Disclaimer: I wish I owned Sailor Moon. Sadly, I don't.
One day, Minako grows tired of being scolded by her mother.
It's not an angry, or hot, or rebellious in any way; she's simply weary of sitting at the kitchen table every morning, her father reading his newspaper and her mother moving through the kitchen (because really, she's always moving; Minako has never seen her mother standing still), saying they need to talk to her later, and the inevitable listing of disappointments after dinner.
So one day, she does what she always does; she eats breakfast, she listens to her mother's rant for the morning, she slips on her backpack and puts on her shoes, and she heads out to school.
After school is out, she goes to the Outers' house instead of her own.
And she never goes back.
She moves in with Setsuna, because really, there's nowhere else to put her. Haruka teases about leaving her in the garage for the night, but the senshi of time quietly offers to share her bed. Of course, Minako shares more than her bed for the first few days; she also shares an assortment of different clothes, all worn by Michiru, Haruka, and Setsuna at some point in their lives, because all she has now is her school books and her uniform.
Michiru and Haruka gently prod at Minako whenever they can, trying to understand her abrupt decision; but she smiles and never says a word about it. They continue for awhile, but eventually they give up.
Hotaru doesn't ask because she's still too young to understand; her mamas and papa understand her in a way that Minako's parents never understood their daughter.
Setsuna never says a word. It's never clear if she understands Minako's choice, or if she simply knows that asking the younger girl about it won't do any good. She simply listens when Minako needs someone to listen, and she holds her at night when the tears come.
And she never says a word.
(One day, Haruka goes out and gets her some proper pajamas, because she's sleeping in one of Setsuna's old, oversized shirts. Minako smiles and thanks her, then neatly folds them, stores them away, and keeps the shirt)
This is the side of Minako no one sees; the tears, the fears, the quiet whispers in the dark and the watery giggles. During the day she is the girl everyone knows and understands, a smile on her face and a wisecrack for every moment presented. Then the sun sets, and she dons Setsuna's old shirt for the night.
Sometimes she talks about her day, the people at school, the homework or the tests. Gradually, she starts talking about her hopes and dreams, her fears. She still wants to be a pop idol, despite everything, and Setsuna gently assures her that she'll have time for that.
She cries sometimes. She cries out of fear, out of pain; sometimes she cries because of the loss of her connection with her parents. Setsuna has nothing to say to this, so she simply holds the other girl in her arms.
It's strange to know that Minako trusts Setsuna, and Setsuna alone, with this side of her. It stirs feelings of amazement, pride, and protectiveness in the older woman.
"What are you truly afraid of, Minako?"
Minako tilts her head back and smiles tiredly, and her blue eyes gleam in the darkness. "You really want to know?"
"If you want to tell me."
Minako nuzzles into Setsuna's neck and closes her eyes as the older woman's arm tightens around her waist, pulling her close.
"I'm afraid that I'll never come home."
"Hey, Sets-chan, do you mind if I keep this shirt?"
"Hmm? Why should I mind? You're pretty much keeping it anyway. I was planning to get rid of it."
"I know, I know. But still. Do you mind?"
"No, I don't mind." Garnet eyes gleam in amusement as Minako lies on her belly on her (Setsuna's) bed, wearing her beloved shirt; she came right into the room and changed into it out of her school uniform. "Though I wonder why you like it so much."
Minako just giggles.
It's Setsuna's room, but Minako is starting to leave her mark.
Artemis has taken residence in it, for one thing. Hotaru is thrilled; Haruka never let her have a pet, and she spends much of the day playing with the little white cat. Haruka still threatens to kick him to the curb one of these days, but a sharp look from Michiru ceases her grumblings.
There are other things; a favorite stuffed animal left by the pillows, a small high school book bag leaning against the ancient writing desk, a manga book left on the bookshelf alongside texts of physics and fashion magazines, the pages worn and tearing slightly.
But they represent the unity of two people, a gradual shift of living together that can't be denied.
There's something to be said about the fact that lately, Setsuna doesn't consider her room right unless she sees little pieces of Minako left behind, or Minako herself sprawled on the bed or on the floor, reading or working her way through homework.
("Do you want me to move anything, Sets-chan? I don't want to get in your way."
"No. It's fine.")
"You've been alone a lot, haven't you?"
Setsuna chuckles quietly as Minako gently winds their fingers together, stroking the palms of her hands with her thumb. It's late, and the moon outside is blocked by the clouds of a coming storm; and with the distant rumblings of thunder, Minako is having trouble sleeping.
A flash of blue; two glimmers of light in the darkness. Setsuna wonders when she began to live for those eyes. "Yes," she admits, and her voice is just above a whisper. "I've been alone a lot."
Minako shifts, slides her arm around Setsuna to pull her closer in a gentle hug. She tilts her head back and smiles up at the green-haired woman. "But… you're not alone anymore."
Setsuna gently brushes loose strands of golden hair out of Minako's eyes.
"That's true. I'm not."
And then, one day, Minako disappears.
She says nothing, gives no warning or sign. She simply goes to school like she always does, and then she never comes back.
She never comes home.
Artemis is furious, but it's the sick anger of a guardian whose charge has wandered astray. Luna tries to comfort him, but the white cat seems most soothed when he is in Hotaru's arms, his brow furrowed with dreams the dark-haired little girl can't see.
Rei, Haruka, and Makoto are ready to pound Minako into the ground once she returns. They've even called rights. Ami and Michiru are worried in their own calm, detached kind of way, and Usagi is bubbly and confident that Minako will return when she has set right whatever she needs to.
Setsuna isn't angry, but she isn't worried, either. She simply waits.
(Her pillow isn't wet because of tears. She just left the window open that night, and the wind blew the rain in. She hasn't been crying ever since Minako left)
She doesn't know what's worse; that Minako took nothing with her when she left, or that she doesn't have the heart to change anything from how it's become.
(She takes out her shirt, the one Minako always loved to sleep in, and starts sleeping in it herself)
One month after Minako's disappearance, Setsuna awakes to the feeling that something in the room is off, something has been changed. The window is still closed, and she sits up in bed, rubbing her eyes tiredly and wondering if she's beginning to develop insomnia.
Then her heart skips a beat.
Minako stands quietly in front of her, leaning back slightly against the door, one hand gripping the knob as if she's ready to turn and run if she's given the opportunity. A pair of blue jeans clings to her hips, and she wears a plain white T-shirt and a light blue jacket over it. Her bow, which she has always worn for as long as Setsuna can remember, has been unbound and is now used as a red ribbon to keep her hair tied back so it falls down her back in a long ponytail, much like the Starlights. Her blue eyes gleam in the darkness, uncertainty shining in their depths.
Moving slowly, Setsuna rises from bed and walks on silent feet to stand in front of the younger girl; but she keeps a measured distance between them, and Minako won't meet her eyes. And then, after a few minutes, Minako takes a deep breath and cautiously tilts her head back.
Blue meets garnet.
Setsuna's eyes widen slightly before softening in understanding; she closes the distance, pulling Minako into a gentle embrace, and the senshi of love sags against her, her arms tight around the taller woman and her whole body trembling as Setsuna rests her cheek against her hair. "Welcome home," she whispers.
"Are you still afraid?"
A soft laugh in the darkness; Minako reaches out, and Setsuna is right there. Their hands clasp together, fingers intertwined.
"No. I'm not."
Yeah, um, again, inspired by Girl Who Writes. She recently linked me to some of her Sets/Mina drabbles, and they're just gorgeous, simply gorgeous. The best written Sets/Mina I've probably ever read. So I read those, and wrote this.
Read and review, please!