Covering her perfectly shaped mouth as she tried to stiffle yet another tired yawn, Michiru stood back and watch the Italian bell boy open the door to her room in the lavish hotel. One of the best hotels in Italy, as a matter of fact. Given her status as one of the top amateur violin players in Japan...in the world in fact, many of the countries that had invited her to play would only offer Michiru the best of everything, including hotel rooms and food. At that thought, Michiru couldn't help chuckling softly to herself. Growing up wealthy, she was used to the best. The best schools, the best tutors, the best places to perform....but most people would be so surprised to know that inside, the young woman would have been just as happy living a regular life with just the average things if it was up to her. Even performing, Michiru wouldn't have minded if she stayed in a regular priced hotel rather than a five star one. But if people wanted to spoil her, she wouldn't stop them!
The door finally opened, and the nervous young man, obviously slightly younger than she was, gathered up her bags, and with a slight nod, took them inside. Luckily, Michiru had decided to pack light, planning only to stay in Venice for about three days to be a participant in the orchestra celebration of the anniversary the Pope had become...well...the Pope, at the centuries old Vatican. She had already rehearsed her piece many times in Japan, and didn't really need to have come any earlier or stay longer. She had been here many times with Haruka anyway. But still, the young man struggled slightly with the three heavy bags. With a grunt, the bell boy carefully placed the bags and violin case on the floor just inside the spacious and opulent room.
The young man looked at her expectently, waiting for her to say whether or not she wanted the bags to remain where they were or to be placed inside the bedroom. With a soft smile, Michiru walked up and handed him several Italian lires for his services. "It's alright, I can take it from here," she said in almost flawless, cultured Italian. "Thank you for everything, and good night."
The young man looked into her eyes, completely mesmerized as he accepted the tip. "You are most welcome, Miss. Kaiou...bella..." Realizing what he just said to such a famous woman, the young man blushed and stammered. "Oh my! I didn't mean...that is...I was only complimenting..."
"It's alright, don't worry!" Michiru couldn't help chuckling at the bell boy's obvious embarrassment. "I appreciate your kind words. Now, it's rather late. If I need anything, I will call." So used to compliments from men, Michiru barely noticed when she did get looks and attention from them....except when they embarrassed themselve the way this young man did.
"Of course!" The young brown haired man bowed deeply. "I hope you will have a good rest. Italy is always happy to welcome you! Bonne Noche!" With another last bow, the young man man exited the room, closing the door carefully behind him.
When he was gone, Michiru sighed and softly and shook her head, sending her aqua-colored hair down all over her shoulders as she took it out of her loose ponytail. Once again, she had become the object of boyhood's imagination of the ideal woman. Many a time, both young and older men had been completely enthralled by her beauty, her grace, her talent, and her charm. From since an early age, she had gotten used to being the center of attention of the opposite sex. Even her father, one of the most powerful and influential businessmen in Europe, as well as Japan, had been known to sometimes flaunt his beautiful daughter in front of many audiences....almost as if he was rubbing in their faces of what an ideal daughter and woman should be. And for as long as she could remember, she had always HATED that!
She quickly took off her coat, hung it in her closet, and deciding she would unpack everything in the morning...as it was already so late...she headed for the bedroom. She shook of her shoes and sat on the bed, just enjoying taking a rest after traveling for so long. *I swear, Italy gets farther and farther away everytime I come here* she thought tiredly to herself. But moments later, she thought of her father, Kaiou Ryou, again. Because of his flaunting, Michiru had developed a strained and distant relationship with him. To the point of her almost hating him. He always wanted her to be perfect, to be ladylike...to be what HE expected a young lady...especially HIS daughter...to be. Strictness didn't even begin to describe the man. Everything had to be done his way and his way alone, and that included the raising of his daughter. Even Michiru's poor and miserable mother had no say in it. In fact, Michiru's mother had no say in practically anything. The woman was merely a trophy wife, agreeing to whatever her husband said and bending to his power and will. Over the years, Michiru had seen how more and more miserable her mother was with her father. She had been forced to marry him, bond by the old Japanese tradition and protocal.
At that time, she had thought that Michiru's father really loved her, but as the years went by, the woman realized it was only money and power the man loved, nothing more. But bond by tradition, Michiru's mother had no choice but to stay in the loveless marriage. The absolute misery, depression and physical and emotional abuse she has lived with since then slowly ate away at her beauty and health, leaving her as almost a shadow of her former, beautiful self. But one day, she vowed she would return for her mother...if she survived. As soon as Michiru was old enough by Japanese law...and had mysteriously began having her dreams of the Silence and getting her henshion stick as if by magic, the first thing she did was move out of the expensive and big mansion she lived in with her parents. She had enough of the forcing of snobby tutors and music teachers...had enough of her father's disapproving stare. She didn't want to go to another boring and stuffy "rich" party to flunt her looks or another new dress. She was tired of her father emotional put downs of what a disappointment she was...tired of all the suitors he tried to force on her...young men just like himself.
