Disclaimer: If I owned Sailor Moon, I wouldn't be trying to survive my first semester at college.
I. Prince Charming was always a man
Minako has always believed that she would one day find her Prince Charming, and it was always assumed, in some small corner of her mind, that said Prince Charming would be a man. It wasn't so much that she thought that way as it had been established from her childhood thanks to fairy tales and stories she was told from a young age.
Setsuna isn't a man; or if she is, Minako damn well can't tell. Setsuna is all woman: with a slender body, a slim waist, long legs and even longer hair, and many other things that assure Minako that she's a woman. Her skin is softer than a man's, her hands are smaller and slimmer, her eyes a little gentler and her voice is a husky, feminine sound that, to Minako, could never make her a man. Her choice of clothes tends to leave something to be desired, but there's no way to hide her curves.
Prince Charming may be a man, but Setsuna is all woman, and Minako loves her for it.
II. Prince Charming always saved the damsel in distress
Minako has never been a fan of being saved from anything, and she certainly doesn't believe she very well fits the role of a damsel in distress; that has done nothing to change the fact that in stories about love, there is a general theme of the hero saving the heroine, and in her weaker moments Minako will admit that yes, the thought of being saved by Prince Charming is a nice one.
Setsuna can save Minako. She certainly has the power for it, being the Guardian of Time and a Sailor senshi of Pluto, as well as the wielder of the Garnet Rod. Ignoring the strength that comes with her status, she also has the will and the motivation; Minako has never doubted that, for her sake, Setsuna would dive into the darkest cave and slay the cruelest dragon if it meant keeping the senshi of love safe and happy. At her weakest moment Minako has longed for someone to save her, and Setsuna does her best to fulfill the role, to live up to a teenage girl's fantasy.
That doesn't change the fact that sometimes, even the savior needs to be saved, and sometimes the worst enemy she faces are her own demons and nightmares. The Prince Charming Minako grew up with always saved others and never needed to be saved from himself, and he was perfectly happy with his past or had accepted it.
Setsuna has lived with her past for centuries, and even now she hasn't accepted it. Sometimes she wakes up screaming, reaching for people long dead or trying to escape a ghost only she can see; sometimes she whimpers in her sleep, or gazes ahead dully at nothing in a crowd, shutting others out. In those moments, it is Minako who saves her; it is Minako who cradles her tightly, whispering sweet nothings in her ear, it is Minako who clings to her arm or reaches out and gives her hand a gentle squeeze, softly kisses her lips or cheek to bring her back. The small, tired, sheepish smile Setsuna gives her is always enough, more than enough, than Minako could ever hope for.
Prince Charming protects his damsel, and Setsuna fills the role accordingly when it suits her; but it is Minako who saves her, truly, and the young blonde wouldn't trade it for the world.
III. Prince Charming always made verbal declarations of love
As a child, Minako grew up on stories of men who saved princesses, men who made long, undying vows to their new loves to always love them and be by their sides for all eternity. Those declarations of love were long and wordy, and looking back on them now, so many years later, Minako realizes it's a wonder that Prince Charming was never killed mid speech by the villain while making his heartfelt confession; and despite knowing that, she has to admit that, at one time, the thought of being the target of such a confession made her heart race.
Setsuna loves Minako, more than she has ever loved anyone else; but she isn't smooth with words, can't always find right way to articulate her feelings, not that she doesn't try. Soft murmurs when she thinks Minako is asleep, a gentle joke or laugh, a lopsided smile that she never gives anyone else.
There are other things, small things that no one else would notice; waiting after school for Minako despite the attention she brings, a note written in sprawled handwriting on wrinkled paper and left somewhere it will be found, a tiny volleyball charm added to the blonde's bracelet when she isn't looking.
It isn't how Prince Charming would do things, and it isn't the powerful declaration of love Minako always imagined she'd live for.
It is, however, how Setsuna does things, because for her, words just aren't enough—and even when they are, she still struggles to show it somehow to her younger, more idealistic lover.
Minako knows this; she has always known this. It isn't what she imagined, not by a long shot.
It's so, so much more.
