Supervising the scene seemed pointless. Especially more-so than usual.
Haruka and Michiru overlooked the scene of a confrontation of the inner soldiers and yet another synthesized daimon.
Child's play, Haruka thought to herself. They're not ready for the next wave of war. Haruka stood with her hands shoved in her black slacks, simply looking down to the battlefield. Her white collared shirt flowed loosely on her, comfortably; how she preferred to be dressed.
As if reading her thoughts, Michiru stepped up to her partner closely, looping one arm through hers. "They're not ready." The petite woman bleakly said.
Haruka took the hand closest to Michiru out of her pocket, wrapping her arm around her instead. No sense in hiding physical displays now. We could be counting the last of our days, she thought darkly. Not wanting to dismiss Michiru's statement, Haruka responded in agreement, nodding. "You're right."
The daimons before them paled in comparison to the Carvers in terms of what they were capable of. The Carvers had shown, at the Marine Cathedral, what they harnessed the power to do. Their execution in precision removal of a person's organs, inflicting a state of near mummification, had been an impressive, though terrifying display. Yet the most unsettling segment of the Carvers process was how they lured their victims; as if a siren was calling to them, whose call could not go unheeded.
"They struggle as they are with daimons. Look at the victim we found at the Cathedral." Haruka spoke somberly, stricken by their findings at the scene. "Completely eluded us, indoctrinated the man, and harvested his organs. If they can accomplish all that, who knows how much more lethal their combative capabilities can be?" She shook her head, frustrated by the enemies swift evasion.
"We could have stayed there, set a trap." Michiru offered, though them both being aware it was hardly the best course of action at the time they encountered the body. "Although to stay in a place where we're hardly confident there isn't a trap waiting for us, would have been dangerous." Remembering the last time the two had been in the Cathedral they had been placed in a compromising position, leading to their deaths. They weren't eager to return to the same realm again.
Haruka nodded; being confident, in spite of her anger at missing the enemy and providing the enemy strength, they had chosen wisely by leaving.
They had another plan for the day, aside of their typical supervisory duties. Sailor Mercury was, without a shadow of a doubt, their most intelligent soldier. Her knowledge of anatomy in particular would prove of immeasurable value in determining more information of the Carvers victims; ideally to provide a lead or trail of sort.
"I don't foresee us being able to catch their trail for a while. As horrible as it may sound, we may as well derive the most information we can of the victims bodies." Michiru said, speaking devoid of any real emotion.
The problem, in Haruka's eyes, was the rather unfortunate truth that the rest of the inner soldiers could not be kept at bay on this. Were Mercury brought in on it, they would all have to become involved with the new pertinent information on the Carvers. She preferred the less of them involved, the better. Such was not an option in this situation.
Haruka had become increasingly lost in her thoughts, gazing at the scene below, yet not recognizing the battle had come and gone. A soft kiss on her cheek brought her back to the present, realizing the inner soldiers had disposed of their enemy.
"Ready?" Michiru asked, unlatching her arm from Haruka to rest at her side.
Haruka nodded, proceeding back the way they had arrived; to the street level.
"I hate daimons…" Usagi groaned, voicing what all of her friends more than likely thought.
The five girls lay strewn upon the floor in Rei's room, inspecting and treating their freshly inflicted wounds; the soreness of the early afternoon's battle prevalent in all of them.
"I don't know how long I can keep this up." Minako complained, adding on to Usagi's sentiment.
"It does grow tiresome." Ami agreed, evaluating a fresh scrape on Makoto's leg.
"You can't let the enemy overwhelm you like this, ladies. We have more unknowns to face with other enemies." Luna spoke, subtly reminding the inner soldiers of the other dormant threat looming on the horizon.
A door slid open to reveal Haruka and Michiru, their faces not as chipper as they may have been typically.
"Haruka, Michiru." Rei stood from her position on the ground, all the girls taking this as the cue to at the least sit up. She offered a polite bow, as did the couple.
