A/N - Yo! I know I should really update A.D but I couldn't pass up to do a Fathers Day fic (its fathers day in the UK but im not sure about the rest of the world!). Anyway, this was co-written with 'impersonal' - my awesome beta-reader for After Dark - and I bothered her into doing this. In return, she can come to London as promised for a winter sunset :P. Anyway, take care and hope you enjoy reading my first smexx-free fic. Take care and enjoy!
MY FATHER AND ME
My tired eyes could vaguely see gentle light pouring into the lavender decorated room as I struggled to wake up. After minutes of stirring, I reveal my pair of purple eyes, peering out over the edge of an oversized quilt. My 'to wake or not to wake' debate had reached a conclusion; I decided that I had had enough sleep. Well, I stole a glance at the clock. Today was Monday; seven in the morning. Today was like any other day in the summer holidays, but yesterday wasn't.
Yesterday was my day with her.
Yesterday was a day that everyone knew was meant just for us. Of course, Michiru-mama was around for most of it; but the shared jokes, the whispered secrets, all of the activities that happened yesterday were just for us to remember and to cherish for the rest of our years. So far, we had only shared four of these Sundays together.
Getting up from my bed, I pulled the curtains apart and let the bright morning sunshine beam into my room and on me. It's a warm feeling. A bright feeling. A stark contrast to the feeling I had, in the first ten of a particular Sunday each year in all my fourteen years of age. I managed to make it into the kitchen and poured myself out a bowl of cereal and began absent-mindedly eating it as I thought about everything that happened yesterday, on the special day reserved for her.
Tomoe Souchi never celebrated that day with me. He was either at work or hidden in his laboratory, while I hide away from the sunlight then fearing the shadows it creates. I tried, really. Once.
"Give this card you've done to your father, Hotaru-chan. I'm sure he'll love it!" I remember the gentle voice of my grade school teacher ringing in my head as an 8 year old.
'He'll love it!' Yeah, right. I still can imagine a 7 year old me, just a small little body of a girl with a moss of black hair on top holding up the hand-made card for him. My arms were straight out in front of him, first thing on this Sunday morning 7 years ago. I remember he looked extremely tired from a hectic night at the laboratory he worked at.
"F-for you!" my little squeaky voice then wavered at my anticipation.
I remember the card leaving my hands, and Tomoe Souchi opened it and took a brief glance at it. He smiled a tired one, which I found rather reluctant.
"Thank you, Hotaru. It's beautiful."
I looked up straight at his face and smiled very brightly, as he closed the card and laid it on the dining table top along with my breakfast and left the kitchen. I finished my breakfast and cleared it, leaving the card on the table still.
The next day was traumatic for an 7 year old me, as I opened the trash can and found the card I've made… along with my father's leftover dinner the previous night.
The memory of Tomoe Souchi was still hanging in the air around all of the senshi, not only me. Yes, I miss him. If I could I wanted to erase all the guilt. When I was younger, on that particular day every year, I was a party to a crime. After that year I never bothered to celebrate that Sunday. I kept thinking, if my father didn't care about it, why should I? And so, even after I moved into this household I share with Setsuna, Michiru and her, I still kept my habit of not celebrating this particular Sunday. I'm terrible - guilty as charged, trust me, I know. I refused to acknowledge this feeling until last year, but I had to admit that as much as I cannot forget nor forgive how my blood father destroyed the significance of this day, I am guilty of ignoring him on this day. And the guilt grows ever so bigger each year, as I ignore the significance of her, along with my blood father's.
I know she loved me as much as Tomoe Souchi did. She had been there for me - every scraped knee I had, she was there to nurse her cuts and bruises. When I wanted to learn how to ride a motocross bike, she taught me, much to Michiru-mama's chagrin. When I needed somebody to be there for me for the nights that become too dark, she was always in sight. And last year, I broke her heart, the first year after I had been brought back to my own age at this very place I now proudly call home.
The pink-haired bundle of energy ran inside the mansion and slumped down on the sofa. I immediately noticed the change in my friend's demeanour. Usually, Chibiusa was the very definition of hyperactive. I took a seat next to the Princess from the future and cleared my throat as I enquired,"What's wrong, Chibi-chan?"
The younger girl sighed loudly and threw her arms up dramatically into the air, instantly causing me to raise my eyebrows in a little shock. The young princess of future Crystal Tokyo began wailing incoherently. I took her by the shoulders and shook her."Chibi-chan! Breathe! Tell me what's wrong!"