IV. Prince Charming always had a perfect body
Minako can still remember how Prince Charming was always described in stories: he was tall, fair-haired, with gentle eyes, gentle hands, perfect skin, and a smile and a voice that would make many young ladies swoon and drop dead (which was sort of a problem, since he was supposed to save them, not kill them). Despite fighting the bad guys and slaying the dragons and enduring all kinds of training, his body was perfect and flawless, with no scars or marks to speak of—unless they were scars or marks that added to his overall attractiveness, of course.
Setsuna is as attractive as any Prince Charming of storytelling, but her body is far from perfect. She has scars, more scars than Minako can count; she was not like the other girls, who were reborn into new, perfect, flawless young bodies that can heal the worst damage. She has only had one body for her whole life, and it is a scarred, imperfect body even when she hides it with make-up and clothes.
Minako knows about scars that she doubts even Michiru and Haruka know exist. She knows, for example, that Setsuna has a thin, barely noticeable scar on her forehead, right over her mark of Pluto, and that she always bleeds there even if the cut is thin; that a long, mean, jagged scar slashes its way down her back, from her shoulder to her hip and is the result of a knifing many years ago by a young man who was high on blood and drugs; and that the small, faded scar over her heart is the result of when Sailor Neptune killed her under Sailor Galaxia's orders, and remained with her even when her Star Seed was returned.
Setsuna's scars tell a story of war, a story of pain and sacrifice; they are the badges she bears as a sign of love for her kingdom, a burden she carries for a duty she has never ignored.
Minako loves each and every one of Setsuna's scars. During the day, she brushes and kisses Setsuna's forehead, right over the place where her mark of Pluto glows brightly; at night, when they are alone, she kisses and soothes every scar she can touch on Setsuna's body, making the older woman gasp and squirm beneath her, whimpering softly until she forgets the pain that brought her those scars in the first place and can only remember the pleasure of them being loved.
Prince Charming has a flawless body, but Setsuna's scars tell a story of a life lived long and well, and Minako treasures how easily Setsuna shares them with her.
V. Prince Charming always promised to stay forever
It is an ending Minako is all too familiar with; as a child, her stories and fairy tales always ended with a 'happily ever after', a promise between Prince Charming and his princess to live together forever. This is how the stories of her childhood always ended, and it is something Minako herself still hopes for sometimes, a chance to live forever with her loved one until the day they both die.
Setsuna is the Guardian of Time, and she knows many things that normal people don't know; she even knows things that Neo-Queen Serenity herself doesn't know. That doesn't change the fact that in the end, there are still things just beyond her sight, things she can never know or control. Forever is one of those things, and it is why she can never promise Minako forever, no matter how much she wants to.
Minako won't deny it hurts, but she can live without forever. For her, the fact that Setsuna can promise her now is enough.
Forever is a hazy concept to Minako, a place and time so far away from where she currently is that even if she reaches out, she knows she'll never be able to touch it or grasp it, bring it closer to her. Now is much clearer to her, much more real and tangible, something she can hold onto and wake up for every day when the rest of the world is too much. Now consists of gently clasped hands and quiet smiles when everyone stares, a tangled mass of arms and legs at night in bed after their passion has put Haruka and Michiru to shame, soft kisses and amused murmurs when it's just the two of them. Now is moments when Minako flirts shamelessly with Setsuna despite their audience, earning a blush and a smile for her efforts, now is times when Setsuna forgets herself and leans in, gently kissing the corner of Minako's mouth because she has some ice cream there and needs to clean it off.
For Prince Charming, forever is the best thing he can offer his princess at the end of the story; for Minako and Setsuna, now is all they can give each other, and now is what they live for as the Coming of Crystal Tokyo inches closer and closer with each passing day.
It scares Minako, to know that one day she might wake up and Setsuna will be gone; but Setsuna is with her now, will be with her for as long as she can stay, and that is all that matters.
Setsuna is no Prince Charming, but Minako wouldn't have her any other way.
I honestly don't know where this came from. I just suddenly thought of "Prince Charming" in fairy tales and all the ways I remembered him being described, and the rest of the fic kind of wrote itself from there. I had some vague idea that it would be from Minako's POV, but that was it.
As a note, I sincerely apologize to anyone who is following "Trigger"/"Heaven Was Needing a Hero". I haven't abandoned either story, but currently school doesn't leave me with much time or energy to write. But have no fear, I will update again eventually! I promise that!
Read and review, please!