SCSD: Summer Love
With a startled cry of surprise, Haruka and Michiru fell to the bed as their feet were tripped up by the luggage on the floor. Michiru’s arms had found their way to Haruka’s hips while one of the blonde’s knees had found itself between the swimmer’s own, pressing lightly against her center. Faces mere inches apart, both of them froze, quite aware of the horrifically compromising position that they had found themselves in. All because of an errant suitcase left on the floor as the two were moving into the room from the hallway. Haruka, being gentlemanly, had attempted to keep her ex-girlfriend from falling but wound up landing square on top of her; and on top of the bed no less. Just when things couldn’t possibly have gotten any more awkward, Haruka noticed out of the corner of her eye, someone in the doorway. Michiru turned her head toward where the racer was looking and felt her heart freeze in her chest as her breath caught in her throat.
The two women on the bed scrambled to untangle themselves as they got to their feet; Michiru’s face openly displaying her anxiety while Haruka blushed cherry red at the awkward position and the fear that Usagi may wind up taking it the wrong way. Scratching the back of her neck nervously, she tried to explain.
“Usagi, it wasn’t how-” She was cut off by Usagi’s raised hand.
“Usagi-koi, We just-” The hand moved over to silence Michiru as well, and at the motion, her chest clenched painfully tight as the freezing feeling grew. ‘No.’
Usagi’s emotion was masked behind a calm display of impassiveness. Her eyes and mouth betrayed nothing, her stance completely neutral. Looking between the two women who stood before her she took a minute or two to slowly scan the room. Spying the suitcase on the floor between the three of them with a noticeably crushed-in flap and corner, she turned back to look Michiru in the eyes, clearly seeing the worry and pain within their depths.
“Haruka-chan, would you please leave Michiru and me alone for a few minutes?” Her voice was steady and even, if not slightly cool; her eyes never leaving Michiru’s.
The sandy blonde racer nodded and walked quietly out of the room, closing the door softly behind her. Usagi stood rooted to her spot looking at Michiru, noticing her breathing shallower than normal. She could almost hear what her lover was thinking to herself, wondering if this might betray their relationship and snuff it out like it had never existed. She stepped slowly forward until she was within arms distance of the ocean goddess. A strangled sob escaped the woman in question before Usagi wrapped her arms tightly around her waist in a hug. Michiru’s own arms snaked their way around the blonde’s neck and tightened as she cried.
“It’s not what you think, Usagi! Haruka and I were just talking and I wasn’t watching where I was going when I opened the door. The suitcase was in the way and I tripped. Haruka was just trying to catch me from falling but we both fell on the bed.”
“Shh, shhh. It’s okay Michiru.” Usagi whispered in her ear, her calming tone a mantra she repeated. A minute or two passed and the crying had slowed to the occasional sniffle, all the while Usagi rubbed her lover’s back slowly. “Are you okay now?” she asked quietly, receiving a nod in reply. Turning she led her girlfriend into the bathroom. Usagi fetched a washcloth and wet it down to wipe away the tears on her lover’s face. Dropping the cloth back in the sink she cupped Michiru’s face gently in her hands, forcing the woman to look at her.
“Michiru. I trust in you completely. I believe you. Please don’t cry any more, it breaks my heart to see you like this.”
“It’s that easy for you?” She replied in a pained undertone, the complete trust being shown by this incredible woman shocking her.
Turning them so that she held the ocean senshi from behind, her arms around her waist and her head resting on her shoulder she moved so they faced the mirror. She was fortunate that neither of them were wearing shoes, their heights were almost equal with Michiru only an inch or two taller than herself. Squeezing her gently to press fully into her back and project a sense of protection, warmth and love, she chose her words of faith she knew she would speak only to Michiru. That only this woman in her arms now would be the only person who ever meant this much to her in any lifetime.
“Look in the reflection, Michiru. You don’t need to hear my words to believe me. All you need do is look in my eyes and find the love for you that shines there constantly. And all I need do for you is the same.” Usagi whispered back, “We may have our fights, but all couples do. That doesn’t mean we’ll stop loving each other or love each other less than we do now. I know we’ve had some bad times, but there have been a lot of good times too. We’ll also have our share of misunderstandings, but I hope we both have the patience to work them out instead of jumping to conclusions. I know you’re incapable of straying from me, from us. I trust in you explicitly and I believe in our love and the strength it gives us. So long as we both do, nothing will ever tear us apart.”
