227/Revenge Is Cold. Coffee Is Not

From Radiant Heart MUSH

Revenge Is Cold. Coffee Is Not
Date of Scene: 11 August 2023
Location: Pikarigaoaka Ward
Synopsis: Haruka asks Michiru over for a date, but Setsuna crashes, and the two Senshi reveal themselves to one another _and_ Haruka! It's tough being a teenager with a destiny.
Cast of Characters: Haruka Tenoh, Michiru Kaiou, Setsuna Meiou

Haruka Tenoh has posed:
    Haruka had waited a whole two days - over 48 hours - before texting Michiru. All living in that feeling she didn't think she, hereself, would ever get - the nervousness about wanting to seem interested without being desperate and wondering when the right time for things was. It wasn't a side of her she'd expected to see, or was even sure existed. It fought internally with the desire to be seen as the suave, cool, elegant, prince-like woman. Eventually she settled on actually sending the text, though. Her desire to be cool and unflappable did not beat her desire to see Michiru again.


    Yes, surely the best and most descriptive of texts. She followed it up a few moments later with something of actually actionable value, though.

    >>Do you think we can get a coffee together and sit at a table, without your fans crowding you and making it awkward?

Michiru Kaiou has posed:
    The response is almost immediate. It's almost as if Michiru was waiting for the text to come. She must type very fast with her thumbs.

    >>Yes, of course, if that table is somewhere my fans are not.

    Michi debates, for a moment, just inviting Haruka over, but that seems too soon. Even if it feels perfectly natural. Even if she would love nothing more than to have that tall, dashing woman in her home.

    >>Do you have a table at your place?

Haruka Tenoh has posed:
    The list of things that bother Haruka about this burgeoning relationship is different than it would be for most people. Texting her for the first time? Nervous. Having her suggest coming over to her house, though? No nervous there. Just a realization that it wasn't her house.

    >>Probably? Give me a moment.

    >>Setsuna-san. Can I bring a friend over for coffee? Does that bother you?

    She had stopped with the Meiou-Sensei, at least in text, shortly after scaring the living and ancient daylights out of Setsuna on the racetrack. Meiou-sensei in person, though, given that Haruka might encounter her at school, after all. It would probably be weird to be so familiar with her there.

Setsuna Meiou has posed:
It's a lazy morning...and, having properly had her morning cup of 'go juice', Setsuna is relaxing in her kitchen, absently reading a book in betwen sips of tea. She's wearing a ridiculously oversized and exceedingly soft-looking black bathrobe, and she hasn't bothered to put the bun in her hair this morning.

As the text comes in, she absently glances over at her phone...then stops and puts her tea down.

A black bookmark with the symbol for Pluto is spun out of seemingly nowhere into her hand, and she marks her place in her book (the cover reads 'Wyrd Sisters' before putting it down as well.

Haruka wants to have someone over? Well, THIS has potential. She taps out a quick response:

        >>By all means. Feel free to invite her over. Should I put on some refreshments for you?

Haruka Tenoh has posed:
    There was certainly no way having a 'friend' over in the house of the woman you terrified into revealing a secret to you was ever going to be a bad idea. Or at least, no concern in Haruka's mind. So it's back to texting Michiru

    >>Looks like I have a table. Do you want to get coffee on the way or just skip the coffee excuse entirely?

    >>Also, where do you want me to pick you up?

Michiru Kaiou has posed:
    The first text comes quickly. There's no emoji, but it is not hard to imagine the amused smirk that's on Michiru's lips as she sends it.

    >>You know where I live.

    Just a moment later she follows up with.

    >>If I have a few minutes, I'll make some with my favorite beans. I hope you like dark roasts.

    Aren't they drinking the coffee at _Haruka's_ place? Why would she make some before Haruka even picked her up? All is revealed when they meet, though, as Michiru appears with a stainless steel thermos in one hand, and her purse in the other. She's _prepared_.

    She's also dressed much more casually than the last two times they've met in a simple teal, spaghetti strap A-line dress with matching teal flats. She doesn't need the extra height. She has depths.

Setsuna Meiou has posed:
The moment Haruka's out of the house, Setsuna is in motion. Things to do, things to do.

Haruka Tenoh has posed:
    Haruka was not expecting Michiru to come with a thermos of coffee, no. But then again, Michiru was probably not expecting Haruka to pull up -in a car- so she might actually win the shock value. Not in any car, but also probably not a silver American Car from the sixties, a convertable with the top down.

    And Haruka, similarly, is not in her tuxedo today. She is dressed in a purple dress shirt and slacks, with a pink scarf draped around her neck because really, something needs to be capable of flowing in the wind and she doesn't have the hair to do it. She only went through her closet a few times before deciding how she was going to be dressed today. It's quite possibly the most she's ever cared about someone ELSE's possible opinions on her dress and style.

    She could feel her heart pounding, and that's part of why she came in the car.She was so much more comfortable in a car, allowing her to do the full proper gamut of pulling up, leaning her arm on the seat, and turning to Michiru with a wink. "Hey." It wouldn't work as well if she was leaning on a wall or something, right?

Michiru Kaiou has posed:
    The classic American convertible is, indeed, rather unexpected. Oddly, the fact that Haruka is behind the wheel does not seem to surprise Michiru. She did ask where to pick her up, after all. And things like driver's licenses aren't even something she'd think about. She doesn't need a driver's license because she has a _driver_ for getting her around.

    "Aren't you just full of surprises," she says with a light laugh as she steps up to the car, opens the door, and gracefully places herself in the seat. The door clicks shut and a moment later so does her seatbelt. Then she finally meets Haruka's eyes and smiles. "Shall we get this show on the road?"

    If her hand happens to delicately rest on Haruka's thigh for the entire drive, well, that's totally intentional.