The princess quietened slightly then nodded slowly. "It's Mamo-chan."
I knotted my eyebrows in confusion as my pink-haired friend continued speaking. "I don't know what to get him. I mean, Usagi-chan told me to just get something from the heart, but Mamo-chan doesn't care what I get him! He's just shocked I haven't spent all my allowance on manga and snacks!"
A very confused me stared at my friend for a moment before speaking, "Mamo-chan? Get him what? It's not his birthday is it?"
Chibiusa looked at me blandly for a moment. Realization hadn't hit me yet. "Well, what do you think, Hotaru-chan? It's for this Sunday."
I have no clue what was going on. Chibiusa sighed.
"You didn't forget it was Father's Day this Sunday did you?"
Ah, that stumped me. I open my mouth to respond but shock had set in. I had no idea what to say. My shocked brain can only produce a lame excuse. "Er, well... it doesn't matter, does it?"
My answer seemed to have floored the young pink-haired princess who fell from my sofa and landed on the floor with a dull thud. A few moments later, the unmistakeably husky voice of Tenou Haruka could be heard shouting across from the room next door.
"Are you two okay in there?" We both shouted back a quick 'Hai' so as not to gain any attention. I helped Chibiusa stand up but as soon as the girl from the future was standing, she crossed her arms over her chest and began tapping her foot agitatedly. I cocked my head and stared at her and her peculiar behaviour.
"What's wrong, Chibiusa-chan?" The younger girl didn't answer immediately.
"So, you didn't get a single present for this Sunday?" I furrowed my dark brows in more confusion.Why should this Sunday be special to me?
"Of course, I didn't, what's the point?" My friend shook her head. I noted the look of disappointment in the future princess's eyes.
"So, Sunday really means nothing to you, Hotaru-chan? Your father really means so little to you?"
Father? Mean little to me? The last part of my best friend's sentence rendered me immobile. I couldn't bring myself to speak. I remained stock still.
Once Chibiusa noted she wasn't going to get a response she scoffed loudly, "I have to go."
Without another word, the princess made her way to the door and began rushing for the stairs. I snapped out of my trance and followed her in hot pursuit.
I was angry and sad. How could my friend be so insensitive? How could Chibiusa say I didn't care for my father? I did, and all the senshi knew the story behind my father and I. I had not seen him since the days of the Death-busters! Heaven knows if he's still alive somewhere?!
Luckily, I managed to catch her by the arm as she rushed for the front door, midway through putting her shoes on.
The princess spun around. I know my eyes were burning with anger and pain. My purple eyes, as my father used to say, and now my adopted parents say, never hid emotions.
"What right do you have Chibiusa-chan? To tell me that I don't care about my father?!"
"Clearly you don't if you have nothing for this Sunday. If you've forgotten!"
The commotion of us, the two best friends, caused Michiru-mama, Setsuna-mama and her to come out from the kitchen, (where they were all enjoying a hot drink) to witness the rarity of Sailor ChibiMoon and Sailor Saturn, me, arguing.
"I didn't forget, there's no need for me to remember it!" Chibiusa's jaw hit the floor.
"How can you say that?!"
"Because I don't have a father , Chibiusa-chan! What the hell is the point in noting a day when unlike you, I have no-one to call 'dad'?"
Instantly, a silence erupted over the entire house. Not a sound was made. Chibiusa shook her head and opened the front door to the Outers' home. Before she left, she turned around and stared straight into my eyes.
"Yes, you do, Hotaru."
Chibiusa left the house and I could feel the anger filling my eyes. My tears threatened to pour out. How could Chibiusa be so stupid? I turned around, with every intention of walking back up to my room and spending the day moping and sulking in my own pit of despair. I was going to do that, until I turned and met the faces of three familiar figures. And one face, brought more attention to it than the other two.
I could feel it and almost hear a heart break as I looked into tear-filled teal eyes, with a frown etched across handsome features. A pair of lips became pursed as their owner tried to contain their emotions. Short, blonde hair covered the face of Tenou Haruka as she lowered her head, avoiding my gaze.
As soon as I had uttered the first syllable, the senshi of the skies had rushed off disappearing into her room, leaving a speechless me behind. After a few moments, the aqua-haired woman who I had always thought of as a mother and the green-haired woman who was like her second mother approached me and each put a reassuring hand on my shoulder.