"What brings you two here?" Minako was the first to ask curiously.
"The news isn't ideal." Haruka admitted, her face still not displaying any signs other than seriousness. They stepped into the room, closing the door behind them. "Take a seat for this one."
The seven of them sat closely huddled around the table in the room, each grasping a small cup of tea in their hands, speaking in hushed tones. All the soldiers being well aware of maintaining confidentiality with such sensitive matters; and when it was duty related, it was damn sure sensitive.
"So what is it?" Usagi asked insistently, some of the other girls nodded as well letting their curiosity get the best of them.
"Well, you should know it's more than likely about Kali. But the new pawns in the picture are the Carvers." The girls said nothing to Haruka's statement, but their looks of discontent were obvious; their new enemy had been unveiled. Something they had all expected sooner than later.
"Why didn't you tell us you needed help?" Makoto was first to ask what they all pondered. "We're not enemies, right?"
Michiru shook her head at this, picking up where Haruka left off. "The enemy escaped us. All we found was the body of a man on an altar in the Marine Cathedral."
The color drained from some of the faces at the table; before they had even had a chance to fight for justice, a life had been forfeited. It took several moments before Ami broke the silence once more. "Why the Cathedral? I wasn't aware it still stood." Looking down to her cup of tea, she pondered more to herself, more than likely something incorporating calculations.
"Kali told me we would find the first victim there." Five sets of eyes looked suspiciously, inquiry present. The girls struck the outer soldiers as naïve and uninformed, but their instincts guided them well for the most part; they knew Kali was an entity more than likely to not be trusted.
"Kali certainly seems well-informed." Luna spoke up from her spot in the corner, suspecting she knew the rationale as to why Kali knew what they knew.
Haruka and Michiru didn't bother mentioning that Setsuna may know more than she were letting on. It seemed an easily refuted fact considering the trickster they dealt with.
"When we arrived at the Cathedral it was empty. There was no trace of a struggle or battle." Haruka continued, deviating from Kali and the unknowns in that territory. "Then we saw the corpse...and what the Carvers took from him."
"And what they left." Michiru added, not forgetting the Carvers left the man's heart intact.
"Did they skin him or something?" Minako asked, not understanding the intent of their enemy; none of them did. The outer soldiers included.
Michiru shook her head. "They took all his vital organs. But left his heart."
"That's...awful." Usagi lamented, the horror of the Carvers actions evident on all faces in the room. Haruka and Michiru were the only ones keeping expressionless faces.
"Aside of informing you ladies of our first victim," Haruka started once more, letting her sentence go unfinished, prompting Michiru to speak.
"We wanted to employ you all on this as well." The aquamarine haired beauty spoke, still not emitting any sign of a smile.
The offer took the younger women by surprise, not expecting the more seasoned soldiers to extend anything akin to an alliance. Uranus and Neptune's supervisory role is typically as close as the two groups took to any type of unity.
"You want our help?" Usagi asked out of disbelief, again voicing the thoughts of her peers.
The couple nodded, with Haruka raising a hand to prevent the barrage of questions the younger girls were sure to ask. "Don't misunderstand; this is something being formed on the basis of Ami Mizuno's extensive knowledge of human anatomy." The statement provoked further disconcerted looks, and a blush spread on Ami's face. "Which you can understand why we would need based on what you've all been told."
"Oh, um…me?" Ami stuttered, obviously flattered the entire foundation for an alliance between them depended on her intellectual prowess.
To this Haruka and Michiru finally smiled, exchanging glances at one another. The couple agreed of all the inner soldiers, Ami was perhaps the most amiable one. She was highly intelligent, analytic, yet humble, and to Haruka's observation; attractive.
"I don't see any other beautiful, blue haired intellectual here named Ami Mizuno." Haruka said grinning breaking her demeanor, attempting to put the girl at ease but failing miserably. The blush previously present on the blue haired girl's cheeks only spread further.