Haruka Tenoh has posed:
    Now, realistically, Michiru could have a second driver a lot of the time, all she'd have to do is ask. Especially if she's going to be so calm and relaxing about it and - oh that hand is there - well that's just fine by Haruka. Or, rather, she's able to maintain her chill about it for now, behind the wheel of a car. Much better than trying to do it for the first time at a table or something, unless Michiru wanted Haruka to startle.

    Of course, they can't go very fast on the streets of Tokyo - not in the four wards - but there are a few opprotunities to get on a highway for a bit. But unlike the last girl to sit in Haruka's passenger seat, she's not out to scare this one. She does, however, like to see the wind flowing through her hair, making it every bit like ocean waves.

    Talking, though? That's a little harder, that's not driving, and she doesn't want to break the mask she's got on by doing something uncool. But also, she has to talk. Right?

    "I like surprising you." Haruka says - well after Michiru has gotten in the car and they're moving, like it's on a long delay. "You have a really wonderful laugh." she adds. "And... a beautiful smile. I hope I can keep making you smile." she says, and then she turns away to suddenly be very, very interested in the road in case she's said too much or not enough or both. It won't be long before she's leaning out to put the access code into the gates to Setsuna's... well, you can just call it a mansion, that's really pretty accurate.

Setsuna Meiou has posed:
It's amazing what one can accomplish in extremely short order when one has access to the best of technology, copious amounts of money AND can freely alter their perception of time so that multitasking becomes rather a breeze.

Thus it is when Michiru enters the house proper from the garage, she will see a piece of paper taped to the wall at roughly eye level with an arrow pointing helpfully deeper into the house. It's a very odd arrow...highly stylized and rather curvy...and the color is precisely the shade of dishwater blonde of Haruka's hair.

A bit down the wall, there's another.

And another beyond that.

And another indicating to turn at a corner.

After a short path, one is led to what appears to be a well-appointed sunroom...whereupon one can spot a modestly large table covered in various extremely fancy-looking finger food.

And there, sitting and waiting for the two at the table is none other than Nurse Meiou...or, well, probably just Setsuna right now.

She's not wearing the everpresent labcoat, anyway.

In point of fact, she's wearing a rather simple outfit consisting of a longsleeved white blouse with the sleeves rolled up to just above her elbows and a black pencil skirt.

And the three inch heels, of course.

As the two walk into the room, there's a brief moment when she glances over at who Haruka has brought home...and her eyebrow raises ever so fractionally...but then she meets eyes with Haruka...and there's the tiniest of grins that might be spotted.

Before the blonde can react, however, Setsuna immediately announces herself, "Why Miss Kaiou...so nice to see you. And you're the young lady who has caught Miss Tenoh's attention? I must say, dear...you're a lucky woman. Give her a chance and our Haruka here will give you an experience you'll never forget. I certainly won't. The things she did to me the other day...the sensations she made me feel...by the end I was squealing and panting for air."

She gets a slightly overacted 'breathless' look.

The smart will probably not be fooled. The panicking probably will.

Internally Setsuna is grinning.

Revenge is a dish best served...well...in this case, apparently with a wide array of teacakes, biscuits, and finger sandwiches.

Haruka Tenoh has posed:
    Haruka gets to have a whole lot of conflicting thoughts now, that's for sure. The first of those thoughts is - are those supposed to be the color of my hair? Where does one get paper the color of my hair? The thoughts get progressively more... confused... less coherent, after that. "My housemate has a unique... lots of things." Haruka tries to explain as they really can't do much else other than follow those stylized arrows. Housemate, what else do you call her? Teacher sounds... wierd... roommate sounds off... Housemate, though - it'll do.

    "Oh, you made snacks, thank you..." Haruka begins - but that's before Setsuna begins.

    And by the time Setsuna has finished speaking her words, Haruka... is just kind of standing there - not quite slack-jawed, but... blindsided, mostly. Looking between Setsuna and Michiru and sort of... Trying to figure out how one responds to that.

    Running in a panic out of the room is an idea that continually moves up the list, frankly. The quiet in the room is probably highly enjoyable for Setsuna. She knows what she needs to say, she knows how to explain, but looking between Setsuna's mostly-hidden-smugness and Michiru's gracefulness, the words don't really squeak out right. Running just keeps sounding better and better. But she can't run, either."

    She finally gets a word out, at least. "No?" Okay, it's more of a frustrated confused question. "That's... No?"

Michiru Kaiou has posed:
    If Michiru is surprised by the mansion, she doesn't show it. She may live in a downtown penthouse, but she's been in and out of mansions like this her entire life. It's all part of being an heiress. What _does_ seem peculiar, though, are the signs. They're a rather peculiar thing to see. Haruka's _right there_ why would she need to give them directions? The obvious conclusion is that they are not alone, a conclusion that is confirmed when they arrive at their destination.

    "Meiou-sensei! What an unexpected and pleasant surprise," Michiru says, delighted, before even Setsuna gets a word in.

    Her eyebrows arch at the older woman's next words, though, and she laughs that same light laugh from before. "Oh, believe me, I know, Meiou-sensei," she replies as she calmly approaches the table and sets her thermos down on it as if nothing at all is amiss or awkward. She hangs her purse by the handles on the back of a chair, and then turns her eyes up to Haruka. She takes a step closer and reaches up to delicately brush her fingers along the flustered blonde's cheek.

    She's clearly talking to Setsuna, but her eyes are fixed on Haruka's. "_Our_ first time was magical. I lost all sense of time and place. I don't know how I could ever forget it. I just only hope that every time will be as blissful as that."

Setsuna Meiou has posed:
Setsuna smiles broadly and conceals her giggle behind her hand, glad that Michiru was quick enough on the uptake to see the posturing for what it was.

Which DOESN'T mean she doesn't simultaneously relish the look on Haruka's face.

Then, when Michiru just openly turns and touches Haruka's face, the older woman's smile gets far more genuine.

Michiru, nothing.

