Disclaimer: I do not own Sailor Moon. The Silver Millennium names Andromeda (Michiru), Rhea (Haruka), and Inanna (Minako) are not mine and belong to Girl Who Writes, who was kind enough to let me use her names for this fic.
Five people Setsuna didn't kiss
(and one person she did)
"Don't tell me the girls have finally worn you out?"
She came as silent as the breeze itself; being of the same generation as Setsuna, it was no surprise that Queen Selenity could move just as silently, just as mysteriously, as the Guardian of Time. Amused, Setsuna briefly tilted her head back to look up at her old childhood friend, long silver strands of hair mixing easily with dark green as Serenity and Venus once again chased each other through the gardens, Luna screeching for them to get back to their studies while Mars, Jupiter, and Mercury looked on in amusement.
"Inanna was begging." Because it was her old friend, Setsuna didn't mind revealing her soft spot for the young princess of Venus. "She was actually doing quite well, so I figured a break was in order." She smiled slightly as Luna gave chase, lowering her eyes to watch. "Luna didn't agree with my decision, but I doubt she'll catch them anytime soon."
"Hmm." Laughing softly, Selenity rested her hands on Setsuna's shoulders and watched the scene unfold over her head, a small smile curving her lips. "You would have made an excellent mother, Setsuna."
"You're making me feel old now."
Selenity laughed again and slid her hands down so she was lightly hugging Setsuna from behind. "You could never be old to me, love," she teased gently. "We're the same age, after all. Saying you're old is admitting I'm old."
It was a familiar feeling to Setsuna, one she'd grown accustomed to over the years; being hugged from behind so intimately by Selenity like this, cheeks just touching as they watched the younger girls. A stranger could have mistaken them for lovers.
Idly Setsuna realized that if she tilted her head just so she could kiss Selenity, and wondered how the other woman would react if she did it.
"Do you ever get tired of sitting on the sidelines, Setsuna?"
The soft question didn't even make Setsuna blink as Andromeda leaned slightly against her shoulder, the princess of Neptune relaxing in the warmth of the afternoon sun as Rhea entertained the girls with stories of the royal court. Normally Setsuna wouldn't even be at one of these gatherings, but Andromeda had grabbed her hand and dragged her along before she could say no.
"It's enough." Setsuna kept her voice soft as Andromeda had, mindful of Rhea's storytelling not to far away. "It's easier to see things coming from the sidelines."
"But not as much fun, I imagine." Andromeda rested her cheek against Setsuna's shoulder and tilted her head to look up at the older woman, her dark blue eyes unreadable.
"Fun isn't part of it. It's what I do."
So simple, so matter of fact. Setsuna wondered why Andromeda was being so stubborn about this particular aspect of her personality; it had never seemed to bother her before. Realizing Andromeda was still looking expectantly at her, Setsuna sighed and lowered her gaze to meet the younger girl's eyes.
And froze, eyes wide, as Andromeda lifted a hand, gently tracing her lips with her fingers. "Maybe you're right," the aqua-haired girl murmured. "Maybe that's what you do. But Setsuna, if you don't have some fun now and then, you'll miss out on life."
Setsuna swallowed—hard—and wondered just how Andromeda had managed to get so close to her in such a short amount of time. "Andromeda, this isn't like you."
Andromeda smiled sadly at the confusion in Setsuna's eyes.
"I know, Setsuna. I know."
Setsuna knew how to dance; it would have been considered odd and unusual for her to not know how to dance considering how many balls and parties were thrown while the Silver Millennium was at its height. It was no surprise, then, that schooled by her teachers she could execute even the waltz with such grace that even the usually loud Venus was stunned into silence.
Dancing with Rhea was not a graceful waltz. Dancing with Rhea was like being caught in a whirlwind, spinning through a tornado and stumbling away like a survivor. Dancing with Rhea was heart pounding and blood rushing, and so sinfully done that her advisors on Pluto would have died from horror on the spot if they'd seen her do it.
Dancing with Rhea was something only Setsuna could do, and maybe in another time or place she might have felt guilty about it. Maybe in another time or place, where Andromeda and Inanna didn't exist, she could have done more than just dance with Rhea.
"Pretty Sets, when are you going to get over your infatuation with Queen Selenity and run away with me?" Eyes gleaming, Rhea spun the senshi of Pluto around so fast that a less experienced dancer would have stumbled, laughing with delight as Setsuna easily kept her footing and twirled around her, green hair streaming in her wake. "We could live a life of sin."
"Only when you figure out that I'm not infatuated with Selenity, regardless of rumors." Setsuna's bare feet flashed around Rhea as the princess of Uranus pulled her in a circle, dark and light melding together in the garden. "And I'm sure Andromeda would be more than happy to sin with you."
"She would," Rhea conceded, pulling Setsuna flush against her so the pair moved as one in their dance. "But I don't like the idea of you being all by yourself." Her eyes lit up as a thought occurred to her. "I know! Perhaps we could pair you off with one of Serenity's girls. You like Inanna, right?"
