Disclaimer: I do not own Haruka and Michiru's characters, they belong to Naoko Takeuchi. All other characters and this story belong to me.
Note: This is rated "M" for a reason. If you have issues with coarse language, girl on girl action and substance abuse references, do not indulge yourself in this.
It was a very warm day in late September. The sun reflected off of the pavement and the large white plane, basking her in its rays. Haruka could not wait to get inside the air-conditioned space.
"Are you ready?" Ichiro looked at her and then the plane.
Haruka was ready. She took care of everything there was. There was not a trace of Tenoh Haruka or any of her aliases ever living in Japan. Aside from the gravestone above an empty grave. The only property she kept was the house she gifted to Ichiro. The only possessions she took where her favorite weapons form the collection in her apartment that rested in a case aboard the plane and the two photographs that were in the back pocket of her jeans. She said her goodbyes. If it was hard to say them to Daiki and Hiro, it felt devastating to say it to the man who was like a brother to her.
"Haru, you're not going to another universe. Settle in, I'll come to visit you next month." He handed her a small phone. "This is the same kind governments use, it's untraceable and works anywhere around the world. You can call me every day. I sure as hell will."
They both smiled, giving each other courage. "If you change your mind, you're always welcome to come back."
She cocked an eyebrow. "You're always welcome to come live with me too."
They both nodded at the unlikely possibilities. "Okay. Go on. These airport scenes are much too melodramatic for my taste."
She smiled again. "You're right. They are." She gave him a tight embrace which he returned and headed to the plane.
Ichiro watched her climb up the steps and disappear inside his jet. It was strange, he never felt this sort of pain before. No one he cared for has ever left. Not of their own volition anyway. He was about to get in his car when he saw a woman running towards the plane. He signaled to his crew to wait. "Kaioh-san?"
Eiko was out of breath. She moved the large suitcase she was carrying behind closer and sat on top of it. "Hi, I hear there is an almost empty plane departing… I was wondering if I can get a seat."
Ichiro cocked his head to the side and looked at the plane.
x x x
The cold air blew in her face as soon as Haruka disappeared inside the plane and she smiled in relief. It felt heavenly. Maybe other things did not go as well as she wished, but at least she was not burning in hell anymore. Not physically. She nodded to the pilot who she met earlier and headed for the seating area. Never in her life has she flown alone. This time would not be an exception. She stared at the woman sitting comfortably in one of the wide seats and sipping on some bubbly.
"You know, same-sex marriage is not legal in Japan." Michiru set the glass down and showed Haruka the platinum ring dazzled with aquamarines that she held between her thumb and index finger.
"It is where we're going."
"And where is that?"
"Sweden." Haruka came out of her momentary paralysis and walked up to the smaller woman, extending her hand. "May I?"
Michiru put the ring in the palm of Haruka's hand. Like any proper knight in shining armor would, Haruka went on her knee. "Will you marry me?"
Michiru smiled. "Isn't my presence here indication enough?"
"Is that a yes?"
Michiru smiled with all her teeth and shook her head. "No."
Haruka's throat turned dry as she frantically tried to find words that would not lead to another argument. "Why not?"
"Haruka, you're not used to sharing your feelings and I understand that, I do. However, you have to understand me too. Relationship is a two-way street and so far we've only been able to travel in one direction. You can't fix a problem by a hasty proposal, it doesn't resolve anything."
"It wasn't hasty, I -"
Michiru brought her index finger to Haruka's lips, silencing her mid-sentence. "I love you. I want to be with you, that's why I'm here." Michiru's finger traced the shape of Haruka's lips despite her attempt to fully concentrate on what she was saying. "Ask me again when you have no doubts that that's what you want."
"I don't -"
"You do… but that's okay. Let's just start over. Wherever it is we're going."
Haruka stared dumbly at the ring she was still holding. Rejection was not something she was used to, not that she has tried anything like this before in a similar context. She had no idea what to do with the darn thing.
"You can put it here for safekeeping for now."
Haruka's eyes rose to the hand that Michiru extended to her. Hesitantly, she put the ring on Michiru's right ring finger. It was a little big, but unlikely to fall off. Haruka was still looking at the piece of jewelry when she felt soft lips cover her own. It was all she needed to forget about all the doubts, the rejection, the uncertainty. She responded by deepening the kiss as her hand slid behind Michiru to her lower back. It oddly felt both familiar and new. Haruka wondered how many crew members were aboard the plane and what she had to do to make them stay away for a while, or for the duration of the flight.
"Oh come on, could you at least wait until you're somewhere where it's more proper."
They both froze. "Mom?" Michiru came to her senses first.
"What the hell are you doing here?" Haruka rose to her feet and stared at Eiko who was standing in front of them. It almost felt like a bad deja vu.
"You didn't think that you two can just fly into the sunset and live happily ever after, leaving me here with that terrible husband of mine, did you?" Eiko sat down across from Michiru.
"I don't think you can blackmail me into taking you with us." Haruka pointed out.
"I don't need to. This isn't your plane, and the kind man said that I can fly with you."
"Please take your seats, we're preparing for takeoff." The flight attendant stepped inside and bowed to them.
Haruka sat down between Michiru and the window and stared out. "The kind man?" Her suspicious eyes found Ichiro getting in the black Enzo as the door was sealed and the lights came on. She pulled out the phone he gave her and dialed his number.
The plane taxied towards the strip and she watched him drive to a service road that traveled parallel to the strip. They both knew the plane would win that race, but Haruka envied the enjoyment Ichiro was having at the moment.
She ignored his antics. "Why is Eiko on the plane?"
"You didn't want to be alone. Now you're not. You've got your own family. Good for you."
"Have a safe flight, Haru." He disconnected the phone and she watched him race down the road until the plane took off and the Enzo became a dot that soon disappeared. She turned to the two women who were watching her closely.
Michiru passed the champagne glass around. "Here, to new life."
"Michiru, it's only nine in the morning." Haruka growled from her seat.
"Good thing it's still night in Sweden, then." She smiled at her love and gave her a quick kiss on the lips. "Don't worry, it's non-alcoholic."
x x x
On the ground, Ichiro watched as the plane gained elevation and disappeared through the white clouds. He wondered if he made the right choice. Sure he did not know life outside of the one he lived, but neither did Haruka. It did not require such a drastic step to change someone's life. Maybe he would give it another thought. For now, he would just plan to visit in a couple of weeks. He too did not want to be alone.