HARUKA'S the lucky one.

She shakes her head, "...magic..."

There's a beat...then she frowns slightly. She feels like she's missing something.

Still, she composes herself quickly, then shakes her head, "Anyway, this absolute MANIAC of a gearhead decided to demonstrate to me why one of the cars I found in my garage was called a 'supercar'...by taking me along with her on a test drive at over THREE HUNDRED AND FIFTY kilometers per hour."

There's a pause, then she shrugs and goes on, "...to be fair, she's actually really highly skilled behind the wheel...but...well...when one has never ridden a vehicle going that low that fast and doing those kinds of maneuvers before...the experience can be rather MUCH."

She shifts her chair back, "In any event, I can now leave you two to your lunch if you like."

Haruka Tenoh has posed:
    And Haruka tenses - but not in a negative way, more of a shocked and stand up straight way - when Michiru's fingers brush her face. Michiru can probably feel the calmness rush into Haruka's body when she sees it for what it is, and doesn't suddenly react poorly. There was a moment there, where Haruka was seriously worried she'd lose something so important.

    But then Setsuna explains and the last bit of tenseness leaves Haruka, and she crosses her arms and acts like she totally wasn't on the verge of panic there. "Well, you did ASK." she half-jokes, half pouts at Setsuna.

    "And plus, I had other good reasons to." she continues. Trying to salvage something of her zen-in-charge-energy. "And it worked." she protested. "Now you're not in the dark about why I was so excited to see those cars, and now I'm not in the dark about your whole magi..." Haruka pauses. Coughs. Oops.

    A deep breath, she expells the air out of her lips upwards making her hair tuft float upwards and sits down. "Your... magick... tricks. Yep, I know how you do them." Nice recovery, Haruka. NOT. She kicks herself mentally and just plops down in a chair. She promptly props her elbow on the table so her face can find her open palm. "Oh please can we just eat some tiny sandwiches. I am not good at talking today."

Michiru Kaiou has posed:
    Michiru doesn't miss much, and she certainly does not miss how Setsuna and Haruka _both_ say the word magic. She also does not miss the feeling she has about both of them, the eerie familiarity that cannot be explained by their small handful of meetings. She had her suspicions, but now she is almost certain.

    "Magic tricks?" She asks as she sits down herself, in the seat right next to Haruka. She scoots it close enough that she could reach out and rest her hand on the poor blonde's leg again, if she weren't so busy assembling a plate of food. She looks between the two of them, and then smiles. "It sounds like it was an experience that really _transformed_ your relationship."

    She reaches back into her purse and pulls out a couple of plastic travel mugs, and goes about pouring her coffee. "So, how long have you two been living together?"

Setsuna Meiou has posed:
Setsuna blinks and stares at Haruka for a moment...then sighs and facepalms as she basically lets the cat out of the bag.

A sharp pair of ears can hear the older woman murmur, "...that's it. I'm getting her last name legally changed to 'Hagrid'."

She then shakes her head and looks over at Michiru.

No fool Setsuna...there's being very subtle and there's being very obvious.

(Of course, there's also being Haruka, but that's another level of 'obvious' entirely.)

Setsuna usually tends towards the 'mysterious and inscrutible' end of the scale...but the way Michiru (whose transcripts already made Setsuna aware that the young woman is a certified genius) immediately latches onto the word 'magic'...and then conspicuously says the word 'transformed'?

Setsuna pays very very close attention to Michiru as she answers the question, "Oh, after Miss Tenoh here had a bit of a falling out with her family the other week, she washed up on my doorstep, so to speak. After hearing what had happened, I helped her with the paperwork and let her trade her expertise with fixing up some old cars I had in return for room and board."

She absently wavewaves her hand to indicate the mansion as she says, "...I must confess that living here alone I kind of rattled around the place...and I'm far too young to be a spinster."

As she gestures with said hand, she goes back to doing something that's very typical for her...spinning a pen through her fingers.

Except THIS time, said pen is the Pluto Transformation Pen.

Haruka Tenoh has posed:
    Haruka glares at Setsuna when she talks about her last name. "Well, maybe if you didn't go out of your way to fluster me when I wasn't already flustered to start with, I'd have slightly better control over my words." she retorts. "But noooo. You had to choose now." she says, in the moment looking slightly like the petulant child stuck between two bemused adults.

    But one of the girls in the room was missing a large part of who they truly were, and didn't know it, and the other two had at least that much for them - before the fact that they'd had their own crisis of persona and life changes either a half year or several thousand years earlier than 'a few weeks back'.

    She points a finger quasi-accusingly at Setsuna. "I hope you fall in love with a race car driver." she adds, like it's some sort of dramatic hex given Setsuna's true deep-down enjoyment of the raceway experience.

    Haruka hasn't seen the pen - doesn't know the meaning. But it's familiar to her. Like Setsuna had pulled the pen out before. Like she'd seen it before. But Haruka Tenoh has never seen this pen before. Sailor Uranus had, and it was her memories Haruka was feeling, unknownst to her. And the familiarity of the object made it less worth talking about, oddly. Closer to a coin or normal pen.

    And then she turns and looks at the girl much closer to her. She has a little Haruka energy stil left, even through all of this fluster. "I hope you do too." she adds with a wink. "But, I'm sorry this... was not what I was expecting today to be like? At least you're smiling, though. I do like that." Then she grabs one the mug Michiru poured - presuming its for her rather than two mugs for Michiru - and drinks it. Mostly to keep herself quiet for a bit.

Michiru Kaiou has posed:
    So, Haruka takes her coffee black, or at least she does when she's flustered. Michi makes a mental note as she takes a bite out of one of the little finger sandwiches on her plate. She listens to the explanations and nods. "I see," she finally answers. "I'm so glad Haru-chan has you, then," she says, skipping right past casual familiarity and right into intimate familiarity as if it weren't the first time she'd called the other woman anything other than "Haruka Tenoh."