As the hushed benediction came forth, Michiru closed her eyes and leaned her head against Usagi’s own as a few last tears slipped from underneath her lids. After a few moments, Usagi slid around in front of her once again, gently kissing away her tears before kissing her on the lips and drawing her into another hug. She nuzzled affectionately at her neck, placing small kisses there, trailing up to her temple and onto her forehead knowing that her lover needed this contact, knowing she needed this assurance.
“Aishiteru, touhou oite shinpyou.” She whispered.
“Hai. Aishiteru.” Michiru whispered back.
They stood like that for quite a while, Usagi holding onto Michiru and giving her butterfly kisses and whispering nothings in her ear, her hands slowly rubbing circles on Michiru’s back to help soothe and relax.
“Feel better?” Usagi asked quietly with a small smile.
“Mmmhmm.” Michiru hummed.
“Good.” Usagi replied, “Now kiss me.”
Michiru was more than happy to comply, her lips pressing against Usagi’s in a heartfelt caress. Usagi felt her girlfriend melt into her, her warmth and softness, the scent of her perfume the sweetest of tortures. Her grip around her body tightened as she squeezed even closer, opening her mouth to gently lick at Michiru’s lips with her tongue, seeking entrance. A soft moan and a moment later lips parted granting the blonde access to sweet warmth to explore. Michiru moaned again, the sound swallowed up by Usagi’s hungry mouth. Usagi finally broke slowly away, both of them breathing hard, their foreheads pressed together and their eyes closed as their hearts thundered in their chests. Michiru grinned.
“This wouldn’t perhaps be the point where you try to get my mind to replace all the bad with something extremely good would it? What about Hotaru, Chibiusa, and Haruka? And Rei and Minako?”
“Oh, Hotaru’s plenty old enough to keep them both out of trouble. And I think Rei and Minako can go shopping together without me today. Something tells me they’d like to spend the day together without the rest of us around.” Usagi shot back; “In the meantime…” she leaned forward and started whispering something in her girlfriend’s ear. The smile disappeared and Michiru’s eyebrows rose as she listened. Usagi drew back, a lecherous grin on her face.
“You know what, Usagi-chan? You might make a fine queen after all.” Michiru said with a quirk of her lips as she swirled a finger over Usagi’s chest, turning out of her embrace and heading for the shower, pausing only once to look over her shoulder. Usagi shuddered visibly at the desire and passion she saw within those aquamarine pools and quickly hurried to follow her lover. ‘Ahh,’ she mused with a Cheshire smile, ‘it’s good to be me.’
Friday saw the ten women starting to pack up their things as their week at the lakeside cabin was coming to a close. Tomorrow they would leave to head back to Tokyo and their respective homes. The plan for tonight was a barbeque to finish off the week of fun they spent together. Haruka walked out the front door that faced the lake and saw Michiru sitting on the porch swing watching Hotaru and Chibiusa play in the water. She made her way over and leaned against the railing, turning to watch the two youngest senshi as well. Michiru noticed her but said nothing, still fingering the small ring box in her pocket. Haruka took note of the four inner senshi starting up a volleyball game on the white sand with the two guardian cats acting as referees, one on each side of the net, and chuckled to herself.
“Don’t know how well Ami-chan will stand up to Minako-chan in their little game.”
“Yeah, I’ve not seen Minako play, but Usagi said it’s almost scary. You don’t want to be on the receiving end of one of her spikes.” The swimmer replied.
“Speaking of koneko-chan, how’d it go yesterday? I noticed she didn’t go with Rei and Minako when they went shopping with Ami and Makoto. Rei said that you weren’t coming with us to the movie either. Setsuna came instead.” She asked, her gaze turning to the two women in question lounging on the beach and talking quietly together.
“She was understanding and knew that it was just an accident.” She replied with a wistful smile.
“She didn’t jump to conclusions?! Hell if Setsuna would have seen that, she’d have gone ballistic!” Haruka gaped.
“We trust in our love. Usagi knows I’d never betray her and she places all her trust in that fact. And I realize now, that I feel the same toward her. I trust that she’ll never stray from us either. And that has only solidified my resolve to ask her to marry me.” Michiru replied, “I just still don’t know how I’m going to ask her.” Michiru looked out over at her blonde-haired lover, smiling gently.
The two outer senshi sat in silence for quite some time; Michiru deep in thought, and Haruka not knowing what to say to help her ex decide how to pop the question. Her concentration was interrupted by a volleyball impacting the sand and bouncing up into Setsuna’s lap, followed by a cry from Makoto, yelling at Minako to check her strength. At that moment the time guardian unfurled from the beach recliner she had been lying on, grabbing the volleyball in both hands. She looked down at Usagi and said something to which Usagi nodded. She stood up as well and together the two headed over to the small beach volleyball area. Usagi made her way around the other side of the net, joining Ami and Makoto as Setsuna took up her spot to serve. The other four inners took it in stride and soon the game was on again.