The statement earned Haruka a chastising look from her girlfriend, before the violinist spoke further. "Yes Ami, you. It's quite clear we can't very well bring in pathologists to examine these bodies. We rely on our internal sources, and you are our resident expert on anatomy."
The five girls seemed to share expressions of understanding, clarity. It was Usagi, to no one's surprise, who seemed distraught at this.
"What makes you so certain that you'll find more bodies?" Usagi was on her feet, her features ranging from anger to anguish. "Why won't you try to save them?"
Haruka and Michiru suspected it would come to this; Usagi boiling over, unable to contain her emotions. The reality of the situation was try as they may to save the indoctrinated victims, there was no trail of where to even begin. The only lead being a corpse of a man in the Marine Cathedral, who more than likely was no longer there; the trail was cold.
Haruka, clearly frustrated with Usagi's emotional outburst, brought a hand to cover her face, attempting to censor her own fury. Always the damn idealist, odango.
Michiru seeing this, answered on their behalf. "Usagi, if we could; we would. We have no trail; no leads. We came upon the man's body at the Marine Cathedral through a warning from Kali. Kali is our only source of anything relating to the Carvers."
"There's always a way!" Usagi cried, her voice strained, tears on the verge of breaking free.
Haruka stood to leave, stopping short at the door, turning to Ami. "You are essential to stopping this; you all are. Put your emotions to the side, cut the idealism. This will be done with or without you all on board." With that, the blonde placed her shoes back on, departing the temple.
The smaller woman stood to take her leave following in suit of her companion, but leaving the other soldiers with additional words. "We have been warned. Innocents will be lost in this war, but even more if we sit idly by. Accept it as it is." Michiru offered a small smile and a polite bow to Rei.
Usagi sat back in her spot with a look of defeat; fighting the rather pessimistic perspective Haruka and Michiru had thrust upon them.
The others sat by, waiting for Usagi to say something. Minutes of silence passed as the room grew increasingly quiet, until Rei spoke.
"Usagi, they're right. You can't save them all; nobody can." The priestess offered darkly.
Makoto nodded in agreement to Rei. "We could be the cause of more innocent blood if we take the sidelines on this one." She insisted.
"I don't care!" Usagi shouted, slamming her fist down atop the low table. She lowered her head, averting her gaze of anyone. She was their leader, the one supposedly with the answers. Yet Usagi found herself in the unique position of disagreeing with her friends. "I don't…care." She repeated again, not bothering to raise her head. Instead, the blonde draped one arm across the table, bringing her head to rest on it, her pig tails flanking her sides.
Shouldn't it be clear? Is there really any question to what has to be done? Why does anyone have to die at all? An onslaught of questions ran through her head, struggling to find her moral compass. It was then at the thought of her questioning morality Usagi considered what Haruka had told her at the gala.
'You're fine Usagi; have more faith in what you do. Even if you think it might be wrong.'
Usagi took several minutes before picking her head off the table and collecting herself. She stood, walking in the direction of the door before Minako spoke up.
"Usagi, wait! You can't just walk out on this." The other blonde urged, standing to grab Usagi gently by her arm.
"I'm sorry, I just…need some time to think, okay?" Usagi reassured her friends by attempting to smile weakly, though not bothering to turn around. Instead, she walked leaving the room with the four girls.
"Should we be surprised that happened?" Haruka humorously offered, referring to Usagi's moral protest.
"We did entertain that was a possibility. But, that doesn't stop Ami from helping us. She seemed perfectly fine with the idea, knowing what's at stake." The shorter woman responded as they drove along the coast in Haruka's car.
Haruka's left hand rested on the steering wheel, deftly navigating them along the beauty of the ocean. Her right hand comfortably placed on the gear shift knob with Michiru's on top.
"Usagi will come around; she knows her responsibility." Michiru continued, attempt to salvage the mood of the early evening.
Haruka frowned, not willing to give credibility of "responsibility" to Usagi. "With or without her, our objective carries on."