    She's not looking at Setsuna's face, when she speaks, though. Her eyes are transfixed by the transformation pen. The small smile on her lips barely conveys the deep satisfaction that she feels from being _correct_. She recognizes that symbol because she's studied astrology. Really, what teen girl hasn't? And when she sees it, memories start to flood into her mind like the crashing waves on the beach. This is it, this is why they feel so familiar. She wasn't joking at the dance when she suggested past lives, even if she made it sound that way, but to receive this kind of confirmation? It's a rush.

    There's a glance aside and then she _does_ put her her hand on Haruka's leg, giving her knee the most gentle squeeze. She leans in so that their shoulders touch and then turns her eyes to look up at Haruka as she hides behind her coffee cup. "You need not worry about that, my prince," she says sweetly, "Some things in this world are inevitable."

Setsuna Meiou has posed:
Setsuna rolls her eyes at Haruka, "Don't talk to me about flustering people, Miss 'I've caused four girls and three boys to walk into furniture in the last week'." She shakes her head, "I'd accuse you of doing it deliberately if I didn't know you better."

At Haruka's attempt to invoke THE CURSE, Setsuna just shakes her head and gestures at Haruka, pointing at her with the back end of her henshin pen, "And I hope YOU fall in love with a musician." Which might get easily misinterpreted, because Setusuna's not really shared that she doesn't care for musical theory.

Oh, music ITSELF is fine. It's just all the THEORY behind it that ruins the magic for her. She'd much rather just enjoy a well played piece than study how it was constructed and arranged.

Then Setsuna sees that look of triumph on Michiru's face...and the way she turns and addresses Haruka.

There's a moment that Haruka will possibly savor in her memory...a moment where Setsuna looks utterly poleaxed as the pieces all come together.

And then there's a groan as she leans her head back to point at the ceiling and facepalms, "Oh for the love of all that is Holy...Destiny, you stupid bint."

Haruka Tenoh has posed:
    Somewhere in Haruka's mind the word Prince triggers something very, very positive, and despite any attempts to the contrary she just starts smiling. "I like that, then. The inevitability." she says. "It really feels like we belong together, but it also feels like... so fleeting, like you could just vanish, or maybe you did once?" she asks. "But it's the same kind of feeling I got from Setsuna..." she begins, her eyes turning "though the intensity and the specifics are different, it feels similar too. Different and also the same."

    The wind outside is blowing peacefully, for now. "What do you mean, yelling about destiny, though? You have to let me in. Especially if you both know. I don't have to take you both to the track every time to get information, right?" she asks, a half-smirk of a smile.

Michiru Kaiou has posed:
    There's a moment where Michi just sits there frozen, silently looking up at Haruka with a suddenly _sad_ look on her face. Tears well up at the corner of her eyes, and one escapes, rolls down her cheek. Finally she blinks and shakes her head as if to shake something loose inside. That crack in her mask lasts only a heartbeat, though, as she shakes her head a little as if to dislodge something inside it and resumes smiling.

    "You haven't taken me to the track even once yet, Haru-chan, so I couldn't possibly say," she says, her tone sounding a little more somber than before. Indeed, she may be smiling, but her whole demeanor has darkened just a little. Her fingers curl into Haruka's knee, squeezing tightly as if she's afraid the woman will blow away in the nonexistent wind if she lets go.

    She turns and looks toward Setsuna, and arches her eyebrows in an unspoken question. Do we tell her? She doesn't seem keen to.

Setsuna Meiou has posed:
Setsuna spends a few moments like that, facepalming towards the ceiling before she sighs, then stands up. A glance is given at the other two...

She gives Haruka another long, intense stare before letting out another sigh.

They're all so YOUNG.

As Michiru turns to meet her gaze, Setsuna seems to read the unspoken question well enough, "I think, dear Michiru...that the Destiny that has brought the two of you together once more will rather not care about things as trivial as what we want."

There she goes, personifying some grand, nebulous concept once more.

Another shake of her head is given, "Plus, she's curious enough that it will come to her sooner or later. If 'twere be done, best be done quickly."

Then she steps off to the side slightly before raising her hand to the sky, Pluto Transformation Pen grasped in said hand...and in a voice with an odd, carrying reverb she declares, "PLUTO PLANET POWER...MAKE-UP!"

From the outside, her entire body seems to softly glow, reducing her to a silhouette and outline as she swings her pen around...and then a wall of wind (that fortunately doesn't disturb things too far around it) obscures her...and when it disappears a moment later, Setsuna has been replaced with a sailor suited woman. Her outfit follows the same pattern as any other Senshi any observers would have seen (or been), though her skirt, scarf, stilleto-heeled boots, and the acccents on her gloves are all black, and the bow at her front is a dark brown held in place by a large garnet. A small silver chain belt hangs from her waist, several silver keys dangling from short chains of her own.

In her hands she holds a long staff with several oddly-shaped protrusions at several places along the shaft and a heart shaped ring with a massive garnet at the bottom mounted on the head of the staff.

She spins the staff around in her hands once and strikes a pose as she says, "Protector of the planet of Space-Time, Pluto, Guardian of Revolution...Sailor Pluto"

At which point she punctuates her sentence by clacking the butt of her staff against the floor, causing a tiny thrum of power.

Haruka Tenoh has posed:
    Haruka absolutely noticed the change in tone from Michiru. Not wanting to be associated with such negative feelings, she might have backed off the subject - especially feeling the grip on her knee from the woman.

    But Setsuna is keen to explain - with clear, unavoidable visual demonstration of the words spoken in the car on the racetrack. Setsuna Meiou, her housemate, and school nurse, is one-hundred-percent absolutely a Magical Girl. Not as an unknown quantity, an explanation for things, something she could answer wierd questions with the thought of. No, standing in front of her in all of her very tall glory was Sailor Pluto.

