Hotaru and I

Summary: "I won't sugarcoat it, kid. Michiru-mama walked out on us, and Setsuna-mama left us for some bigger and better things. It's sad but true. I'm still here, though, and I won't leave you for anything. Believe in that."

Disclaimer: Unfortunately, I don't own Sailor Moon. Sorry to disappoint.

A/N: A distraction one-shot I came up with. I don't know when my other stories will update, but they will! Anyway, let's start the fic, shall we?

Hotaru and I both love hot days. Despite being born in the winter, there is something about the sizzling heat that captivates us. Hot days mean the sun will be out for a long time, and there'll be nothing that could ruin the weather; rain couldn't suddenly fall from the clouds when the sun is trying to burn the inhabitants of Earth to a crisp. Of course, an occasional breeze is nice and all, but it never helps cool the atmosphere in our little corner of the neighborhood. When the wind blows hot air in our faces, our love for the heat intensifies.

Hey, what am I talking about? We hate the heat!

It's summer now, and it has grown too hot for Hotaru and I. On those really hot days, Hotaru and I do nothing all day, sometimes being too lazy to move a muscle. The unbearable heat makes us use all the fans we have in our tiny apartment – all one of them. I put it on rotate and sit in front of it with Hotaru on my lap, half hoping it will help (even though it obviously won't). We turn on the TV and waste our days away, having fun doing it together. On weekends, however, we drive around with no clear destination. (The car we have is crap compared to the glory days, but it still describes us both.) The windows would be down, letting the outside air act as our AC. Hotaru enjoys it, or so she tells me. I believe her when she says that, and that makes me happier more than cars and running put together. It lets me know that I'm doing something right in this parenting thing – this single parenting thing.

Heh, if I think about those days now, I think I'll get all choked up, so it would probably be best if I didn't talk about them just yet. Perhaps I can recount the days everything began to change for the two of us and how my spirit, as well as Hotaru's, began to decline – yes, stating several facts first before giving explanations for each one has always worked for me; that distracts me for a while before going into details.

Ah, how I remember when Setsuna and Michiru left to follow their dreams! It was a very bold move on their part, and for that I commend them! If I were a bitter person, I would say their dreams are fickle and change rather quickly from time to time (like changing their focus from Hotaru to something else). Of course, I am not bitter – not in the slightest – anymore. My feelings at the time are currently irrelevant, so I will continue.

Setsuna and Michiru left to follow their dreams, leaving me with Hotaru. She was still young – only six, the poor kid – so I'm sure she still remembers them. Part of me wished that she didn't once she lost her smiles. Those smiles were replaced with sloppily made masks. It hurt to see them because I knew there was only one way to make her feel better, and that was to bring her family back together. However, now it was just Hotaru and I, and I couldn't provide everything she needed – I was only one person.

With that being said, I had to sell everything. Yeah, everything. I couldn't afford everything by myself anymore; I had retired from racing to spend more time with Hotaru before things got out of hand. I bought a cozy little apartment for the two of us with the money we had gotten and saved whatever else was left. At that point, I only had simple jobs to rely on, so I wasn't raking in a lot of cash. Hotaru and I still got by, though, and that made us content.

Despite the pain we felt on the inside, we were happy that we could make it another day. As a test to myself, I proved that I could take care of Hotaru on my own. I never asked for external help like money or babysitters for Hotaru. That girl was help enough. Together, we were proficient as a family.

However, it was hard – very difficult in the beginning. Hotaru was always sad, I was tired, and I never knew what to do. I couldn't be the parent her Michiru-mama or Setsuna-mama had been, so I couldn't be as gentle as they had been with her. Perhaps at the time, she still only saw me as Haruka-papa. Among Michiru, Setsuna, and I, I was the playmate; I was the one who entertained her the most. I'm sure I was much more to her than that, but that's what I was. So how could I be what Michiru and Setsuna were to her while being myself at the same time?

Well, that was just it – I couldn't.

In the beginning, Hotaru was torn apart. I knew she cried many nights, but I didn't stop her. If crying was her outlet, I would let her cry. Did I want to comfort her and wipe her tears away? Yes, I did. There was only one thing that stopped me from doing that: the thought of her pushing me away. She was the only important thing I had left in this world, and I didn't want her to reject me. So for those many nights, I let her cry.

A month went by, and the crying lessened (or she had become better at hiding her tears). She crafted her masks with more skill, and I played along for her sake. It soon became easy to see why Hotaru chose to be that way – the more you lie to yourself, the more you believe the lies. For that reason, I praised my little girl, finding a way to reduce the pain!

Hotaru and I continue lying to ourselves for another month or so until that day we rose from our own ashes like phoenixes. Hotaru had been crying. Her mask had been taken off, which struck me as odd because she was crying in the day – in the living room no less! She was lying on the futon, her back facing me. I was confused at her quiet sobs, as I had just been in the room and she was fine, smiling and everything. I guessed she needed a moment to reflect on what had happened to us up until then.