"I f-f-forgot about H-H-Haruka-p-p-papa! How could I-I b-be so s-s-stupid?!" Michiru-mama hushed me and Setsuna-mama helped coo me into a state of calm.
How can I be so stupid? I don't know. All I know is that I broke the heart belonging to the only person who's been the perfect father figure to me.
I left my room and went down to the kitchen, where it is still early. It's the summer holidays and none of my mothers had the reason to get up to make breakfast. Neither do they want to, I think. I took the carton of milk out and set it on the counter. It was like yesterday only that I had really mixed emotions then. I haven't felt that anxious ever since that Sunday 7 years ago until yesterday. Glancing at the clock, it was nearing 8 o'clock in the morning. I was lost in my thoughts, wasn't I?
Chuckling to myself, I poured the milk out onto a bowl I just took out from the kitchen cupboard.
Should I make breakfast for Haruka-papa again, like how I did yesterday? I leaned against the counter to ponder. Or maybe not, my adopted father might want to laze in bed a little longer with her lover, one of my adopted mothers. Around this time, yesterday I was busy preparing breakfast for Haruka-papa.
I winced as I remembered the hurt look on Haruka-papa's face exactly last year on father's day. But as I stirred the pancake batter bowl in my hands, I'm determined to show her how much I loved her as a father. This year, I'm going to try again. Try celebrating father's day.
I looked at the kitchen clock. It's getting close to 8 in the morning.
I nearly had everything ready. But if there was anything I remembered, it was that on Sundays Haruka-papa slept in until Michiru-mama forced her to get up. No doubt, in a few minutes, the sounds of Haruka-papa whining about 'five more minutes' would fill the house, accompanied by the sound of Michiru's gentle laughter.
I turned off the stove, and set out a tray on the worktop putting a breakfast plate, a bowl, a mug and a glass in it. I poured fresh tropical juice into the glass, and placed a small coffee percolator, then placed a fresh fruit salad (that I'm really proud to say I had cut and prepared it myself) into the bowl. On the breakfast plate, I filled it with a freshly made ham and cheese omelette and beside it a fresh pain au chocolat, while taking a knife and fork and wrapped them in a napkin and placed it on the side of the tray. Finally, I poured out a fresh up of coffee and added two sugar cubes, just the way Haruka-papa drank it. Then I opened up the drawer in the kitchen and took out an envelope addressed to 'Haruka-papa' and a small oblong box in a light blue colouring, placing the two objects carefully on the side of the tray. Concentrating as hard as I could, I took every step up to her parents' room with extreme caution not to spill a single drop of food out. I breathed out a big sigh of relief as I finally come to their doorstep, but then I held my breath again. The door was closed. My hands are full. How in the name of the Queen am I supposed to open the door?
Opening it like that to surprise Haruka-papa is a good ide- no, maybe not.
Actually coming to think of it, knocking on the door may be an excellent idea – Michiru-mama had a terrible habit of giving Haruka-papa an 'early morning present' every day and once I had the misfortune to open the door in the middle of said present-giving. The last thing me, the Sailor of Death and Rebirth, needed was therapy. I had just burned out that old mental image, and I'd like to keep it that way.
Balancing the whole tray on one hand against my chest, I quickly knocked the door then recovered my comfortable position holding the tray. After a moment, a distinct 'aw, crap! Michi, come back' was heard. Haruka-papa sounded so whiny I had to suppress a giggle, but also suppress a shudder at the thought that I had interrupted the gift giving already. A second later, the senshi of the seas opened the door, a bright smile gracing her features, her blue robe covering her body and Michiru-mama was looking as elegant as ever. She looked down at the tray, and smiled.
"One moment, Hime-chan."
Immediately, Michiru-mama closed the door. I strained my ears to hear Michiru-mama's alert to Haruka-papa 'Ruka! Put your robe on, Hota-chan is here!' Oh, so I was right about the gift giving. Shudder.
A few seconds later, the door was re-opened by Michiru-mama. I entered the bedroom and kept her gaze to the floor. I knew the route, I knew the exact placement of things in their room. I didn't need to look. But I couldn't look. What if I look at Haruka-papa and she gives me the same tired, reluctant look? Or maybe she's still hurting from a year ago?
I walked the familiar route to Haruka-papa's side of the bed and stopped by the side of the tall blonde. Taking in a deep breath, I raised my head to look at Haruka-papa. A confused gaze from the blonde who was staring at the tray was the all the reply I got.
"I... I made you breakfast!"
