Hello readers. This is yet another of these short little ficlets I'm writing on my lunch breaks, inspired by things happening around me. I really suppose you could read these in any order, or no order, and be ok... they're not really a 'series' (mostly because I'm already working on two fairly large series as is, and the idea of a third series makes me want to pitch the computer out the window.)...I suppose Id call them... short stories falling in a serial timeline. There... see? Not a series, just a group of fics who's events tie into one another, and fall into a timeline order. Um... you don't seem too convinced... -sigh- fine, call this a series if you must...

Any way, this fic is inspired by the fact it's getting really cold where I live in Texas. Last night, the roads got kind of icy, and there was an accident about a block and a half from where I live. A young man and his wife. Nobody got hurt, but I just got to thinking, if they'd just stayed home and cuddled up next to the fire, they wouldn't have gotten in a wreck at all. That, or if they'd bought snow chains.

The drive home
By Michael Treiber

Haruka grit her teeth in concentration. The rapidly chilling air was icing up the roads at an alarming rate. It didn't help that she was also... distracted.

Namely by the fact that Michiru was staring at her, waiting for her to answer a question that had been hanging between them all night.

"Haruka..."

This was tearing her up. Was Haruka just being friendly with her, or was there some kind of romantic tension in the air. Was last nights dinner just dinner, or had it been a date?

Haruka was as torn up inside as Michiru... probably more so. After all, Michiru was going to be all right either way. If it had only been friendly, then she was no worse off today than she was yesterday. If it was romantic, well... she'd been pretty comfortable with her own sexuality for a couple of years.

But Haruka... she just wasn't ready to deal with what a same sex romance would have involved. The least of which was dealing with her mother. A mother who, while always supporting everything Haruka had chosen for herself, might not be as accepting of... well...

It was tearing her apart. And the fact that she didn't know how Michiru felt about the whole thing didn't help.

'Wait a minute...' that familiar voice whispered in the back of her head, 'Why don't you ask Michiru about HER feelings?'

"Michiru? How... how do YOU feel about tonight?"

The aqua haired beauty smiled and laid her hand on Haruka's knee.

"Haruka... you're my best friend. You also happen to be a rather attractive woman... and you know how I feel about those. But I don't want to force you into anything you're not ready for. So until you make up your mind for sure, Ill give you whatever you feel like you can handle."

"What if I just want to be friends?"

"Then Ill be the best friend you ever had."

Now came the tough one.

"And if... I ask for... more?"

Using the hand still laying on Haruka's knee, Michiru squeezed once, softly.

"Then I'll let you have... more. As much as you want. "

Haruka drove in silence for a moment longer.

"Michiru?"

"Hmm?"

"The uh... roads are getting kind of nasty. Maybe you should...um..."

Smiling softly, Michiru gave Haruka the moment she needed to regain her composure.

"Maybe you should stay the night."

"Oh? Are you sure?"

Haruka turned into her driveway. She couldn't speak... didn't know what to say if she could have made her mouth work.

The two walked entered Haruka's home, still not saying a word.

"So..." The two started to say at the same time.

Michiru was the first to recover.

"Is... your mother here?"

"No..." Haruka dragged out, "She works late tonight... nobody here but us..."

The way Michiru was looking at her made Haruka's spine tingle. It was as if she... expected something, was waiting for some secret signal from Haruka. To bad Haruka had no idea what she was supposed to do...

"Well, I suppose I'd better show you to the guest room..."

'Wait a minute!' The voice screamed in the back of Haruka's head, 'Tell me you didn't just offer the GUEST ROOM to Michiru!'

Haruka almost bit her tongue. What was Michiru going to think!? She'd been invited in, offered to stay over... and then shuffled off to the guestroom?

But Michiru took it in good grace. Laughing lightly, she took a step closer to Haruka. Then, before the blonde could flinch away, she lightly kissed her on the cheek and whispered,

"Good night Ruka."

"Good night...Michi." Haruka whispered to the other girl's retreating back.

Where HAD those nicknames come from? And why could Haruka still feel Michiru's kiss, soft and warm on her cheek?

It was going to be a long, sleepless night for Haruka.

The end.
27 Nov01- 11:40 a.m.