'She'll stop crying, right?' I thought. 'She'll recompose herself like always, won't she?' I waited for a while, though I don't know how long. Did I really expect her to stop? Yes, I did. She needed to be strong for me. (Without her, I wouldn't be able to move on with my life. Oh no, I wouldn't off myself. My life would continue, but I'd have no drive to live it to the fullest like I used to.) Was I being selfish, needing support from a six-year-old? I guess so, yeah. Back then, I needed her happiness – I fed off of it. If she was sad, I apparently wasn't doing my job correctly.

The crying hadn't stopped yet, but she began to stir. Before she was able to turn around and find me, I enveloped her in my arms and squeezed her tight. The thought of her pushing me away hadn't surfaced in my mind at all, and now that I think about it, my fear was completely unfounded. She leaned into me and grabbed my forearms with her little hands, accepting my actions. Time passed as I held her in my arms, never wanting to let go. However, I needed to get things straight with her so that we could live a more enjoyable life together. I turned her around and wiped her tears away before delicately placing her hands in mine.

"I won't sugarcoat it, kid. Michiru-mama walked out on us, and Setsuna-mama left us for bigger and better things. It's sad but true. I'm still here, though, and I won't leave you for anything. Believe in that."

Hotaru stared at me blankly as she nodded her head rather slowly. I shook her a bit and said, "You got that?" Hotaru's eyes focused on me as she giggled. She was nodding vigorously, and I was excited. For the first time in a very long time, I was excited. Hotaru had finally smiled a real smile for the first time in months! I– me, Ten'ou Haruka! – had made her smile! I hadn't accomplished such a feat in ages!

From that day on, we've been the happiest we could ever be.

Why did we go through all of that? Well, the family went through some changes. Setsuna went from a school nurse to a doctor who wanted to fix the world's ailments. Eventually, she left, and Michiru, Hotaru and I were all that remained. Michiru and I were already having issues, so when Setsuna left, Michiru soon abandoned us. Leaving only Hotaru and I, she went on to become the violinist she had always wanted to be. Apparently, the family had only been standing in her way.

…Damn, I knew I'd get emotional from the thought! Well, it's been two years since then, and Hotaru and I have been doing fine. We have regular snowball fights and birthday celebrations in the winter, view the cherry blossoms in the spring, do nothing in the summer, and wait to do everything all over again in the fall. Hotaru and I are still a family, even if it's just the two of us from now on.

Just a little something I wrote up for myself last year, heh. Found it while Hotaru and I were cleaning the place up a bit. Ignore whatever stains you find on the paper, okay? I guess I wanted to let you know that we're still doing alright!

Setsuna placed the cup on the table as she watched Michiru pace back and forth. Michiru was reading the letter Haruka had written a while ago. Setsuna had been the one the blonde had sent it to, and she was surprised Haruka knew where to send it. She had lived in America when she had received it, but she wasn't always there – she went to many places around the world, trying to help others the only way she knew how: medicine. The smartest thing to do would be to send the letter to Michiru, who obviously lived relatively closer than Setsuna. Of course, Michiru probably wouldn't have brought the letter to her attention anyway, so Haruka probably made the best decision.

"So, what do you think?" Setsuna asked. Michiru finally stopped pacing and looked up at the other woman. "She wouldn't have had to go in reverse if we didn't leave them," she said softly. Setsuna sighed softly and nodded. She had hoped that she could still support everyone after she had left, but she heard how bad things had gotten and how Haruka was acting (not wanting "external" help). Alas, things happened how they happened, and everything ended up being okay; that was all that mattered.

A knock was heard at the door, and both women rushed to answer it. They looked at each other and laughed at themselves. This was how badly they wanted to see Haruka and her Hotaru. Michiru opened the door, and Setsuna said a greeting at the shocked visitors. As Haruka sputtered out words in confusion, they noticed Hotaru blankly staring at them, not knowing out to regard them after not seeing them for so long.

Upon entering, Michiru and Setsuna asked many questions at once, which overloaded Haruka and Hotaru. They noted how in tune they were with each other. Once things settled down, Setsuna asked, "How have you both been?" Haruka grinned as she hooked her arm around Hotaru, who looked up at her. "We've been awesome! Isn't that right, kid?"

"I thought we agreed I wasn't kid anymore!"

"You'll always be my kid, so you'll just have to deal with it."

Hotaru crossed her arms and pouted, provoking a laugh from all three women. Setsuna and Michiru smiled at each other for a moment, silently agreeing that Hotaru and Haruka were a happier family than before – back when the family included all four of them.


And that's all. I like it, personally. It's different from all of the yuri and romance, and it was nice to write something new XD I mainly wanted to focus on Haruka and Hotaru, so that's why didn't make it any longer. Hope you enjoyed, and tell me what you thought! Til next story