It was barely a whisper. I was voiceless. The awkwardness of the situation surpasses me. I feel like a 7 year old all over again, trying to impress my father. I maintained my gaze at Haruka-papa, trying my very best to hide my shaking hands. I don't know if they shook because I'm scared, or because they're tired from holding the tray too long. Does it matter? No. What am I thinking?!
Suddenly I found myself looking at teal eyes that looked a little taken aback. Our gaze locked, and I tried my best not to blink and break the gaze. What did it mean? Is Haruka-papa going to tell me I'm just-
"Take the tray from Hime-chan."
Michiru-mama's voice broke my train of thoughts. I watched as Haruka-papa nodded absent-mindedly and took the tray from me. I let my arms rest at my sides, but Haruka-papa just stared down at the tray, now on top of her lap on the bed. She used her hand and traced in the air over the food and then to the envelope and the box. She touched the box and the envelope and frowned, before I realized it I was staring at teal eyes again.
I think my smile was actually a weak goofy grin the... Mostly because I couldn't manage anything more than some goofy imbecilic gaze at that time.
Haruka-papa took the envelope first and looked at it before she opened it.
My heart skipped a beat.
I had written the blonde's name as delicately as I could - I spent hours writing just her name - ensuring it looked perfect, or as perfect as it can get. The envelope was an eggshell white, embossed with a swirl pattern.
Haruka-papa flipped the envelope around and peeled it open carefully.
I glanced at Michiru-mama as Haruka-papa focused on the card inside the envelope. Haruka-papa opened it up and looked at it. I'm pretty sure she read it; Haruka-papa has always been a fast reader. But yet there was no response. Not even a smile. No laughter, smile, no happy face as I had expected.
Nothing, there was only silence. Why? Have I screwed it up again? Or did my words last year hurt too much? She wouldn't forgive me? I couldn't bear to look at her lack of reaction anymore.
I clenched my jaws and stared straight down on the floor.
A knock at the door brought everyone's attention to a standstill as we all looked to the door. "Michiru-san, Haruka-san, I hope you're not having sex because I'm about to walk in!" The door opened a moment later to reveal Setsuna, already dressed and ready for the day in a beige skirt suit. "Oh... Am I interrupting something?"
I look at Setsuna-mama in reflex, before I stole a glance at Haruka-papa. Her jaws were clenched now, and her teal eyes. Shiny? Big? Watery?
"I think Ruka and hime-chan need a moment alone, Setsa. Let's go grab some breakfast."
My gaze broke to follow Michiru-mama and Setsuna-mama walk out of the room.
Haruka-papa remained in the same expression.
I tried to grin again, but she obviously didn't look at me. I wondered if she even wanted to look at me in the first place. My gaze fell back to the floor. Suddenly, the carpet design looked really interesting.
My head snapped to look at the owner of the gentle husky voice. A tender smile was gracing the handsome features of the wind soldier. I feel warm suddenly. Comfortably warm. The warmth travelled from my feet to my hands; it invaded my heart. This was warmth that I used to know; but then it was ripped apart from me, and now, it's found me again. Or have I found it myself? Is this the feeling of unconditional love? Had it returned to me?
"H-Hai?" Another silence followed but this time, it was not uncomfortable. At least it wasn't uncomfortable to me anymore.
"What's in the box? Should I be scared?" Haruka-papa had the audacity to joke in the midst of my emotional turmoil! But I loved it. I love the way she joked around to unnerve me.
I smiled and shook my head, "No need to be scared."
Haruka-papa grinned and nodded, as she took the small box into her hand. The tall blonde opened it and I noticed her eyes widened slightly. Then, it was shiny again, or wet? I don't know. The light reflected by her eyes tells me only that much. She looked at me with those eyes.
It was a soft, gentle question.
How can I not remember, Haruka-papa?
"Haruka-papa had a nice daddy once, who gave her all she had. He told her to pursue her dreams, be true to herself. But when her parents discovered Haruka-papa was a homosexual, Haruka-papa's mother went crazy with anger and wanted to hit her. But Haruka-papa's daddy was a good man. A kind understanding good man who wanted nothing but the best for his wild tomboy daughter. So he shielded Haruka-papa from those blows. Her mother was too distraught, and the man torn between his estranged daughter and wife gave Haruka-papa everything he had, and told her to run away and live the life she wanted to live. Hence, Haruka-papa wanted to be the father that you never had by trying to follow her father's footsteps to father you. She would never ask anything from you, so don't you worry, just that you let her love you how her father had loved her," Michiru-mama had told me all that on the Sunday last year, as she tried to comfort me. I was determind to never forget every syllable she uttered.
