Disclaimer: I don't own Sailor Moon. Dammit.
Author's Note: I was surprised at how well recieved First and Last was, so I thought I'd take another shot at the small AU I'd created. This is set sometime before First and Last, I'd say while Haruka, Michiru, and Makoto are still on the road pre-series. Only Makoto and Michiru this time around again... I swear I'll work Haruka into this one of these days.
A Little Too Good
"Shouldn't you be asleep, Mako?"
To her credit the brunette didn't jump out of her skin as Michiru spoke, emerging from the shadows to look at her worriedly—how the hell does she do that, anyway?—brushing a loose strand of aqua-colored hair carelessly back behind her ear with an expert hand. "We're leaving early tomorrow," the senshi of Neptune added. "You should sleep, get some rest so you're at your strongest tomorrow."
"That's right, we arrive in town tomorrow, don't we?" Makoto chuckled quietly, tilting her head to look at her companion and fellow soldier. "I totally forgot… but I don't feel very sleepy right now."
"You worry about me too much." The senshi of Jupiter looked away, gazing out through the window at the city below. "I'll be fine. One night without sleep won't kill me, and I can always nap in the car."
"Hmm, but then Haruka would complain about you getting drool on her seats."
"Her loss. Where is she, still asleep?"
"Mako, once Haruka falls asleep, not even an atomic bomb can wake her up."
Makoto chuckled quietly, but her voice was affectionate when she spoke. "It's only fair, I suppose. She has a hard enough time keeping me in line." The brunette ran a hand through her long hair, left unbound. She hadn't felt like tying it back this late at night, and she hadn't though either of her companions would try and seek her out. She slid her hands into the pockets of her pajama pants and flashed Michiru a brief smile before looking back out through the window.
The senshi of the sea took a moment to survey Makoto. Sometimes she still had a hard time believing the tall brunette was a fellow Outer; despite her strength she had a kind heart and was fiercely protective of anyone she met. The pieces just didn't add up; after a moment, Michiru shrugged quietly to herself before stepping towards Makoto, pausing again when she noticed that the shirt the senshi of Jupiter wore was just a little too big for her.
The result being, predictably, that Michiru could see just a hint of skin beneath the cloth.
"No… no! What are you doing?! Get out of here! Let go of me! I'll be okay, I swear, just let go! Please… you're getting all bloody! MAKO-CHAN, PLEASE!!"
The memory of Jupiter's first battle still made Michiru shudder; she stepped closer, lifted a hand tentatively, but retracted it before her fingers made contact, bringing it to her chest. She bit her lip.
"Michiru?" Makoto was looking at her, glancing over her shoulder; she frowned. "What is it? Why are you looking at me like that?"
Michiru blinked, her reverie broken, and looked blankly at Makoto for a moment; in a flash her senses returned and she forced a smile. But despite everything she could still feel her hand, trembling slightly. Will you vanish if I touch you, Mako? Deep down… do you hate me for what happened that day?
Instead, she said softly, "May I?" gesturing quietly to the senshi of thunder's back. For a moment Makoto stiffened, but slowly she blew out a breath and forced her body to relax, looking away. "Yeah, feel free," she murmured.
For a single moment the senshi of Neptune hesitated, even with Makoto's assurance; taking a deep breath, feeling the last of her courage abandon her, the aqua-haired girl took the last step and, in one swift motion, pushed Makoto's shirt up so she could see the other girl's back.
A choked whimper escaped her, and she closed her eyes, resting her forehead against Makoto's back as tears welled.
The tan, smooth skin of Makoto's back was marred by small scars, too numerous for Michiru to even try counting. The marks were slashing and some interlaced or overlapped with others, ranging from as high as her shoulders to as low as her waist. Pulling away, Michiru wiped at her eyes with the back of her hand and, without thinking, gently touched her lips to the scarred skin. She felt Makoto stiffen in surprise, obviously caught off guard by the older girl's actions. "Michi?" Her voice was uncertain, worried. Concern overrode every instinct and she turned, only to see tears still streaming down the smaller girl's cheeks.
"Oh, shit. Oh, crap. Michi, come on." Without thinking Makoto drew the senshi of Neptune into her arms, and Michiru threw her arms around the taller girl's neck and buried her face into her neck, her breathing ragged as she fought her tears. "Don't do that," Makoto pleaded, gently easing Michiru back to wipe her tears away with her thumb. "Don't cry. They're old, they're scars, they don't hurt anymore. Please don't cry."
"You got them because of me, though."
Makoto froze, her eyes widening slightly. Michiru could still feel tears rising, but she ignored them now, lifting her chin to meet Makoto's eyes. "It's true, Mako, don't deny it," she said softly. "If you hadn't protected me…" She laughed weakly. "I'm afraid to touch you sometimes. I'm afraid if I touch you you'll vanish, Mako. Because the last time I touched you, you received those scars protecting me."
