Disclaimer: I own nothing related to Sailor Moon. The lyrics and idea of Careless Whisper belongs to Seether. I am merely borrowing them.

Author's Note: My response to a challenge issued by LowFlyer1080; write a HaruMich or UsaMichi story set to Careless Whisper by Seether. I hope you enjoy this!

Careless Whisper

"Tonight the music seems so loud
I wish that we could lose the crowd
Maybe it's better this way
We'd hurt each other with the things we want to say."

It was cold.

The brief chill of the winter wind nipped at Sailor Neptune's bare arms, ruffled the soft white wings of Sailor Moon; absently, the older girl rubbed her arms with her hands to ward off the chill, narrowing her eyes against the quick sting. Overhead, the moon was clear and round, so bright that Neptune feared if she looked straight into its light, she would blinded.

Much like the soldier named after it, she mused, glancing at Sailor Moon out of the corner of her eye. The younger girl was blowing gently against her hands, rubbing them together; a gesture that didn't seem to fit the future queen of Crystal Tokyo.

"Usagi." Since they were alone, it seemed only fitting to call her by name. "Let's go home. It's cold. We'll both get sick."

"A little longer," Sailor Moon murmured, lowering her eyes to the busy streets below. "It's nice out."

An eyebrow arched. "It's freezing."

The blonde grinned at her companion. "You don't like the cold, Michiru-san? Kind of funny, since you love the ocean so much."

The violinist snorted softly. "The ocean doesn't have a chill that settles into my bones." She coughed into her fist. "Besides, you and I both know who will get scolded if you catch a cold."

Now Sailor Moon sniffed. "Well, that's Rei-chan's fault for heading back with everyone else. If she was so worried about it, she could have stayed and kept patrolling."

Neptune snorted again, but this time to try and muffle the laughter that nearly escaped; Sailor Moon narrowed her eyes and huffed, turning her back to the senshi of the sea and crossing her arms over her chest. "Mou," she complained, "everyone laughs at me."

It's because you make it too easy.

In the silence that followed, Neptune managed to swallow the rest of her laughter, and Sailor Moon went back to surveying the city. She seemed restless tonight, the aqua-haired girl mused; even with her pouting and good humor, there was quiet tension in her body. Was she feeling the effects of Mamoru being away at America? The man had stayed long enough to ensure everything had settled after the final battle with Galaxia, before heading back to continue his studies. Their princess had seemed to take his absence well enough, but then again…

Softly, Neptune cleared her throat. "Something on your mind tonight, princess?"

Sailor Moon blinked, glancing back at her. "Ha?"

"You seem unsettled. Is something bothering you?"

Quickly, she shook her head. "Oh, no, no! I'm just thinking! We had a hard battle today, I just want to make sure that monster still isn't around."

"Right." Somehow, I don't believe you.

Seeming to think that was the end of it, Sailor Moon nodded to herself and turned back to continue her vigil, muffling a sneeze against her hand. As Sailor Moon continued to watch the city, Neptune silently continued to watch her leader. Another blast of icy wind swept across the top of the building, blowing back their hair and making the golden-haired girl squeal in surprise.

Sailor Neptune, despite being known for being calm and reserved both as a senshi and as her civilian identity, wasn't used to wanting something and not being able to have it. She was also very, very sharp; it hadn't taken her long to notice that her longings had wandered over and seen fit to plop down right on the young, golden-haired senshi of the moon.

It was annoying. It was like an ache in her brain, a gnawing sensation in her belly, a hunger for something she knew she could never eat. It was part of the reason why she had agreed to stay out with Sailor Moon when the others had headed home, Sailor Uranus and Sailor Pluto casting her a confused look as they had left. Perhaps she was torturing herself, but she preferred being close to Sailor Moon, to Usagi, and feeling this hunger, then away at home when her heart wasn't in it.

In hindsight, though, maybe it hadn't been such a good idea. With the two of them alone, her longing had only gotten worse.

The way Sailor Moon was currently acting didn't help. At all.