"Why do you automatically go to Inanna?"
"Because it's pretty obvious you're fond of her, that's why. Or, or…" Rhea narrowed her eyes thoughtfully as she spun Setsuna around again, hugging the older woman tightly from behind. "Or… oh, oh! You could run away with Andromeda and me!"
"Two's a company, three's a crowd Rhea."
"What?" Rhea grinned and spun Setsuna around again so the pair was nose-to-nose. "You don't want to spend your life with me and Andromeda?"
Because doing so would slow the pace of the dance and allow her to catch her breath, Setsuna slid her arms around Rhea's neck. "It wouldn't be a bad thing," she confessed.
"See? So it's settled." Rhea's grin widened, if possible, and she leaned in briefly to nuzzle Setsuna's nose with hers. "When Queen Selenity's done harassing the Outers about how we're handling things, we'll get our stuff and go. I hear Earth is lovely this time of year."
Setsuna knew it was dangerous to dream of such things, but dancing with Rhea always made her think of dangerous things in the first place. Like how it would feel, at that moment, to kiss her as they stood together, breathing heavily and sweating as their hearts and blood pounded.
How Setsuna had ended up in the lake was a matter of debate; the blame seemed to fall squarely between Serenity and Inanna, though no one could say for sure who had grabbed who when Rhea, as a joke, had pushed the boat away from the dock with a gust of wind. Setsuna had a sneaking suspicion that Serenity was to blame in this case, but she hadn't had much time to think about it before she found herself tumbling into icy cold water.
She shot to the surface and dragged in a long gasp of air, coughing slightly as Rhea grinned sheepishly from the boat, rubbing the back of her neck as Andromeda giggled behind her hands and Mars, Mercury, and Jupiter huddled around the dock nervously. "Sorry about that, Sets," the sandy-haired woman said. "Didn't think things would go that way."
Setsuna just sent her a glare as she treaded water and kicked out strongly, beginning to swim to shore; only to yelp and nearly swallow a mouthful of water as something warm and wet settled on her back, arms coming around her neck in a gentle embrace. She choked and hissed in a breath, adjusting to the weight enough to see her reflection in the water. "Inanna, what are you doing?"
"Sorry," the senshi of Venus whispered. "I just, uh… this is the deep end of the lake."
"… I can't swim."
Setsuna blinked. "Oh," she said softly. Now that she thought of it, Rhea usually made it a habit of pulling her pranks in the shallow end of the lake, where the girls could tread water but still touch the bottom if they needed to. Clearly, she hadn't foreseen this outcome as Mars, Mercury, and Jupiter scrambled into the water partly for fun and partly to rescue a wailing Serenity. "Do you want me to get you out?"
"Uh, actually…" Inanna cast a look in the direction of her friends who were splashing and dunking each other, Mars putting up a decent fight in Serenity's defense as Mercury and Jupiter double-teamed them. Even Rhea and Andromeda hadn't been able to resist joining the water fight. Understanding what she wanted, Setsuna sighed.
"All right, fine, but hold on." Setsuna swam out easily through the water like a fish, leaving faint ripples in her wake and not minding the additional weight of Inanna on her back. "If I get drowned because of this, I'm blaming you."
Inanna giggled and hugged Setsuna gently, burying her face into the older woman's hair. "Don't worry," she teased. "I'll protect you."
Amused, Setsuna simply shook her head and continued swimming, approaching the fun at an easy, slow pace that suited her. She jolted briefly as Inanna slid down slightly, still holding on to her neck but now floating freely in the water by her side. "Inanna?"
"I'm okay." Inanna's voice was cheerful, if slightly nervous, and her grip on Setsuna tightened slightly. "As long as I can hold on to you, I'll be okay in the water."
Setsuna sighed again, then slid an arm around Inanna's waist and pulled her close, swimming with ease despite the adjustment. "Don't worry," she said. "I won't let you sink."
Inanna blinked, then smiled slightly as her eyes softened; Setsuna blinked as she felt gentle warmth brush her cheek and looked at Inanna, curiosity and shock mingling in her garnet eyes even as the younger girl blushed. "Thanks, Setsuna," she whispered.
Setsuna blinked again, then slowly returned the smile.
"My pleasure, Inanna."
"You're soft with them."
Recognizing Luna by tone alone, Setsuna sighed as the Mau instructor stood at her side, arms crossed over her chest and her long, curly blue-black hair pulled back in a loose, low ponytail. "They're still young, Luna. They need their moments of fun just as much as they need to study."
"They won't be ready," Luna shot back. "If you keep babying them like this, they'll never be guardians worthy of serving Serenity."
Setsuna closed her eyes slowly. "I know that, but they still need to have a childhood. They need that bond. Being a senshi doesn't mean just studying and being willing to fight, it means being friends and taking the risk of your life to save others." Setsuna opened her eyes. "They'll be ready when the time comes, Luna."
