunette had been like this ever since they had discovered the true identities of the Sailor senshi they had always refused help from in the past. Haruka coughed and tried one more time. "At least, that's what the talking cats say," she said casually. "Personally, I don't trust 'em. Animals aren't meant to talk."

They both saw it; the flash of pained laughter in her emerald eyes, the slight upward twitch of her lips; but Makoto didn't look at them, just continued to study her reflection in the mirror, the faint ghost of who she really was. Another worried glance was exchanged between the older girls before Michiru made up her mind.

The senshi of the sea merely brushed Haruka's arm with her fingertips, gave her a quiet look. The tomboy got the message and cleared her throat. "Well, ah, I have some… errands… to run now, so I'll just go… do them. Look after each other while I'm gone, 'kay?"

A nod and a smile from Michiru, a quiet mumble from Makoto. The worry the two Outers felt for their longtime comrade only increased.

Haruka made her exit quietly and quite gracefully, all things considered; Michiru waited patiently until the door closed and she heard the lock click into place before she walked silently across the floor and crawled onto the windowsill. She gave Makoto no warning, merely nuzzled into the brunette's warmth and let her arms encircle her slim waist, tucking her head beneath the taller girl's head with a quiet sigh.

For a moment Makoto stiffened at the contact, obviously unsure of what to make of it in her wounded, confused mindset that was still trying to reconcile the fact that she was an Inner warrior who had been fighting with Outers; slowly, though, she relaxed and let her arms come around Michiru, burying her face into her hair and breathing in her scent deeply, the scent of the sea.

Michiru felt the telltale tremors ripple through the warm, strong body of the avatar of Jupiter but kept her silence, content to be held. She knew words wouldn't help now, anyway.

When she felt the wetness seeping into her hair and rolling down her neck, she knew Makoto was crying.

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Makoto was the first of her kind.

Michiru and Haruka both knew it, from the moment they first met her and felt that tingle of awareness to the last moment when she called upon Jupiter to defend the weary and battle-torn Uranus and Neptune. From that moment on her destiny was intermingled with theirs and they traveled together, an inseparable trio united by fate and friendship.

They knew she was different from the very beginning; Jupiter was easily as powerful as Uranus and Neptune and even Pluto on a good day, but she wasn't as cold as Haruka when it came to sacrifices and wasn't as willing to turn a blind eye to it as Michiru because it was duty. She did what she did and she did it well, but always grudgingly and never without trying to find a way to save a life. More than once she took blows meant for her comrades or for innocent victims, and her brushes were death were far greater than the number of races Haruka had run or the songs Michiru had learned on her violin.

And then the time came when a life couldn't be saved.

Michiru and Haruka had known the day would come and had prepared themselves for it; Makoto had known as well, but she hadn't been ready. And as Uranus and Neptune looked on, coldly and perhaps a little guiltily, a life had bled away in Jupiter's arms as she wept brokenly, a fallen Amazon broken by the endless cycle of death and destruction.

Makoto continued to weep that night, though she tried her best to be silent.

Haruka and Michiru pretended not to hear, but they still crawled into bed and cradled her between them, wiping away her tears and whispering soothing words that meant nothing until she fell asleep, lulled by their warmth and softness.

Haruka and Michiru knew then for certain that Makoto was not an Outer soldier.

They loved her anyway.

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Makoto would be the last of her kind.

Michiru knew it from the moment they first met those girls, Usagi and Rei and Ami and Minako, and she saw how easily they accepted Makoto into their ranks. But despite everything the brunette didn't mold with them as well as she might have in the past, if she had never met Haruka and Michiru and awakened to Jupiter earlier than intended.

Because of this, Makoto was a miracle, a one-hit wonder that would probably never exist again in this life or the next. The tall, green-eyed brunette was a warrior with the strength and fighting spirit of an Outer and the gentle heart and soul of an Inner. She could kill, but she didn't like it; she had incredible power, but she only called upon it fully to save her friends.

In the past, Makoto had been Sailor Jupiter, and Sailor Jupiter had been an Inner senshi.

In this life, Makoto was still Sailor Jupiter, but she had awakened by the power of Neptune and Uranus, the Outer senshi.

She was an Inner and an Outer senshi, caught between two worlds and not really fitting in either of them now, forever alone due to her unique blend.

Michiru loved her anyway.

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Makoto cried quietly, keeping her sobs locked inside in such a way that her powerful body trembled like a leaf in the wind with the force of them, and vaguely Michiru wondered if that was healthy.

But then, Makoto had never wept loudly, except the first time someone had died on her. After that, she had shed her tears in silence, not wanting to burden Haruka and Michiru.

The senshi of thunder's arms were tight around Michiru, but she didn't really mind because she fit perfectly in those arms and she was needed. Her hair was getting wet and her neck felt damp, but she didn't mind that either; Makoto needed her right now, needed her silence and her support.

After a moment, Makoto lifted her face away and Michiru looked at her, shifting slightly so she could raise a hand and gently wipe away the tears still gathered at the corners of her eyes. Makoto caught her slim wrist in a gentle grasp, and with a slight smile Michiru splayed her fingers out so she was stroking the brunette's cheek. Makoto closed her eyes and leaned into the cool, soft touch, releasing a shuddering sigh as more tears slipped silently down her cheeks.

"Who am I?" she whispered raggedly, and she opened her eyes to look at the senshi of the sea, looking so lost and so broken that all Michiru wanted to do at that moment was pull her into her arms and kiss away her tears and make sure she was never hurt again. "Who the fucking hell am I, Michi?"

Michiru felt her heart throb painfully against her ribs; Makoto only called her Michi when she was truly tired, when she was spent and so sad that she couldn't find even a weak glimmer of hope in the world.

Leaning up, the senshi of Neptune gently brushed her lips against Makoto's, a chaste kiss meant to soothe and comfort; when she pulled away she smiled, though her eyes were beginning to gleam with tears of their own.

"You're Mako," she whispered. "Just Mako. And I love you anyway."

Makoto smiled weakly before nuzzling into Michiru's hair again, pulling the smaller girl tight against her. Michiru didn't mind, simply closed her eyes and snuggled into the senshi of Jupiter so she could hear her heartbeat.

It didn't matter who Makoto was. Sailor Jupiter or just Makoto, Outer senshi or Inner senshi.

Michiru loved her anyway.

The End

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I was talking to a pal of mine awhile ago and it was noted that Jupiter was the strongest Inner; it was then noted that, if things could have gone differently, Makoto might have awakened and traveled with Michiru and Haruka. Hence this short, angst-ridden, non-canon one-shot.

Read and review, please!