Michiru's hand caressed Haruka's, soothingly, attempting to change the topic. "Would you be interested in walking on the beach with me?"
To this the racer smiled, shaking her head slightly. "Always in my good clothes you seem to drag me into a messy situation."
"Haruka, in your opinion you're always in good clothes." The violinist responded, smiling at her partner before reaching over to kiss her on her cheek.
"Such a tease. Do you no longer condone of our adult activities? You haven't let me undress you in weeks it seems." Haruka grinned, knowing it had only been days since they had sex. And the reason for that was simply due to a lack of energy.
"You can undress me when you want; I haven't told you no." The violinist proposed neutrally.
At this Haruka arched an eyebrow inquisitively, keeping her eyes on the road still. "I'll hold you to that." She stated, slowing to pull the car over to the side of the road. "How's this?"
"Perfect." Michiru affirmed, making her exit from the car and towards the beach. Taking her sandals off, she let her feet settle into the chilled depths of the sand. Turning around to look at her partner, still in the driver's seat, she winked and walked on. That'll get her moving, she thought wickedly.
The blonde took the moment to prop her feet up on the window, having rolled it down. She looked out to the sea, the moon shining brilliantly off the surface illuminating the beach well. She next considered on whether or not to join her other half. The moments like these they could share, were due to numbered; disregarding her concern for dirtying her clothes, Haruka thought it better to join her.
Haruka got up from her seat, exiting the car as well. She reached for a blanket from the back seat, walking towards Michiru, rolling her pants up to just below her knees. She did say I could undress her whenever, Haruka rationalized to herself, grinning at the prospect.
The sea held such a mesmerizing effect over Michiru; tranquil. With every fiber of her being, she felt so attuned to the sensitivity of the sea, which had served her and Haruka well over the course of their partnership.
When the tides turned ill, it was usually foreboding of something about to happen, something on the continuity of humanity, preserving life.
What is the mission interpreted as now? Will it ever end? Secretly, Michiru wondered when she and Haruka would ever find peace. She no longer worried over trivial matters such as if the couple would ever form a more permanent bond; it seemed so unimportant in the scope of things. They knew they belonged to one another, and that was enough. This felt as certain and cemented as her affinity to the sea. What she often pondered on was the thought of the happy family in the happy home model. They would certainly find success in their careers; it already had found them. But would the future truly belong to them, is what she often questioned.
"Anything you want to talk about?" The tall blonde asked as she approached the sea-nymph from behind. Michiru could tell she had been there for minutes, sensing the violinist was deep in thought.
Turning to face Haruka, the silhouette of the moon as her background; Haruka was entranced.
"The future seems so…uncertain." Michiru began by saying, stirring Haruka out of her trance.
"It wouldn't be our lives if that weren't the way of things I suppose." The blonde said, placing a large blanket across the surface of the sand. Opting to lay down, she patted the spot next to her.
Taking the cue, Michiru joined Haruka, resting her head on the blonde's chest. The petite form took to wrapping her arms around Haruka's torso, as Haruka wrapped one arm around her. They took to gazing at the moon, with how full and vibrant it appeared. It dwarfed everything that existed in the sky that evening.
"Why does the future bother you? It's never seemed to before now." Haruka asked, resuming the conversation once more.
Snuggling closer, Michiru played with the buttons on Haruka's shirt, calculating her words. "I wonder if there'll ever be peacetime for me and you."
"Why wouldn't there be? We're fighting for it, aren't we?" Haruka asked assertively, taking Michiru's hand in her free one, the other still wrapped around the smaller woman's form.
"People like us have to make the harder choices people, like Usagi, are incapable of making. We know this."
Haruka nodded lightly, not attempting to disrupt her girlfriend resting on her chest. "Right."
"But we're also usually the people who have to sacrifice the most." Michiru morosely spoke, the implications of what she meant clear.