Quietly, she sighed. It didn't escape her notice that her breath drifted as white wisps through the air before fading away; a sign that the temperature was starting to drop.

Dammit, she could only handle so much cold. "Sailor Moon."

It annoyed her that her voice came out as something between a whine and a plea, settling on some kind of compromise and sounding like a pleading whine. She would like to have a good, long talk with whoever had designed the Sailor senshi battle outfits if she ever had the chances; short sleeves, heels, and skirts didn't make a good combination in chilly weather.

"A little bit longer," Sailor Moon murmured. "I like it."

Growling softly under her breath, the senshi of the sea wrapped her arms tightly around her body and rocked back on her heels, doing her best to contain her body heat. Who had known Sailor Moon would have a thing for the cold?

Scratch that. She'd said she liked it, but the younger girl was shivering. Small, barely noticeable shivers, but they were there; the force of them caused a feather to gently drift from her wings to the icy road below.

Like it, huh? You're just as cold as I am.

But for some reason, the leader of the senshi didn't want to go home yet. Was she really that concerned about the youma? Sure, it had been stronger than most they had fought since defeating Galaxia, but so far as Neptune knew, they had yet to meet any enemy that could actually regenerate itself after being purified…

More to the point, she doesn't want to go back, but she's going to get sick at this rate. I'll never hear the end of it if that happens.

Neptune paused, considering her options. She could always drag Sailor Moon back to the shrine against her will, but that would expend a lot of energy and entail a lot of screaming and kicking along the way, which would undoubtedly attract someone's attention.

She could continue nagging at her leader until the younger girl grew tired of her complaints and finally agreed to head home so they could both warm up, but she didn't like the thought of doing such a thing; it wounded her pride.

So dragging her was out of the question, as was trying to convince her via complaints. What else could she do? It was only going to get colder, and Sailor Moon would probably stay outside until she saw fit to head back.

Well, the problem wasn't so much getting her home as it was keeping her warm. And Neptune could certainly think of a way to do that.

In the meantime, apparently, the senshi of the sea had been too quiet for Sailor Moon's liking. "Michiru-san? Are you still there?"

She moved silently, like a cat; in the several seconds it had taken for Sailor Moon to notice her fellow senshi's silence and speak, Neptune had slipped up behind her and gently looped her arms around the younger girl's waist, gently resting her cheek against the girl's hair. "I'm here," she murmured.

Sailor Moon stiffened; a bright red blush flooded her face, though she did nothing to push the Outer senshi away. "M-M-M-Michiru-san…"

A soft laugh; her breath was warm and soft against her ear. "You asked if I was still here."


"You're cold, right?" Gently, Neptune squeezed her princess. "I saw you shiver. You don't want to go home. This is the next best thing I can think of to keep you from shivering."

Sailor Moon's blush deepened, if possible, but she closed her mouth and no longer seemed to mind; in fact, she seemed to shift slightly, gently pressing back into Neptune. She closed her eyes, her hands gently covering Neptune's. "Haruka-san and Mamo-chan would kill us if they could see this."

Neptune closed her eyes, nuzzling further into Sailor Moon's hair. "It's only one time."

"Yeah." The blonde's voice was soft now, and Neptune pretended to not hear the faint traces of sadness and longing in her tone. "Only one time."

It was still cold.

"Ne, Usagi." Neptune's voice was just as soft to match her companion's. "Are we heading back at all tonight?"

Sailor Moon's hands tightened against Neptune's. Quite suddenly, the older senshi had to fight back the hot surge of tears she felt welling in her throat.

"Just a little longer, Michiru-san."

"We could have been so good together
We could have lived this dance forever
But now who's gonna dance with me?
Please stay."


The End

In retrospect, I wish I'd had a bit more of a chance to develop things in this short, but in the end it is just a one-shot, and I liked having the chance to flex my writing muscles on the UsaMichi pairing. Plus, it's nice to get back and dip my toe into the Sailor Moon fandom, even if only for a short one-shot challenge fic.

Read and review, please!