by Matt Burns



Haruka stood staring out the window of the apartmentshe shared with Michiru, only half listening to thevoice behind her. It was raining again, and the softsound of the water, along with the pattern it createdas it fell, only served to distract her further. Thegray light outside as dusk settled over the cityreflected her mood perfectly, and she felt herthoughts begin to drift.
 She shook her head slightly and forced her attentionback to the conversation behind her.
"Your talismans may be gone now, but they willreappear if you should need them. They are a part ofyou, and they can never truly be taken away.Eventually you will be able to summon them at will, asI can with mine."
Haruka turned around to face the speaker. Setsuna saton the floor, at the table in the center of theirliving room, her hands resting idly beside the cup oftea in front of her. Michiru sat opposite her, leaningforward slightly, listening intently to what she wassaying.
What Setsuna was saying was important, but try as shemight, Haruka could not focus on it for very long. Herthoughts kept returning to what had happened earlierthat day at the cathedral. But even the momentousevents that had taken place - the discovery that sheand Michiru had held two of the talismans they hadbeen searching for, their subsequent death andresurrection, and the discovery of the Sacred Cup -even all those things faded away next to the otherthing that had been revealed to her today.
Soon Setsuna stood and took her leave, thanking themfor their hospitality and telling them that she wouldreturn tomorrow to discuss things further. After theyhad said their goodbyes, Michiru showed her to thedoor. Returning to the living room, she sat down atthe table again and said, "I think Pluto will be avaluable ally. She seems to understand our point ofview."
Haruka nodded absently, not saying anything, and aftera moment Michiru looked down at the table, apparentlylost in her own thoughts. A silence descended over theroom, and Haruka turned back to the window. None oftheir lights were on, and their apartment slowly grewdarker as the light outside began to fade.
Finally, Haruka turned around again. "We need to talk,Michiru. About what happened today," she said.
Michiru stood slowly and turned to her. "Yes, weshould. Now that the Sacred Cup has been found, theDeath Busters may become desperate. We should…"
Haruka interrupted her. "No, Michiru. Not about that,"she said, suddenly very angry. "I don't want to talkabout the Death Busters, or the Sacred Cup, or SailorMoon, or the Messiah, or any of that. I want to talkabout us. Or were you planning to just forget aboutwhat happened today?"
"Why did you try to stop Eudial from shooting me? Weagreed that we wouldn't help each other, remember? Whydid you throw yourself into her trap to try to saveme?"
Michiru looked downward, not meeting her gaze, andsaid nothing.
Haruka didn't wait for her answer. "Even now, evenafter what happened, you still won't tell me how youreally feel. You act like you're afraid to get tooclose to me. Why, Michiru? Why do you make this sohard?"
Michiru looked up at her at that, and her voice washard. "Don't you think I want this to be easy, Haruka?Do you think I enjoy this battle? Don't you think I'drather be an ordinary high school girl, who didn'thave to worry about the fate of the world, or fightingmonsters? A girl who stares dreamily out the window inclass, her only thoughts about the person she loves?But that's not what I am. I'm a soldier, and I have toworry about these things."
Her voice became softer, sadder. "And the worst thingis, it never ends. I thought that, once we found thetalismans and the Sacred Cup, it would all be over.The Messiah would be revealed and would triumph overthe Death Busters. But we've found the talismans, andthe Sacred Cup, and the war still goes on."
Michiru looked up, and her eyes, the most beautifuleyes Haruka had ever seen, were filled with tears."And every day we fight, I feel a little colder. Likea small part of me dies every day we're in this war.And I worry… I worry that, one day, my heart will die…And I won't be human anymore."
Haruka felt the anger drain out of her as Michiruspoke. She walked over to her and put her hands on hershoulders, looking into her eyes. "I won't let thathappen, Michiru. Your heart is the most importantthing in the world to me." She paused, feeling her ownemotions rise within her. "I love you, Michiru."
Michiru looked up at her and said, quietly, "I loveyou too, Haruka." And with those words, Haruka knewthe greatest joy and the most incredible fear of herlife at the same time. So overwhelmed with feeling wasshe that she barely heard Michiru's next words. "AndI'm sorry… I'm sorry for making it hard for you."Haruka wrapped her arms around Michiru, pulling herclose, and Michiru buried her face in her shoulder andcried.
Haruka meant to comfort her, but she ended up clingingto Michiru as much as Michiru clung to her. Shefinally surrendered to her own feelings, and tearsbegan to run down her face as well. Haruka didn't knowhow long they stood like that, but when Michirufinally stopped crying it was nearly dark.
No more words passed between them that night. Theywent to bed early, holding each other until theyfinally fell asleep, and for one night, they finallyknew peace… And the warmth of love.


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