She thinks one of us will die, Haruka thought to herself. They had died once before, and that in itself was a sacrifice on both their parts to aquire the talismans. On that logic, Michiru wasn't wrong, and it suddenly seemed an incredible injustice had been placed on them. It had been obvious they were far willing than any others to sacrifice a great deal of things for the mission, but the fact those less willing to do so would reap the benefits of their sacrifice seemed completely unjust. Not the innocents, but the other soldiers.
Sensing this same conflict in Michiru, Haruka was prompted further. "We will sacrifice a lot. That's our nature. And it's what distinguishes us…from them." She admitted, attempting to put Michiru at ease. But Michiru remained unmoved, silent still as moments passed, indicating her internal struggle with the topic still.
"But, we'll have our time too. As long as you exist in this world with me...I'm not going anywhere." Haruka concluded solemnly, placing emphasis on the last half of her words.
"I wouldn't have it any other way." The other woman agreed, seeming content with the conclusion.
"I am curious about something else though." Haruka added, something on her mind as well.
"Where's your underwear?" The blonde grinned ear to ear, obviously elated at the discovery.
Michiru shrugged in response, playing it as her usually partner did; nonchalant. "Today just didn't seem like a good day for them." "Some days I go with, sometimes without."
This completely shocked Haruka and she did not hide it well on her face. "How long has that been going on?" She asked incredulously, sitting up as she did, realizing this was the first time she had noticed it. "On second thought...it's not important. Just convenient."
"Oh really?" Michiru asked innocently, still resting on the blanket, both hands now folded over her abdomen, aquamarine locks spread around her. "Why's that?"
"Don't play coy with me, Michiru Kaioh. I invented that persona." Haruka said sternly, yet in mockingly.
The small figure on the blanket maintained her innocence, not changing her facial expression. This frustrated Haruka, making her throw up her hands in the air, shaking her head.
"You're impossible, Michiru." The racer claimed, amazed at her partner's persistence in maintaining her false purity. If anyone knew how devilish her girlfriend could be, it was of course Haruka.
Rather than argue it, Haruka brought herself down to Michiru, capturing her lips with a gentle kiss. They were alone, on a beautiful beach in a romantic setting...and best of all, Michiru was minus an article of clothing already.
The blonde moved to her partners neck, leaving gentle kisses in sensitive spots she knew Michiru enjoyed. And then...
The very unmistakable sound of teenagers necking only a few yards away could be heard. "Really...?" She said aloud, not really expecting a response. Frustrated, she abandoned their intimate moment, bringing her head to rest on Michiru's shoulder. Haruka had all but resigned to the ruin of their special moment.
"I think we can finish this in the privacy of our own home, don't you agree?" Michiru asked, stroking Haruka's stray blonde hairs out of her face.
Haruka was all too eager to oblige, lifting Michiru into her arms and running them both in the direction of their car. "What about the blanket?" Michiru asked, amused by the other woman's enthusiasm.
"There's twenty more of them at the house!" Haruka responded, not missing a beat. Her priorities were clear, and in spite of the funnel of chaos they were in outside of their personal lives; Michiru broke her composure, excessively amused by her accomplice, laughing all the way to the car.
Usagi walked around the city, putting aside there was a mountain of homework, chores and studying still to be done. When people's lives are at stake; who cares? She thought to herself listlessly.
At the temple, she half-considered telling her friends she absolutely could not take part in this plight with the Carvers. But she thought of her friends comments, and thought better. Usagi wasn't beyond reason, but her emotions often clouded her possible good judgment, try as she may to contain them. That was what made Usagi; her compassion, optimism, and in Haruka's words; idealism. If not her, then who?
Which made her think on a broader point. If not the Sailor Soldiers, then who? Who would step up to the plate for humanity? When the conflict became obvious, and the enemy no longer attempted to hide themselves, the streets would run rampant and red with blood. They couldn't let it happen; Usagi couldn't. So she would stay committed to doing as she always had. For love and justice, she thought somewhat melancholy.
A/N: Sorry...I'm a tease; what can I say? Keep tuned...