I remembered those words well. And I also remembered what she, Haruka-papa, told me on that Valentine's Day last year, when she decided to share with Chibiusa and me the tale of when she finally bit the bullet and confessed to Michiru-mama of her undying love.
It was months after you two had met and found you were each other's partner. You told me about how you had gone to Michiru-mama's apartment blind-drunk at two in the morning and had a bunch of flowers with you, but in the process of the night the dozen roses had dwindled to one. All you had to present it in was the empty sake bottle. At first Michiru-mama was shocked by your behaviour, but the sentiment behind the action was not lost on her and as they say the rest was history. I too remember what was said after that.
"My otou-san gave me a gold cross when I was five years old, and on that night to Michiru's it must have fallen off or something because I have never found it since. I'm not very religious but the cross itself was beautiful. I can't bring myself to wear another like it, that's why I wear this one."
Haruka-papa showed us, two attentive girls the cross on a chain around her neck. Haruka-papa seemed downcast and I noticed this immediately.
"What did it look like, Haruka-san?" Aw, Chibiusa beat me to the punch and asked the question. Haruka-papa smiled fondly and sat back, her eyes closed, as she spoke "It was platinum, and has two images - on the front the crucifixion, on the back the Madonna and her child. A single halo intertwined them."
Haruka-papa told in great detail every single part of the cross. I was so engrossed and intrigued; guess Chibiusa was too. After Haruka-papa finished describing it, Chibiusa's eyes were glazed over.
"Why don't you wear another like it, Haruka-san? It sounds beautiful?" Again Haruka-papa's eyes were clouded with sadness.
"It was given to me by my father; before he died. I couldn't bring myself to wear an imitation. Besides, it was so one of a kind, I doubt I would ever find another like it. Even if I do…it wouldn't be as full of meaning as the original."
Now, in her hands, Haruka-papa held a platinum cross. On one side, the Madonna and her child were engraved and on the other was the crucifixion. Haruka-papa was handling it with the delicacy of a mother with her newborn. I took a breath.
"I know it's not the same, but it was all I could think of. Something that would mean something to you, I mean... Chibiusa-chan is always telling me how every present for Mamoru-kun should be a gift that represents something. I know you'll probably never wear it but I wanted you to know that I know how much it means to you."
Haruka-papa gazed over it intently but with a serious expression. Suddenly, she smirked. The blonde reached around her own neck and took off the cross she had there and placed the small delicate shining cross around her neck.
Huh?! I was left mouth was agape. I just expect her to keep it, but wear it?! Didn't she say she won't wear an imitation! Well this was one!
"B-but I thought you said – "
Haruka-papa cut me off, "It's not an imitation, Hime-chan. It's beautiful. My old cross was given to me by someone I loved and who loved me very deeply. And… so is this one."
Love and be loved in return…I know Haruka-papa always sucked at confessions but this…I cannot control my tears anymore. It hurt. It hurt so much to know that Haruka-papa loved me so much and I utter those senseless words last year. I am really a sinner.
"I'm sorry about last year, Haruka-papa…I didn't mean what I said!"
I was desperate. So it came out like a desperate cry of salvation. But warmth enveloped me. Haruka-papa had hugged me.
"Hime-chan, shh, it's okay, I know you didn't mean it."
I pulled back a little and look into the teal eyes that were no, I'm sure, watery, and brimming with warmth of love. "I love you, Hime-chan. You know that, right?"
I didn't respond then, I would be ashamed of myself for the rest of my life. But luckily, I managed to find the voice too.
"Hai. I love you too, Haruka-papa. Happy Father's Day."
After I finished my cereal, I see Haruka-papa walking down the stairs as she flashed a bright smile at me, before she mocked a hurt look.
"Ah Hota-chan? Where's mine?"
Puppy dog eyes followed the child-like question.
I laugh heartily and got off from my seat, "Who can I blame for your failure in preparing a decent meal?"
Puppy dog eyes intensified, and I smiled gently as I grabbed a bowl and some cereal. Haruka looked at me and I couldn't help but grin again.
"Only because you're my father."
And we traded bright smiles. My father and me.
A/N 2 - I hope you all enjoyed that as much as we (impersonal and myself) enjoyed writing it. Hope everyone has a great day tomorrow. Take care and R&R if you can spare a few words for us. Ja nee - VR and impersonal