Haruka shot a glance over at the senshi of Neptune, “Shall we go join our significant others and make it four on four?”
Michiru put the box back in the pocket of her jeans before standing up, “Yeah. Let’s go get changed quick.”
They headed inside and upstairs to their respective rooms, changing quickly. Haruka came out in a modest two-piece black bikini, one of the rare feminine things she wore because heaven forbid she was caught dead in a dress. Michiru’s skimpier teal two piece string bikini showed off much more skin and turned more than a few of the other senshis’ heads as she walked toward them as well as earning a wolf whistle from her girlfriend which in turn earned said girlfriend a blush. Hotaru and Chibiusa came out of the water and brought their towels and a couple of chairs over to watch and dry off. After an agreement between the two teams to start the game over due to additions to the teams, Saturn and Chibimoon agreed to keep score. Serves went back and forth, with the bulk of the competition between Haruka and Minako and Michiru and Makoto. As most games go, the more active people started getting more adverse in their attempts to one-up the other, mainly between Minako and Makoto; Minako with her volleyball experience and Makoto for her superior strength and reflexes. The game continued for a good half hour, with a few breaks to apply sun block and get drinks as the heat of the day, despite them being in the mountains, was still high. The winning point was scored by Minako’s team when the blonde blocked a spike attempt by Makoto. With that over, the group headed inside for a quick lunch.
Michiru went back up to her room to find a pair of black shorts to put on over her bikini bottom as well as a white button-up shirt. Noticing her jeans, she stopped short buttoning up her shirt and stared at the bulge in the front pocket. Debating with herself for a minute or two, she was caught off guard at the voice that called at her from the stairwell.
“Michiru-koi? Are you ready to go?”
“Yes sweetheart, I was just finishing up.” She replied, quickly grabbing the ring box and sticking it in her shorts pocket.
Checking her hair quick in the bathroom mirror, she made her way out of the room and down the stairs to join her lover. “You go on ahead and get in the car. I’ll be right there.”
“Alright but hurry, I miss you already.” She replied, kissing Michiru on the cheek before practically skipping out the door.
“Where are you two headed off to?” Makoto asked, a knowing smile on her face as she prepped their lunch.
“I’m taking Usagi out for lunch in Omachi.” Michiru said, grabbing the keys to her Camaro.
“I hear there’s supposed to be a fireworks show tonight around nine pm. I figure if we have the barbeque at seven we’ll have plenty of time to eat and get situated on the beach for the display.” Haruka piped up, a knowing look at the senshi of Neptune. “Some sort of holiday that the town celebrates every summer. A festival of fire or something, I’m not sure.”
“Thank you Haruka, I’ll keep that in mind.” Michiru understood, giving a nod back.
The rest of the inner senshi stood there, looking back and forth between the two outers while Setsuna hid her knowing smile behind a face of impassiveness. She also knew what Haruka was getting at. The ocean senshi left, closing the door behind her. The rest of them sat in relative silence as they heard Michiru’s car start, shift into gear, and pull away, the sounds of its engine fading away to nothing.
“Alright,” Rei finally spoke up, “Would one of you two mind telling us what’s going on?” she glared first at Haruka then at Setsuna.
“Yeah it’s obvious you know something’s up. Now c’mon, spill the corn!” Minako added.
“Beans, Minako. It’s ‘spill the beans.’” Ami sighed.
“Whatever, they’re both plants.”
“No offense but what myself and Haruka both know, is at the current time, none of your business.” Setsuna spoke up.
“Setsuna’s right. You’ll all find out tonight, so don’t even bother asking us about it.” Haruka continued.
“But we want to-” Makoto began but was cut off.
“No buts, Mako-chan. If they say we’ll find out tonight, then we can wait. It won’t kill you.” Ami piped up, despite her own curiosity. “Now forget about it and concentrate on our lunch. Or we’re not going to be having any!”
“Yeah, and we have to eat quick. I have to get the boat back to the rental place by three o’clock and Setsuna has to be there to pick me up.” Haruka continued.
“You’re no fair.” Minako replied, pouting.
“I’m being quite fair to those whom it concerns.” Haruka replied before moving toward the door, “Call me when lunch is ready, I have to go prep the boat and get any of our stuff off it before I head out.”
Michiru was silent as the car moved smoothly down the road, her concentration on the road almost frightening in its intensity. Usagi kept looking toward her, worry gripping her heart as she wondered what had happened to make her girlfriend like this. She had already forgiven the incident that had happened yesterday involving Michiru, Haruka, herself, and a misplaced piece of luggage so she knew that wasn’t it. She reached out a comforting hand to Michiru’s own that rested on the gear shift, her frown increasing as it flinched under her touch. She looked up at the aqua haired beauty and finally gave voice to her concerns.
