Author's Note: I strongly recommend reading my longer work "Destiny" before reading "Dreams", as otherwise, this story won't make much sense.
Thank you to everyone who has so far read, reviewed and/or favourited my earlier stories; please keep enjoying my work.
With her long legs stretched out in front of her, Haruka sat in the window seat of her new apartment, staring at the city below her with angry, storm-coloured eyes. A full moon hung low and heavy in the night sky, bathing her in silver, and though she had always felt comforted by that gentle radiance, tonight it only added to her turmoil. Tonight, it reminded her of all the things she'd spent years trying to suppress; the difference that lived inside her like a stranger, whispering dreams of love and destiny into her heart.
They were treacherous, those dreams, and Haruka didn't trust them. Tempting her with promises that couldn't possibly come true, they sought to draw her away from everything familiar into a strange world that frightened her. Parts of that world were lost in darkness, but that wasn't why Haruka was afraid; she'd lived with the dark all her life and could face its terrors better than most. It was the light that scared her. A bright, shining light that held back the darkness and filled her with a warmth she'd never known. A kingdom on the moon that she had never seen with her own eyes, which she yet knew she would gladly die to protect. A sense of purpose and belonging she rejected because she knew a world that pure couldn't have anything to do with someone like her.
Perhaps she'd belonged to it once, but it was so long ago as to be meaningless now. She was a different person in this life, and she had her own dreams. She didn't need memories of some distant past to tell her who she was. She didn't care about visions of battle and destruction and a beautiful girl who fought with the fury of a storm and loved with the boundlessness of the sea.
It was a lie, of course, but Haruka had spent so many years living in denial she was almost comfortable with it.
Had been comfortable with it, until a few days ago when suddenly the girl wasn't a dream any more. When suddenly, she was standing before Haruka in a school uniform with a sketchbook under her arms and Haruka hadn't been able to stop her heart speeding more than it had in the race she'd just won.
What Haruka would have given to be as indifferent to this girl, this Kaioh Michiru, as she'd tried to appear. With most people, it was easy; they were boring and they held no temptation for her. But Michiru was different. She was extraordinary. Not because of what Elsa had said about her being a talented artist, though that was impressive too, but because Haruka had seen Michiru in her dreams, seen her strength, and her kindness, and knew there was no one else like her.
"Idiot," Haruka whispered under her breath. "What am I thinking? I have what I want; finally, after so many years of striving." She glanced around the sparsely furnished lounge room of her new apartment. This was her dream – independence. To have her own space and be left alone. Just barely a week ago she'd finally achieved it, and she wasn't going to let a pair of blue eyes and a mysterious smile ruin everything she had going for her.
Even if…Even if…Haruka shivered. Even if she was going to have those kinds of dreams about her. Haruka almost hesitated to call it a dream; it had been so real. More like a memory that danced across her skin leaving heat and desire in its wake. Of Michiru lying beneath her, opening to her, lithe body straining upwards into her touch as Haruka reached between her legs. She was so warm and soft that Haruka was near dying just from the feel of her, and already she could imagine the taste of her in her mouth as Michiru kissed her and murmured some strange name against her lips that was not her own.
When Haruka awoke, she was covered in sweat and so aroused it was almost unthinkable not to make herself come, but she refused to let this unknown girl have that much power over her. She chose to have an ice cold shower instead, purging her body of longing, purging her mind of dreams.
And now she sat by her window in solitude, too disturbed to go back to sleep, trying not to think of Michiru but thinking of her anyway. Had they been lovers in that time before, when they were soldiers living in the vastness of space? Was that why Haruka felt so strongly about her? Was that why Michiru had been able to tear through all of her defenses so easily, as if they weren't even there?
"So what if we were?" Haruka muttered out loud to herself. "It doesn't mean anything. There's no way someone like her would ever…" She trailed off and hunched her shoulders. "Anyway, it doesn't matter. I don't need love. I don't need it. All I need is the circuit, and I have that. I'm happy. I want my life to stay exactly as it is."