    "So... a lot like Sailor V, really. Though at least your shirt covers your midriff?" Haruka offers, mostly flabbergasted and slightly dumbstruck.

Michiru Kaiou has posed:
    Michiru watches as Pluto transforms, her lips pressed together into a thin line, and her grip on Haruka's knee unwaveringly tight. She tries to keep her displeasure at the circumstance below the surface, but her mood is suddenly quite stormy, and the surface of her waters choppy. Nobody in the room should have any doubts about her displeasure.

    Then she abruptly stands up, her chair skittering back from the force of her legs against it. The weight of her purse pulls on the back of the chair, tipping it over and sending it crashing into the floor, the contents of her purse spilling out underneath. She yells, "NO!" And then she turns on her heel and just _leaves_ the sunroom.

    If Haruka doesn't see Michiru transform, maybe she won't awaken. If she doesn't see Neptune, maybe Uranus will stay asleep. If she leaves now, maybe she can spare her love the torment that she _knows_ is in store for her. If she just takes a page out of Haruka's book and _runs away_ maybe then she can forestall the inevitable.

    Of course, in her dysregulated state, she pays absolutely zero attention to the carefully placed signs, and gets completely and utterly lost in the mansion. Just great.

Setsuna Meiou has posed:
Sailor Pluto rolls her eyes, "I'm going to have to have a talk with that girl about mucking about with her uniform and find out what the heck she's on about."

Then she blinks and glances over at Michiru as the shortest woman in the room suddenly and utterly LOSES HER COOL and storms out. After a moment's staring at the departing woman, (and hearing Michiru make a wrong turn) Sailor Pluto reaches up to pinch the bridge of her nose. After a second, she turns to look over at Haruka, gestures to the spilled purse, "Haruka...please...can you pick that up before you follow after? It will give me a moment to talk to her."

She then turns and strides out as she says in a low voice that's probably easy enough to hear for the blonde anyway, "...not that it'll really matter...I suspect voices are going to be rather raised enough to hear from anywhere no matter what..."

And with that, she's walking down the hall after Michiru at a quick pace.

Fortunately for her not only does she have ALL THE LEGS as well as knowing the layout of the mansion FAR FAR better than Michiru...she also has the distinct advantage of being relatively calm in her pursuit.

Haruka Tenoh has posed:
    Haruka takes a lot more time to process this than Setsuna does. "I..." for just a moment Haruka fears that the girl is running away 'from her' for some reason, but mentally this doesn't stick. No, it's something about all of this. She doesn't feel like she scared her off. Her eyes travel down to the purse about the time Setsuna asks her to.

    "Yeah, I got it." Haruka says, moving slowly. "Hey, Meiou-sensei? It's okay if she doesn't want to talk now. I shouldn't have pushed."

    Haruka's not taking all of the blame, but she's also not taking none. She carefully and meticulously makes sure she gets everything, before following in the direction Setsuna went. She doesn't quite know the place as well as Setsuna, but she knows it better than Michiru.

Michiru Kaiou has posed:
    At least she didn't go up or down any stairs, but Michiru turned left when she should have turned right, and then she was in a dead-end hallway with nothing more than some art on the walls and some doors leading off to who knows what rooms. The waves of her displeasure towering so high over her better judgement, she just picks the first one that's unlocked and just barges in, shutting it behind her and then resting her back against the door, so as to keep it from opening.

    What was she doing? She _knew_ what was coming. She could feel it in the currents of the sea of magic around them. She knew she couldn't keep Haruka from her destiny forever. But knowing a thing and accepting it are two very different actions, she still wanted to eek out even the smallest bit of control in the face of their mutual impending doom. But she knew she could not.

    Slowly she sank down to the floor and started to sob, tears streaming down her cheeks continuously now. What was she going to do? She felt so helpless.

Setsuna Meiou has posed:
Sailor Pluto follows after Michiru...and while she quickly catches up, she is unable to do so before the other woman slams the door behind her. The tall senshi slows as she approaches...and then she hears the sobs from the other side of the door...and she lays a hand on the door, her eyes closing as she listens for a moment.

A moment, however, is all she allows herself.

There is a young woman mere inches away in a great amount of turmoil and pain.

A young woman whom Pluto is quite certain she shares some history with...a link to the past of so very long, long ago and potentially another balm to the lonliness she's only just beginning to shake off with the help of a certain blonde.

But beyond even that, the young woman in such distress is a person that Setsuna swore to see to the care of...and she will be DAMNED if she does any less than the best she can to help.

A moment's look, however, makes her smile just a little. This is the door to the utility room, after all, and Setsuna happens to know there's a side entrance to that room.

Thus it is that a few moments later, perhaps unnoticed through body wracking sobs, that Setsuna (having detransformed from being Sailor Pluto) quietly steps in, kneels down next to Michiru and tries to pull the young woman into a hug.

Haruka Tenoh has posed:
    Haruka is behind Setsuna - the last one in the set. Haruka is not usually last for anything, but here... she makes an exception. She feels like an outsider, someone looking in who hasn't crossed the threshold yet, become a part of the group. Which is strange, because Haruka is the one who brought Michiru in! But it seems like Setsuna and Michiru share something, too. A connection, but a different one.

    But Haruka would sooner destroy all of the cars in Setsuna's garage than leave Michiru alone when she's distrought. So while originally she intended not to get involved or only do so in a limited way... she hears Michiru crying, and all of that goes out the window. She follows Setsuna in and wraps both of them up in a hug.

    "I don't know what's going on..." Haruka admits, but her voice is full of more determination than anything else "...but I'm not going to let anything hurt you, Michiru." No honorific, no last name. "I promise. Whatever's going on, it's going to be okay. I will MAKE it okay." she says, firmly. Though she doesn't know those tears Michiru is crying are not for herself.