“Michi? What is it? What’s wrong?”
“Nothing’s wrong, Usagi-chan.” She replied back, glancing over at the blonde princess before returning her eyes to the road ahead, “What makes you say that?”
“Because I can see it in your eyes and all over your face. Your entire body radiates tension, as if something was bothering you. Please tell me? It might make you feel better if you did.”
“Like I said before, nothing is wrong. Don’t worry about it, my love. If anything I’m just a little sad about having to leave the lake and cabin, that’s all.” She tried to ghost over her nervousness with a small white lie, which wasn’t completely untrue. She really didn’t want to leave.
“Okay. I’m right here if you want to talk about it any further, Michiru. I love you.” Usagi frowned slightly, knowing that Michiru was hiding something but decided not to press the matter. She’d come around on her own eventually.
“I love you too, Usa.” She replied, lifting the hand that rested on her own to press a kiss to her knuckles, “Don’t worry about it koneko, it’s really nothing.”
The Camaro rolled into Omachi and slowed as Michiru applied the brakes, bringing their speed down as they passed by shops and stores, headed for the downtown district. People moved hurriedly through the hustle and bustle that gripped the large town as they prepared for the last day of the summer festival. The main theme was fire, with stories about it, decorations in reds, oranges, yellows, and blues prominent throughout many of the streets and businesses, and costumes of red dragons and fire spirits worn by people who danced along the sidewalk. It was odd that they would be celebrating something such as fire in the middle of the hottest time of the year, but then again oddly fitting as such. It was a local celebration, not being recognized nationally, but according to the locals though that was just fine with them. Many of the tourists that came to Omachi and the lake it rested beside were ones that had been coming here every year on a continuous basis or those that had familial ties to the area. Most of them were born and raised in the area and had moved away to college or some other job abroad and came back to relax.
Stories say the summer festival was something started by a small group of people as nothing more than a simple party between friends gathered around a bonfire that grew over the years to eventually include the entire town. That old adage that every person was connected to each other by no more than seven different people seemed to be true. And for the large part it was kept secret from the rest of the world. The people who lived here wanted it that way and so it was a generally accepted albeit unwritten rule that those who merely visited shouldn’t speak much of the festival to anyone other than those who had already been there.
Finding a place to park on what could have been considered the main street through town, Michiru put the top up on the convertible, cracking the windows open so that it wouldn’t get too hot inside and cut the engine. The two women got out of the car, Michiru locking the doors before making her way around to Usagi, taking hold of her hand. They stepped up onto the sidewalk and took their time looking around at the brightly colored decorations and the local people having fun and enjoying themselves. Laughter could be heard in more than a few places, usually by groups of children watching fire masters juggling lit torches up in the air. Usagi smiled, leaning into the ocean senshi as she took in their surroundings. Even the heat of the day, the temperature pushing thirty four degrees Celsius, didn’t put even the slightest damper in the fun and activities that encompassed them. Bottled water was available for free en masse, a table on each side of the street every block kept fully stocked.
“So they’re having fireworks tonight?” Usagi asked as they stopped to look at a table where a vendor was selling plushies.
“Yeah, it’s supposed to start at nine. Haruka said something about having the barbeque at seven so we have time to eat, clean up, and get situated around the bonfire on the beach.” Michiru replied as she perused the table.
“Oh! Look at her! Isn’t she so cute?!” Usagi squealed as she picked up a plushie.
It was a red, fat, floppy eared bunny with white paws. A small silver fabric patch in the shape of a tiny flame was sowed onto its chest. Button eyes and embroidered whiskers completed the plump chibi rabbit. All in all it was a unique looking plushie to be sure. Usagi hugged it to her chest before turning and holding it out to show her girlfriend. “Can we keep her?”
“Sure Usagi-koi, anything for you. Besides, it’s a rather unique rabbit and I know for sure you don’t have one quite like it in your collection.” She laughed.
“Thank you so much, Michi!”
“You’re welcome Usako.” She replied, pulling out some bills and handing them to the smiling vendor. Getting her change back she turned back around and joined Usagi in continuing their walk down the street. Usagi hugged her new plushie to her chest as Michiru’s arm snaked around her waist, pulling her close. The blonde turned her head and planted a kiss on the swimmer’s cheek.