Luna scowled slightly before she groaned and lowered her arms. "I know," she whispered. "But it worries me. They're still just children. Even Rhea and Andromeda…"
"When will that time come, Setsuna?"
Setsuna looked at her slightly, smiling tiredly. "Don't ask me. I only read the streams of time, I can't control them."
Luna nodded and absently tightened the band holding her hair back before turning to face Setsuna, her blue eyes at once scolding and gentle. "I hope for your sake they're ready soon," she said.
"My sake?" Setsuna laughed quietly. "That's an odd reason to hope."
Luna smirked slightly and gently tweaked Setsuna on the forehead. "It's the thought that counts, woman of Pluto," she murmured, and her eyes twinkled. "It might be odd, true, but we rarely ever think logically."
Setsuna lifted a brow. "… Have you finally decided to marry Artemis?"
"Not in this lifetime. Maybe the next one." Luna's smirk became a smile and she turned away. "But what I said still applies. I hope for your sake, Setsuna. Remember that."
As Luna walked away, Setsuna wondered why she suddenly had the urge to hug the woman tightly and beg her not to leave.
She also wondered why that thought made her want to cry.
"You realize how silly you're being, right?"
Minako huffed and spun around, hands on her hips. "I know it's silly," she said. "I know I've met Michiru-san and Haruka-san and Hotaru-chan a million and one times before this. I'm still nervous!"
Setsuna lifted a brow, amused by the blonde's antics as she began to pace, and vaguely hoped she wouldn't leave a groove in the porch. "And why is that?"
"Because this is different! I mean, the million and one times I hung out with them I wasn't dating you!"
It hit Setsuna like a wave. "You're scared of them?"
"Don't laugh, dammit! I can't help it!" Minako stopped pacing long enough to glare accusingly at Setsuna. "It's all your fault as it is!"
"My… fault." Setsuna valiantly fought back the smile before it could form. "Obviously. I absolutely beat you into this against your will. I never gave you a chance to say no."
"Oooh, you're a smartass when you want to be. If I didn't love you for it, I swear I'd hit you right now." Because she needed the comfort, Minako dove into Setsuna's open arms and snuggled in as if her life depended on it. "I can't help it. I'm terrified."
Never once had it occurred to Setsuna that Minako would ever lose her courage; even when facing Galaxia herself the blonde-haired girl had never shrank away from the challenge. But now she was completely, utterly terrified of Haruka and Michiru, and somehow it was at once funny and humbling to know that. Gently, she stroked the younger girl's hair. "Why are you so scared?"
"I want them to like me." Minako's voice was muffled, and her grip on Setsuna tightened slightly. "I mean, I know they do already, but I don't want them to… you know… disapprove of me or anything." She sighed. "This isn't fair. I don't remember you being this nervous when you met my parents."
"They were very lovely people. Your mother wanted to show me photo albums."
Minako shuddered. "Don't remind me."
"It probably helps that Michiru and Haruka aren't my parents."
"Yeah, probably." The senshi of Venus sighed heavily. "I'm still scared of them."
Setsuna pondered the thought briefly before she smiled and sighed, shaking her head. "Guess I have no choice then," she said. The tone of her voice had Minako looking up at her curiously, and before the blonde could ask what she meant by that Setsuna leaned in and kissed her.
Kissing Minako was something Setsuna knew she'd never tire of doing, and the feeling felt knew and fresh every time regardless of place or reason. And when Minako gave a soft little sigh and started kissing her back, Setsuna knew she would be perfectly content to continue kissing her all night.
A crash from inside and something that sounded suspiciously like Haruka squawking indignantly reminded Setsuna of the present situation, and with great reluctance she broke the kiss, watching as Minako slowly opened her eyes. "Feel better?" she asked.
Minako touched her lips with her fingers briefly, smiled, and snuggled into Setsuna's arms again with a happy sigh. "Sets-chan, if that was your way of distracting me, you did a perfect job of it." She took a deep breath, then nodded, pulling back and tightly gripping Setsuna's hand. "All right, let's go in. I think I heard Haruka-san yelling from inside."
Setsuna smiled. "Still scared?"
"A little, but I know you'll protect me." Minako tossed her hair over her shoulder and grinned, her light blue eyes gleaming brilliantly in the moonlight as it spilled onto the porch. "Right, Sets-chan?"
Setsuna gave Minako's hand a gentle squeeze and reached for the door.
"Always, Minako. Always."
Again, for those who might be a little confused: Andromeda -- Michiru, Rhea -- Haruka, Inanna -- Minako. The names aren't mine, they were made up by Girl Who Writes.
I realize that Setsuna is never really in any position to kiss the other five people before Minako, but the idea is that she has the thought or moment where she could kiss them and she chooses not to. At least, that's my logic to it.
Read and review, please!