Michiru Kaiou has posed:
    Michiru is too busy crying to notice Setsuna enter. She's too wrapped up in her own thoughts to see the older woman approach. She's simply not paying enough attention to even notice Setsuna reaching out for her. Clearly she's really upset, because she doesn't usually miss much. But once Setsuna's arms are around her, once she feels _safe_, she starts crying harder. Her tears flowing freely like a downpour of rain over the open sea.

    "Why?" She rasps between sobs, her voice barely more than a whisper, only audible to the ears mere inches away. "Why must it always end like this?" Like what? What is she even talking about? Her voice gets just a little louder, loud enough that Haruka might hear her next words just as she enters the room. "Why can't she just be a _girl_? Why does it always have to be _us_?"

    When Haruka's arms wrap around her and Setsuna, her composure does not return. It runs away just like she did as her words turn back into sobs and she lets all her feelings spill out onto everyone else's shoulders.

Setsuna Meiou has posed:
Setsuna's memory of the Silver Millenium is, as has been noted before, spotty at best.

Frankly, the CATS probably remember most of the details better than she does.

There are a FEW exceptions, though...and now that she's been made aware of it...now that the little bit of her at the back of her mind that still remembered and knew what was who has gotten her attention, she's sure who Michiru and Haruka ARE.

They're Uranus and Neptune.

...or maybe Neptune and Uranus.

There weren't that many other Outer Senshi, after all...and anyone who ever got to spend any time with them would have been well aware of how much those two cared for each other.

Still, Michiru's sobbed question is one that Setsuna can understand the basis of. She's quiet for a long time before she quietly says, "...Michiru...please don't cry...I don't like seeing my friends cry..."

There's another pause as she gathers her thoughts, then she says, "...ponder for a moment the fact that the two of you share a bond. A bond like very few others have possessed in all of history. A bond strong enough to transcend life and death. A bond strong enough to pull you back together across the gulfs of Time itself and through a sea of stars."

And then there's a beat, "...and then consider who she *IS*. Can you for a moment imagine her NOT wanting to take action? Can you imagine her sitting idly by?"

Haruka Tenoh has posed:
    Haruka, to her credit, doesn't read into Michiru's requests for her to 'just be a girl' - not entirely. Somewhere in the back of her mind those words repeat in a different voice with a different focus. And those words are cruel. But Michiru's words are not. So she just hugs her a little tighter. Because it's an us problem, not a Haruka problem.

    Haruka waits for a moment. She's not crying, but she's... determined. Not angry, but somewhere near that. Focused? Ready? Stern. "I don't know what's going on, but... if you tell me I'm sure I can help." she says. And it's not soft. It's not scared. "Or I'll figure something out. I'm good at that. I don't get it, but I know Setsuna is right." No honorifics for her this time, no last name here. Once you're a pile of sobbing hugging girls it seems a bit overmuch. "I'm not going to stand by if I can help you, Michiru..." little does Haruka know what that would actually entail.

Michiru Kaiou has posed:
    Why does Setsuna have to be so _right_? Michiru hates it. She hates Destiny. She hates how it took her parents from her, and she hates that she knows it won't stop there. She takes a series of deep, wavering breaths in an attempt to regulate.

    When she's finally stopped crying, she takes another deep breath. All tangled up as they are in a pile of hugs, there's no eye gazing happening, and her voice is barely above a whisper, but that's all the volume she needs, "You cannot help me, Haruka. Not as you are." She takes another deep breath. "And once you set yourself on the path to who you are meant to be, there is no turning back from our Destiny."

Setsuna Meiou has posed:
As the specific vector for Michiru's anguish becomes more clear...and Haruka makes the offer her very nature demands she make...and it becomes clear that Michiru is just as concerned about Destiny as Setsuna is...though in different regards, the older woman sighs again.

She raises her head and catches Haruka's gaze...and Setsuna is as serious as the blonde has ever seen her as she says, "...you have to make a choice. Blissful ignorance or painful knowledge. It's not a choice we should make FOR you. If you want to not know...we can probably find a way to let you forget you know as much as you do. You can just be Haruka Tenoh, gearhead racing enthusiast."

But deep down, she knows what the choice made will be.

The only thing she doesn't know is what the cost of that choice will be.

Haruka Tenoh has posed:
    Haruka feels it, at least in a metaphorical sense. The weight of Destiny. That idea that she's supposed to be something more than she is - and somewhere deep in her spirit, that the last time it may not have gone super well. She reaches down and takes Michiru's hand in hers. "Do I get to walk that path with you?" she asks. "Because... I just want to walk with you right now, Michiru." she adds.

    "I can't make a decision on what I don't know. But I do know that I love you." she says to Michiru specifically, boldly.

    And then she looks at both girls. "I do know that you're both more special to me than anyone I've ever met. And if I can't be here with you - can't help you... if I can't protect you, then I can't imagine what would be so painful, so bad... that I'd willingly take the route of ignorance, over the route where I can stand with you both."

Michiru Kaiou has posed:
    Michiru hates this, but it is better for her love to meet the destiny that awaits her than to try and fight things she cannot possibly defeat without it. And this way they'll be facing their end together, and that's really what she wants in the end. To be _together_.

    "I have always loved you Haruka," she murmurs quietly. "Before we even met, my heart was yours. It will always be yours." Her fingers curl around the blonde's and she squeezes tightly. "We will face our Destiny together," she says, and leans in to press a cheek against Haruka's. They're all still tangled up in hugs after all.

    "Thank you, Setsuna," she says, lifting her head to look at the older girl, using her first name for the first time. "Your wisdom was always appreciated, and still is. I am glad to have found you as well."

Setsuna Meiou has posed:
Setsuna senses the undercurrent of what Michiru is meaning...and she can't entirely say she doesn't understand the sentiment.

She gives Michiru a little squeeze...then she blinks...and then she actually smiles...because she realizes that what she thought was one of her greatest weaknesses might be a sign of one of her greatest strengths.

