Title: Too Many Times
Author: Girl Who Writes
Prompt: Haruka/Michiru – Too many times
Words: 1 416
Summary: They each recall their past, where there are regrets and hopes, secrets and joys; where their histories were made in repetition, in nagging doubts and secretive hopes.
Notes: This is quite different from what I normally write, and a bit odd - well, most of my fics can be classified as 'a little bit odd', but I digress. However, there is something about it I really like. Written for LJ's May 2008 Yuri Challenge.
Disclaimer: The characters of Michiru and Haruka belong to Toei, Bandai and Naoko Takeuchi. I make no profit from this fan-based venture.
Too many times, she has to look away, turn a blind eye; pretend that she is not watching, not listening. Too many times, she catches Haruka's eyes wandering, that far-too-charming smile gracing her face, so androgynous in its smooth lines; and, in that lovely husky voice, offering the sweetest words and the easiest of compliments.
Michiru wonders if Haruka had been more honourable in their past life. Oh, Haruka was honourable in every way that mattered. It was only Michiru who warmed her bed, always Michiru on her arm, always Michiru who she looked into the eyes of, and murmured her deepest secrets to Michiru, knowing them well-guarded.
It was those times Michiru considered herself best-loved, that their legacy from the Silver Millennium was unwavering love, one that had been tried and tested far harder and more often than that of Endymion and Serenity's.
But when Haruka's gaze faltered, Michiru felt the shadow cross her face; that perhaps she should step backwards, let Haruka free to look wherever she wanted; to see if Haruka's gaze ever fell back on her.
She watches as Usagi trips her way down the street, ribbons of hair fanning out behind her, and she holds her school books closer to herself, her gaze surreptitiously on Haruka as the Princess beams at them. Oh, the Princess, who is a beacon of innocence and affection for all. But she is no longer the child-soldier she was. Her school uniform does not disguise her curves, her slim waist. Michiru notices, so of course Haruka has noticed, and enjoys continuing to notice.
"Haruka, Michiru!" Usagi beams, and Michiru manages a thin smile; Haruka's smile is very welcoming.
It is impossible to be jealous of the Princess; Usagi is not one lowered to such human misgivings as jealousy.
"Kitten," Haruka's arm is around the Princess's shoulders and Michiru thinks that it might have been more palatable had Haruka only saw the Princess, but it is not so; that in truth Haruka is a connoisseur of feminine beauty and that appreciation is not betrayal, no matter how much it stings.
Too many times has she lead Michiru into danger, to her death. Not with a kiss or a farewell, but simply an apology in her eyes and a hollow feeling in her heart.
She does not trust easily; how many times has she been burnt? She can't recall off the top of her, and she doesn't want to recall every incident that made her a little colder towards friends, put the wall between her and everyone else – Haruka Tenoh against the world.
Michiru had always been different, from that very first meeting.
Perhaps because the dreams haunted her waking self; that the first day, Michiru had stood with the sun behind her, an avenging angel that would hold her back, never let her run again.
Michiru had made her no promises; had offered only warnings. So unlike herself; she respected that, that Michiru could meet her sharp gaze and not back down, not until she listened.
Michiru had saved her; in the beginning, Michiru had been her conscience, had tempered her – the ying to her yang. No one had ever faced her before with such respect and affection.
What had Haruka brought her? A death or two that Michiru should never have died; Michiru was stronger, smarter, more calculating as a soldier than she could ever be. It was her own stupid mistakes that killed Michiru, Neptune, time after time. If she had been more careful, it would have be here Eudial caught and Michiru would have been smart enough that she could have salvaged the entire ugly tableau, with their mortality never called into question – Michiru Kaioh was above the ugliness that was death.
Galaxia, too, had been her cunning plan. So simple – too simple to ever work, she now knows, but hindsight is always twenty-twenty, and regret is bitter in her mouth.
She has never wanted more than to keep Michiru safe, when all she ever does is drag her down with her.
Over and over, she waits up, a solitary vigil; her face pale with deepest fears, her pretty mouth twisted in an unhappy frown as her mind taunts her, refuses to let go of ideas of death and suffering, that she might be waiting up for no one to come home.
Chaos came back to find them, to burn Serenity and the promise of her legacy from the cosmos, its unholy retribution. Chaos came with shadowed skies, with spilt blood and with few sanctuaries from the evil that over-ran Tokyo.
They sought their safety in the shrine, the sacred ground a refuge for the hell that lay beyond its boundaries.
Every day, every night, the senshi ventured into the city, to rescue the innocents, to beat back the darkness as it tried to swallow the city whole, as Sailor Moon – Serenity – lay still, unconscious, waiting for something, the catalyst that would bring Crystal Tokyo, the Neo Queen forth.
And when Haruka, Uranus, ventured into the darkness with the Space Sword at her hip and a confident tilt to her head, she waited and worried. Sometimes Hotaru would wait with her, falling asleep as the hours ticked by.
Only when the sun breaks through the horizon, when morning lights falls across her pale, exhausted face, does Uranus reappear. She is streaked with drying blood – some hers (who thought the Space Sword could cut its wielder so true?) and some innocent; a limb littered a twist of bruises, an uneven gait as she moves across the room.
And Michiru holds her, smoothes her blood hair from her face as Haruka tumbles into restless, exhausted sleep.
So many times has Michiru paced, worrying whether Uranus will cross the threshold again of her own free will, with that drained but charming smile and the soft sigh of well deserved rest as she closes her eyes and drifts off to sleep against Michiru's shoulder.
So many times; however, even a single night of such terror-filled worry is too many when it is Haruka's safety, Haruka's life, that is threatened.
She hates waking up alone; curling towards the other side of the bed, where her rich flowery perfume scents her pillow and the sheets are cold to touch. The only clue that she even had a bed partner is the subtly rumpled sheets.
She lies there and watches that empty space; it is ugly and impersonal, and she drags herself out of bed. Perhaps the shower is running, or she is lingering over her bubble bath, the centre piece amongst the bubbles. She is exquisite amongst the bubbles, a porcelain-skinned nymph, with her silky hair pinned at the top of head. It is the sort of beauty that always makes her pause; that makes her wish the moment could be savored.
But there had been times when her absence in Haruka's arms was painful; when the extent of her disappearance would not have been the indulgence of a bubble bath, or painting the early morning light from the palace, but rather something more temptingly fatal. Even now, so many years after their fights have finished, that terrible worry that Michiru is, simply, gone, always hovers at the end of her subconscious. It is not as though Haruka has not given Michiru enough opportunities to leave, her faults are cheerfully acknowledge, and rather numerous.
That is her fear. The time of death has passed; it is an old, ugly fear that should be long discarded but she still worries, curls tighter under the covers and waits.
"Haruka?" The sweet voice murmurs in her ears, her breath warm. Lips brush against her jaw and she smiles, her eyes still closed. She smells richly of flowers, her expensive French perfume that seems to have permeated everything they share; the smell even lingers in her car, faint but there. A constant whispered reminder.
A warm torso slides against hers, and skin against skin – Haruka's warm, Michiru's morning-cold. Lips press against lips, hands against skin as they mould together as they always have, always will.
And as warm, early morning light falls upon their bed, they remain curled together, each recalling their past, where there are regrets and hopes, fears and joys; where their histories were made in repetition, in nagging doubts and secretive hopes.
"Haruka," Michiru murmurs, tracing the curve of Haruka's cheek, her lips twisted in a contented smile.
And she presses a butterfly-light kiss to her mouth.