„What are you thinking about?“
Michiru smiles, her fingers gently dancing over naked skin, cooled by the night breeze. Haruka is beautiful like this, relaxed and completely at ease, letting her guard down. The short, white hair frames her face like a picture, and she can’t quite resist the urge to lean down, pressing a soft kiss to Haruka’s lips.
She watches as Haruka closes her eyes, lets Haruka tug her back down until their lips meet again. A quick flick of tongue is all Michiru needs to lose herself in that gentle kiss, so unlike Haruka's usual rough demeanor. Michiru makes a small noise against her and she pulls away, eyes shining with humour.
“You. Us,” Haruka finally answers.
Michiru laughs a little at that. Haruka had always been the sentimental one. And that’s nice, too, in a way. Haruka keeps her grounded, keeps their shared duty from overwhelming her, simply by being.
The moment of amusement doesn’t last long, broken when Haruka speaks next, her eyes turning serious once more.
“It’s coming soon. I can feel it on the wind.”
Michiru nods at that, shifting around, gaze naturally drawn towards the ocean. She can feel it even now, approaching silently. Deadly. Only Haruka stops her from feeling utterly helpless in the face of this.
“The waves sing of destruction. The end must be near.”
It feels even more ominous to speak of it out loud. The Death Busters. Intruders from outside the solar system that they still hadn’t managed to defeat. And then there was Saturn…
Could they really kill her before it was too late?
“Are you having doubts, Michiru? About the path we’ve chosen?”
Haruka tugs at her hair gently, bringing her attention back to the present.
“No. It must be done.” Michiru shakes her head, “you and I, we both know there is no other choice. We cannot allow Saturn to awaken once more. We must protect this earth.”
They had already failed once, when the Silver Millennium had crumbled; helplessly watching from afar as Saturn had lowered her Silence Glaive, destroying everything they’d held dear. No, it couldn’t happen again.
“Perhaps we should join the princess in her fight.”
Michiru is startled out of her thoughts once more when Haruka speaks. It was true, Sailor Moon had asked them to work together, had pleaded with them, even. But would she still want that when she learned when their true goal was? No. The girl was soft-hearted yet.
“You know why we can’t, Haruka. She will try to stop us if she learns of our mission.” Michiru smiles down at her, a little sadness in her eyes. “And perhaps it is best that way. They were never supposed to learn of our existence, remember? Watch from afar and protect.”
She takes a shuddering breath, reaching out to tangle her fingers with Haruka’s. Loneliness had always been part of their mission. But they have each other, and that is enough. Has to be enough.
Haruka’s fingers tighten around hers, reassuring her. It’s not often that Michiru doubts, but darkness is fast approaching. What if they fail again? What if, yet again, they have to watch the world disappear into nothingness? She’s not sure if she could bear it.
“It’ll be all right this time, Michiru. We are going to win.”
Her voice is calm when Haruka speaks, finally sitting up from where she’s been lying in her lap.
“Besides,” a teasing tone colours her voice as Haruka continues, “it’s really not like you to doubt yourself, Michiru. Are you getting weak in your old age?”
Of course Haruka can tell what she’s thinking, she always can. It’s annoying sometimes, but this time Michiru is grateful. There are doubts about what they are doing, there always have been. Perhaps they could just defeat the Death Busters, without the resurrection of Saturn even being necessary. Perhaps joining the princess and her guardians would be the better way. Perhaps there were other solutions they just hadn’t thought of yet.
But in the end they couldn’t afford those thoughts. They had chosen their path when they had come to earth, in a last almost desperate effort to save it. There was no time to falter.
“Old age? I’ll show you old age!”
Just another way to take her mind off things as Michiru tackles Haruka back to the ground, lightly catching her wrists. The pause had been too long to appear natural, the words sounding almost forced to Michiru's own ears, but she knew that Haruka understood.
“Do you take it back, or do I have to tickle it out of you?"
The grin on Haruka’s face tells her all she needs to know before she is flipped over, Haruka reversing their positions as swift as the wind, teasingly trailing her fingers along Michiru’s side, drawing small gasps from her.
Haruka’s hands are warm and gentle on her skin, and that is all the distraction she really needs right now. She comes undone under light touches, the tension draining out of her with every caress, Haruka’s mouth almost maddeningly hot against her own.
When Michiru calms down again Haruka is holding her tightly, their legs tangled together, and Michiru finds herself wishing this moment would last for all eternity. It won’t, reality will catch up with them eventually, but for now this is what she needs. A break from all the fighting, a short while of feeling safe in Haruka’s arms.
She presses a kiss to Haruka’s shoulder and closes her eyes once more.
Morning comes too soon, and when Michiru wakes up she knows.
“We need to act today.”
Haruka hums, agreeing. The waves are telling her, letting her know. They have no more time to waste, no more room for self-doubt.
It is likely the princess will be furious with them for what they are going to do, but they cannot take that into account. Their mission is to protect the earth, no matter the cost.
Once more Michiru takes Haruka’s hand in hers, laces their fingers together. Haruka’s hand is warm, as always. Or perhaps hers is just that cold, but Michiru decides she doesn’t care.
“Remember our mission, Haruka. We mustn’t falter.”
Michiru isn’t quite certain if she is truly talking to Haruka or just reminding herself, but in the end it doesn’t matter. Tightening her hold on Haruka’s hand one last time, she finally lets go.
After all, they will be together until the end.