The words echoed hollowly around the empty apartment, supremely unconvincing. Clenching her teeth in annoyance, Haruka quelled her desires and reminded herself of why she didn't reach out to people, and what happened when she did. In the manner of a punishment she took out one of her most painful memories and forced herself to look at it, reliving every moment of agony and embarrassment. It had happened three months ago, not long after she'd won her first race. A particularly persistent fangirl kept begging her for dates, until finally, to put her off, Haruka told her she was female. The girl looked momentarily surprised, but soon recovered, and smiling daringly replied with a flirtatious "so?"
That smile sent a thrill through Haruka unlike anything she'd ever experienced, and emboldened, she invited her out to dinner. Afterwards, they went for a drive, Haruka cruising down the highway at speeds that had the girl screaming in delight, and glancing at her, Haruka laughed. An unaccustomed lightness filled her heart and instead of suppressing the feeling as she normally would, Haruka began to think, foolishly, that happiness might not be impossible, even for her. When she pulled the car up on a cliff overlooking the ocean, the girl gave her an uneasy look, but Haruka didn't make anything of that, because her own heart was pounding with nervousness as well. She drew close to the girl, placing an arm around her, and though the girl stiffened, she didn't object. Until Haruka tried to kiss her. Then, the disgust clear on her face, the girl pushed her away, and Haruka realised that of course she couldn't have this, that she'd been deluding herself to imagine she could. The girl said something to the effect of never supposing that Haruka was actually a…and would want to do anything with her, and Haruka snickered at her derisively, burying the hurt deep inside. She'd pulled away, started up the car, driven the girl home, and never seen her again.
Michiru, Haruka thought, was no different from that girl. She might flirt with the idea of revolt, but when she had normalcy to fall back on, why would she choose anything else? Boys wouldn't hate her the way they did Haruka; they'd see her as a potential girlfriend, not competition. As talented as she was, as beautiful as she was, she must have more suitors than she knew what to do with. There was no way someone like Haruka would ever have a chance. Not to mention Michiru's family. She must have one of those. Even if, by some remote miracle, Michiru was interested in her, Haruka was sure her family would never approve, and Michiru would have no reason to choose Haruka over her family, even if Haruka was willing to let her do it.
In other words, any relationship between them could only end in disaster, and Haruka was much better off keeping her distance and letting this, whatever this was, pass her by.
If only she could forget about the envelope.
Someone had given it to her at school that day, saying it came from Michiru via a network of friends. It contained a single ticket to the violin recital Michiru was giving tomorrow night, and a simple message that read please come. Haruka immediately decided she wasn't going, and she thought she'd thrown the envelope away, but when she got home, she found it sitting in one of her school books with no idea of how it got there.
That troublesome envelope had gone into the wastepaper basket and been retrieved three times now. It wasn't like Haruka to be indecisive, and she'd finally gone to bed angry with herself still not knowing what she was going to do, and then she'd had the dream and now she couldn't sleep and it was all Michiru's fault!
"Stop being childish," Haruka told herself. "This isn't Michiru's fault, it's yours. Because you don't have the strength to do what you know you have to, and push her away. Just do that, and everything will be fine. Everything will go back to normal."
Her only option was not to go. Unless she went so that she could tell Michiru she never wanted to see her again. Which, logically speaking, didn't make sense, but Haruka was too distracted by an excited flutter in her stomach to notice. Not that she would take any pleasure in being able to see Michiru; she was just bored, and curious to hear the girl play. After the concert, Haruka would make her feelings clear, and then she would go on alone, and she wouldn't regret her choice.
But despite herself, Haruka remembered the warmth of Michiru's body in her dream, and felt the apartment around her grow just a little colder. Even after all this time, after all the hard lessons she'd learnt, she couldn't banish hope completely. Despite her best efforts, it lived on in a small corner of her heart, beleaguered but stubborn, as persistent as her childhood vision of an impossible palace shining on the moon.