The Gates are broken.

...but the Gates aren't SUPPOSED to be broken.

Destiny can CHANGE.

Oh, it may force the grand events and the broad strokes...but the details...AH...the details are where people LIVE.

And once more, she can't help but crib a little bit as she smiles at the other two, "I thank you, Michiru...but don't feel so fatalistic about the forces arrayed against us...because there's something those forces don't know..." She pauses, the winks, "...this time, there's THREE of us." Not being stuck at the Gates means Pluto is allowed to ACT, after all.

Haruka Tenoh has posed:
    Haruka blinks at this revelation and declaration from Michiru - her own didn't surprise her, but shouldn't Michiru's? And yet somehow, it doesn't. It doesn't surprise her though. It just seems like Michiru said that the ocean was salty. Just a fact. A fact they both somehow already knew, from the moment they saw each other in that dance, the moment everyuone else faded away to their minds.

    "I like the idea of three a little bit better than two. But I still don't know what's going on." Haruka admits. "I feel like I just signed a lot of paperwork and I should have read the fine print." she continues. And then pauses. "Eh, I saw the fine girls though. So I'm pretty sure, no regrets." she says, impish grin on her face.

    "...but seriously you two should read me in to whatever is going on so I can help."

Michiru Kaiou has posed:
    Hearing Setsuna's words brings a little kernel of hope to Michiru's troubled mind. She smiles and then starts to shift around just a little. She's not exactly leaning back against the door any more, not since she got pulled into the big pile of hugs, but she's still on the floor.

    "I found myself when I went to the sea," she says, thoughtfully. Her brow furrows as she tries to puzzle out what that means. "But how can you wade out into the _wind_?" She shakes her head. "I think Setsuna had the right of it before. You've made your choice, but she's still asleep." That's a peculiar choice of pronouns. "Help me up."

    Michiru rises up off the floor, whether they help or not, and takes a couple steps away from the pair. She seems to grasp at something, and then there's an eerily familiar pen, but instead of Pluto's symbol at it's tip, it is Neptune's trident. She holds it up in the air and just like before, with unwavering confidence and certainty, she shouts the words.


    She shimmers into a silhouette as her hand draws two conjoining semicircles around her. Droplets of water seem to spring up from the ground beneath those arcs and when they meet a geyser erupts around the young woman, engulfing her--but oddly, not getting anything in the room wet--and then disappearing, leaving her standing there in her fuku in cerulean and teal, with her own matching, strappy heels. She strikes a pose, and says, "Protected by Neptune, the Outer Planet of the Seas, Guardian of the Deep Sea, I am Sailor Neptune!"

Setsuna Meiou has posed:
Setsuna shifts back and stands up straight before helping Michiru back to her feet. Then, guessing what's coming next, she steps back a little to give the shorter woman plenty of clearance.

She vaguely recalls that some of the programmed transformation sequences could get rather acrobatic.

When she sees Neptune's pen in Michiru's hand, however, she grins and snaps her fingers. She should have guessed, as the hair color was kind of an obvious tell...but that's the level of power the concealment magicks have for you.

Just like Usagi several days ago observed to herself that seeing those transformations never gets old, so too thinks Setsuna...not least because seeing it means that she's NOT ALONE in a very visceral sense...and when she hears the voice of Sailor Neptune declare herself for the first time in her hearing, a little thrill runs up the spine of the ancient Senshi.

So much so that a mere moment later, she's throwing her hand up to catch the pen that spins into it out of nowhere as she declares, "PLUTO PLANET POWER...MAKE-UP!"

Her henshin sequence repeats itself, and Sailor Pluto once more spins her staff to declare, "Protected by Pluto, the Planet of Space/Time, Guardian of Revolution, I am Sailor Pluto!"

As she punctuates her sentence by tapping the Garnet Rod onto the floor, sending out a pulse of power...the Senshi of Time looks hopefully at her blonde friend...and in her mind is just begging '...PLEASE...please...we need a win here...let us be RIGHT...'

Haruka Tenoh has posed:
    Haruka, if she had seen the henshins before, would still have been entranced by both of them, Shiny, sparkly, factories of light and magic. Hard not to look away. Haruka's eyes are very big. Very entranced. And then there's the two of them, standing up together. And Haruka is standing opposite the other two ladies. She takes a deep breath and her eyes swap between the two of them.

    "Well. That was. A thing." she says. And then it's quiet. "So... what do you... do here? I know Setsuna said that she didn't do the stopping bank robbers thing, but... I figure there's probably something else going on."

    "Is there... an initiation test or something?" she asks, after a moment. "Or, an oath?" Behind her, through the window, the day was calm, still, and quiet. No wind, no storms.

    "Neptune and Pluto. Both named after planents, then?" Haruka says. "Those do fit you, don't they?" she says, her voice growing a little bit quieter. "Am I... a part of all of this? Have I always been a part of all of this?" she asks. "Or am I supposed to be a part of it? Because... shouldn't something happen?"

Michiru Kaiou has posed:
    Neptune stands aside and watches as Pluto transforms once more. This is all still fairly new to her, as it's only been a couple of months since she awakened herself, and Pluto is the first Sailor Senshi she's seen henshin. It is fascinating to watch. If only she could see hers through someone else's eyes.    When Pluto's eyes turn toward Haruka, Neptune's eyes follow, eyebrows arched in hopeful anticipation. But no, it couldn't be that easy, could it?

    "There is no initiation or oath, this is who we _are_," Neptune says softly. She glances aside toward Pluto for just a moment before turning her attention back to the blonde. She strides across the room and reaches out to take Haruka's hands in hers, squeezing gently. She's just a little bit taller because she, too, has heels on now, so it's easier for her to lift up and place the most tender, gentle kiss on Haruka's cheek.

    "You'll understand when the time is right, my prince," she says softly. "And until then, we'll protect you."