The couple talked and laughed their way down the street in search of a place to eat lunch. Finally settling on a small restaurant serving western style food, they sat down and ordered. After a while their food came and they ate in companionable silence. Staying for a while longer and enjoying the outdoor café Michiru checked her watch. Seeing their time passing, she moved to stand up; the two of them paying the bill owed and made their way back up the street to their car. Michiru opened the door for Usagi helping her in before moving around to climb in herself. Starting the Camaro she dropped the top and rolled the windows down. She smiled as she saw Usagi hug her new plushie tight as she backed out of the parking spot and moved out onto the road. Circling the block she swiftly maneuvered back onto the main road leading back toward the cabin.
The sun had just set as the senshi were cleaning up the dishes from their party. Haruka scrubbed the grill down and rolled it back up onto the deck and into the cabin to store it until next time they would be out. She and Setsuna had returned the speedboat rental back to the rental agency just after Usagi and Michiru had come back from their outing at the festival. Rei and Minako had started a small bonfire in the ring down on the beach and were in the process of helping Ami and Makoto bring chairs down and set them up in a small semi circle around the ring, facing the lake and Omachi on the far shore. Hotaru and Chibiusa had brought the chest cooler down to the beach as well, having just stocked it with drinks and ice. The six of them were soon joined by the rest of the outers and Usagi. The ten of them claimed their seats around the fire, the mood light and airy as talk and laughter were exchanged, recalling the events of their vacation.
The senshi all thanked Rei and Minako for inviting them to come along and everyone promised to come next year and do it again. Having everything else packed up and already in the vehicles ensured that they would be able to get under way tomorrow morning as soon as everyone was up and had eaten breakfast. All that was left to do tonight was make sure the chairs were stored safely inside after the fireworks show. Nervousness washed over Michiru as her hand deftly pulled out the small black velvet box from her pocket and out of the corner of her eye saw Haruka nod her ascent. Drawing strength from that approval she stood up and turned to face her blonde haired lover.
“Usagi?” She asked in a voice loud enough to silence the others. Soon everyone was looking on at the couple.
“What is it, Michiru?” Usagi turned and focused on her. She was momentarily stunned by the way the firelight played in her girlfriend’s eyes, adding dancing yellow and orange points of light to the deep cerulean color. She watched as Michiru slowly dropped to one knee and then her eyes grew wide as she saw the little black box in the palm of the Neptunian’s hand. Her startled gasp brought the attention of the rest of the senshi to the box.
“Usagi,” Michiru opened the box, the light of the fire making the gemmed saronite ring glitter brightly in the dark, “I’ve known you for quite some time now. It takes a lot of courage for me to do this, but you know that I love you with all my heart and soul. I always have, and I always will. I know that, while my heart may not be the biggest out there, but it doesn’t need to be because you fill it full. My shoulders may not be the broadest there are, but they’re always there for you to lean on. My arms may not be as strong as others, they’re warm and safe. My hands aren’t those of a doctor, or scientist, or movie star, but they will always be there to catch you should you ever start to fall, provide you with what you need, and defend you in times of danger. I may not have much to give, but I give you all that I have. I just want you to know that despite your answer and come whatever may, I shall always stand by your side. So I humbly ask you to be with me forever. Usagi… will you marry me?”
The rest of the senshi turned their gaze at Usagi, seeing the tears slip quietly down her cheeks as they caught the light of the fire. She nodded once, twice, before gasping out, “Yes! Yes I will marry you Michiru! I love you so much!” she smiled.
“Oh that’s so romantic!” Minako squealed, hugging her Rei close. “When are you going to propose to me, Reiko?”
“Uhhh…” The miko looked toward Makoto and Haruka for help, “How do I answer that?”
“You don’t.” They responded as one.
Unknown by the rest of the senshi, Chibiusa smiled, seeing fully now what her mothers had been trying to tell her all along. Knowing that her time was almost up and that she’d have to be returning to the future soon, she took the time to enjoy seeing her parents’ younger selves in one of their greatest moments of joy and commit that sight to memory. She’d have to thank them for allowing her to come back to this week and experience it. Amongst cheers and clapping from the rest of their friends, Michiru took the ring carefully out of the box. Holding her girlfriend’s hand gently, she slid it carefully onto her finger, her smile widening as it fit perfectly. Sealing it with a kiss she found her arms full of Usagi as her new fiancé hugged her tight. Just as they kissed a bring flash, followed shortly by a small boom caught the rest of the senshis’ attentions. The fireworks had started. And for two of them, it was merely the beginning. A beginning they knew they would remember the rest of their days.
A/N – Used an online English to Japanese dictionary for Usagi’s line “Aishiteru, touhou oite shinpyou”, which, if I wrote it correctly means “I love you, trust in me.”