"Dammit, Michiru, that's not—"
"Do you hate me for it, Mako?" Her eyes were steady. "I wouldn't blame you if you do."
For a moment Makoto just stared at her; her eyes went dark and stormy like a thunderstorm threatening to break. She ran a hand through her hair, swore roughly, and before Michiru could react, her lips crashed against the smaller girl's.
A muffled yelp of surprise escaped the senshi of the sea, but Makoto had caught the other girl in her arms and was determined to prove a point, gently biting on Michiru's lower lip so she could gain access. Her tongue plunged deep, slid seductively along Michiru's, and coaxed her into responding. Michiru had no idea how Makoto had learned to kiss like that, and she didn't particularly care at the moment.
Just as Michiru was beginning to get her bearings back and was starting to ease into the kiss, Makoto pulled back, catching the smaller girl's wrists in her hands so she couldn't be pulled back into a second kiss. As she watched Michiru slowly opened her eyes, running her tongue over her lips. "Mako?"
"If I hated you," Makoto rasped, her breathing harsh and her cheeks flushed, "I wouldn't be able to kiss you like that, would I?" She released Michiru's wrists and drew her into her arms again, closing her eyes. "I don't hate you, Michiru. I've never hated you for what happened that day. If anyone's to blame it's me, because I jumped in there to protect you. I got these scars myself, Michiru."
"But..." Despite her lingering doubts, Michiru couldn't resist wrapping her arms around Makoto's neck again, letting the brunette's soft, slightly curled brown hair run through her fingers. "Still…"
"Michiru, if I hated you for my scars it would be like hating you and Haruka for awakening Jupiter in the first place." Makoto pulled back slightly to look at Michiru, and her gaze was solemn. "It's impossible for me to hate you, don't you see? Because without you and Haruka, I'm not complete." Her eyes danced as her lips curved in a faint smirk. "Without Uranus and Neptune there would be no Jupiter."
She felt Michiru's lips curve into a smile against the skin of her neck, and a soft laugh escaped the aqua-haired girl as she pulled back, looking up at Makoto with love and humor glowing in her eyes. "That's one way of looking at it, I suppose." She sighed, still playing with Makoto's hair; she adored the younger girl's long hair and played with it whenever she had the opportunity. She stood for a moment in contemplative silence, content in the warmth of Makoto's embrace and the delightful tingle the senshi of thunder's kiss had stirred in her.
"You know, sometimes I think you're a little too good, Mako." Michiru smiled sadly and rested her head against Makoto's shoulder. "Sometimes I think Jupiter is a little too good for Uranus and Neptune, you're a little too good for Haruka and I. Sometimes I wonder if you belong with other people who aren't us."
"You think?" Makoto rested her cheek against Michiru's hair.
"Sometimes. And I've come to a conclusion."
"Oh? And what's that?"
"They can't have you." Michiru closed her eyes. "I know it's selfish, but if we ever meet those people, they can't have you."
Makoto said nothing to this, and after a moment Michiru stepped back and cupped the brunette's chin so she could give her a chaste kiss that still managed to send tingles down her spine. "You'll really have to tell me who taught you how to kiss like that," Michiru said as she took Makoto's hand and started to lead her back to the bedroom, a wicked gleam of mischief in her eyes. "So I can thank them."
"It's a secret." Makoto couldn't fight the grin, content to let herself be led back to Haruka and sleep. "I can teach you myself, though, if you have some free time."
Michiru laughed and turned away so she could see where she was going in the dark, but she knew the path well and didn't release Makoto's hand. She was comforted by the taller girl's warmth, her strength.
And as they stepped into the bedroom they shared and saw Haruka sitting up in bed, rubbing her eyes sleepily with the back of her hand and asking them why they were up at such an ungodly time of night, the senshi of Neptune tried to forget the dream that had prompted her to seek out Makoto in the first place when she'd awakened to find the senshi of thunder gone.
The dream of an endless rolling field, covered in small white flowers that looked like snow; flowers that if you laid down in them you couldn't see the sky, pure white flowers stained crimson by blood. A tall, pale-skinned woman with long hair the color of flames standing in the field, covered in the same blood, laughing.
And in that woman's arms, in her arms stained by blood, was Sailor Jupiter. Her hair was unbound, her body covered by cuts and bruises, blood still spilling fresh from her wounds, her eyes closed.
In Michiru's dream, Sailor Jupiter was dead.
Have fun coming to your own conclusions about who taught Makoto how to kiss like that, 'cause I'm not telling. It's more fun to guess.
The dream bit at the end is actually part of a multi-chapter fic that I've been batting around for awhile about how I think things might have gone if Makoto had been part of the Outers. I still don't know if I'll take it up or not, as I'm busy as hell at the moment, but I've been thinking about it a lot so... you never know.
Read and review, please!