Setsuna Meiou has posed:
As Sailor Pluto stares at Haruka for several moments, internally hoping for the moment of magic to spark Haruka's memories...


...and after a moment, she realizes that it's not going to happen. Inwardly, she literally slows down her perception of time so that she can spend several subjective minutes screaming and cursing Destiny and Magic and Reincarnation and Space and Time and half a dozen other concepts in every language she knows swear words in.

Which is quite a few.

Outwardly, however, she manages to keep her expression unchanged, for the most part. Perhaps there's a tiny dip in her apparent mood...but with the way this afternoon has already been a bit of an emotional rollercoaster, it might be hard to tell.

Still, she takes a deep breath and blows it out as she nods with Sailor Neptune before answering Haruka's question, "It's a very long story...but the short version is that there was a Kingdom thousands of years ago that spanned the Solar System. This Kingdom was guarded by special warriors called the Sailor Senshi. One for each of the planets...bound to and empowered by the magics running through them. There were two subgroups...the Inner Senshi, who were to guard against internal threats...and the Outer Senshi, focused mainly on threats from outside the system itself."

She nods towards Neptune, "Sailor Neptune, Guardian of the Seas...Sailor Pluto, Guardian of Time...and Sailor Uranus, Guardian of the Skies."

She pauses, then sighs and leans on her staff a little more visibly, "...we were betrayed. An enemy caught us by surprise and overran us. The Queen activated the failsafes and the whole solar system was reset...BUT." She pauses visibly for a moment, then goes on, "...BUT...the Queen was a VASTLY powerful magic user...and in her final act, she cast a spell that gathered the fallen souls of her daughter and her court and cast them into the far future to be reborn..."

She waves, "...the future is now. The reborn are you and the rest of the Senshi...but Destiny is a fickle bitch...and not all of those reborn seem to recall as easy as others."

Haruka Tenoh has posed:
    "I know I keep saying this, but all of that sounds like it should be crazy and it's not. It sounds too real. Too familiar." she admitted. "But maybe this is why it was driving me slowly up the wall, why I had to know. Why I could feel there were secrets about you..." she said, looking at Setsuna "... and a connection with you..." she said, looking to Michiru.

    She paused. "So why is it that both of you can do that, but I'm pretty sure I can't?" she asks. "If I'm one of you - a member of your group - why hasn't any of this come back to me?"

    She pauses. "Are you sure I'm the member of your group? Are you sure there's not something... wrong? With me, or with other things?"

    Michiru kisses her and the relaxation it gives her is visible after the tense words - which lasts until Michiru says she intends to protect Haruka. "I still don't understand what you're saying you'll be protecting me from. Did you two just remember everything? Wake up one day and able to change your clothes in a neon lightshow? Know who you are? Because I didn't and I don't know if there's a reason why. But what if there is a reason? What if there's a reason I was drawn to you but even with you saying all of this I'm not like you?" she asked. "What you're saying sounds right but it doesn't match any of my memories."

    "Maybe I'm not supposed to remember, then." she says, looking to the side and away and starting to move as if to walk past them and back to the house, out of the room Michiru ended up running them all into, looking down. Trying to make sense of all of these confusing feelings and... the feelings of memory without the knowledge of it.

Michiru Kaiou has posed:
    Haruka's hands slip out of Neptune's as she turns to leave and the Senshi just stands there for a moment with a thoughtful look on her face. She detransforms and starts to walk after the blonde. "I only just awakened to all of this a few months ago, Haru-chan. I am still figuring all this out myself," she admits. "I remember very little, but I remember _you_. I remember _us_," she says as she walks quickly, reaching out, trying to recapture Haruka's hand in hers so that she can walk alongside her.

    "There's nothing wrong with you. You just need one of these to transform," Michi says, holding her pen out so that Haruka can see it. "I can't tell you how anybody else got theirs, but I'm pretty sure it's very personal. I found mine in the sea," she explains. She did say she was the guardian of the deep sea, didn't she?

    "When the time is right, you'll find your pen. When the time is right, Uranus will awaken," she says with utter certainty in her voice. "You'll remember then, and until then, you already have me. You've always had me."

Setsuna Meiou has posed:
Sailor Pluto watches Haruka edge away...and just like Neptune, she lets her transformation go in a flare of transluscent ribbons...leaving Setsuna Meiou standing there...though still leaning on the Garnet Rod.

She spends a long moment staring at her Staff of Office...the Key to the Gates that may or may not ever work again.

With an absent gesture, she dismisses the Garnet Rod to it's holding place...then, noting that Haruka and Michiru are distracted with each other, she quietly slips out the other door.

Haruka Tenoh has posed:
    Haruka isn't that distracted, though, and notes that Pluto didn't mention how she got her pen. But, maybe that wasn't important. Maybe...

    "Well, I have no idea how I'm going to find it in the sky. Maybe I should look for it... or maybe I shouldn't." Haruka said, after a moment. She feels Michiru's hand in hers and it does a good job of chasing away a lot of self-doubts she's having. But not all of them.

    "I want to remember." Haruka says, firmly. "I want to remember you. Us. Setsuna. The others." She might not want to remember the others once she gets all of it, though. "Maybe I'm just supposed to wait until it falls out of the sky and hits me in the head." she says with a sigh.

    And then after a little bit... "This wasn't exactly what I had in mind when I called you, you know? I just wanted to spend some time with you - I missed you." But she's been missing her for a long time, longer than she'll be able to articulate today.

Michiru Kaiou has posed:
    Michiru squeezes Haruka's hand again. "It'll happen when it happens," she reiterates. She leans in closer as they meander down the hallway vaguely back toward...well, Michiru actually has no idea where they are or where they're headed, and she doesn't care. She's where Haruka is, and that's all that matters.

    "I missed you too, my prince," she says sweetly, looking up at the taller woman beside her. "I've got nowhere to be and every reason to stay. Let's spend some time together."