When she moved out on her own, Michiru had vowed never to let another man treat her the way her father treated her or her mother. It was then she realized that it was NOT money that made anyone happy and rich. It was the love and true feelings you shared with someone, regardless of wealth. When she finally got out into the world, Michiru had never been happier, living the "normal" life...eating normal foods, talking with normal people, going to normal schools, having normal friends...and sharing her life with a normal person she cared for very much.
At that thought, Michiru smiled sweetly and laid back on her bed. Haruka was unable to come with her at the almost last minute trip, but she knew better than anything that her partner and confidant was thinking about her across the great distance of time. From ever since she saw her for the first time...when she learned about her, Haruka was almost a savior to her. The blonde haired racer taught her what it was like to really live life. Haruka was the one who taught her that it was alright to trust people, to love them, to be loved, and to accept her destiny as a Sailor Senshi and fighter for the future. Granted, Haruka wasn't exactly the way she was then as she was now, but with Michiru's guidance, the two accepted what they are now...fighters for justice, fighters for the future...and together, and almost unbeatable force. The two shared a completely unique and emotional bond that most people...even couples..could even dream of. Nothing could have shaken it or break it...that is..until Kaze Yumemeno showed up.
At the thought of him, a slight anger entered Michiru, then went away as quickly as it came. Admittedly, Michiru couldn't help the feeling of jealously and anger when almost out of nowhere, Yume...or rather now...Knight Uranus, had shown up and saved the blonde racer's life from an attack by one of the left over demons. Never in her life had she imagined that she would actually almost have to "share" Haruka with anyone...except of course with Setsuna and Hotaru, but this was completely different. There were so many times and things she and Haruka did and shared alone..things she never did with anyone else, and now Haruka finally accepted her feelings for Yume..and she would be sharing those things with him. Michiru sighed. But through all of that, even though Haruka was with Yume in Japan racing in another tournement, she knew that she will always have a place in Haruka's heart, a place that even her love for Yume would never replace. They had already shared so much...been through so much...that even the presence of the Knight from Uranus could not erase it.
With that comforting thought, Michiru sat up again. Suddenly, she wasn't tired anymore. She was restless. Perhaps she should practice her piece for the celebration, maybe that would get her tired and finally get some rest. She got up and slowly walked back to the living room section of the hotel room. She walked over to where her bags were, and carefully picked up her violin case. At the site of her precious and priceless violin, another thought entered her mind. There would be so many other top rated, world wide performers there. Would she be able to be as good as they are....as top rated as they were? She had performed so many times already, but this was more then even SHE did. Everyone would be looking at her, waiting to see if she would mess up. Perhaps practicing wouldn't be so bad.
She then thought of the one violin performer she had only recently found out would be performing too. The world famous and uncomparable Yamamoto Hiroshi. No one in recent history was able to match his album sales record or how many awards he has won because of his matchless performances. For nearly a year, Michiru had admired his style, his playing...and pure emotion and passion he played with. Granted, she never really kept up with his career or studied much on him, but he was definitely someone she looked up to and admired...for his violin playing of course. *I really wonder if I'll even get to meet him during the concert.* Michiru thought to herself. She then sighed. *Impossible! What am I thinking? I've only been playing professionally for about two years. He's been playing for nearly ten. He wouldn't want to meet an amateur like me.*
With that, Michiru carefully picked up her violin and walked towards the immense balcony a few feet away to the right. Teal-colored curtains blew about in the mild Italian night air as she opened the glass sliding door and stepped out. The night was cloudless, and a bright, crescent moon hung in the sky, giving more light to the already illuminated Italian city. She closed her eyes for a moment to let the breeze...filled with the many scents of the watery streets..filled her senses. When she was calm enough, she took a deep breath, and began to softly play a few beautiful notes on her violin.
Unknown to her, another figure stepped out in the balcony from the room almost right next to hers, and intrigued, began to watch her play.
For a few moments, Michiru just played freestyle on her violin, letting her fingers play their own notes. The rich, soft sound of her playing filled the night air about the busy ongoings down below. Her eyes still closed, Michiru let her connections to the oceans guide the music of her violin, almost as if her hands had a mind of their own. She never even bothered to think about the piece she was to play. This was her time...her music, and she allowed her emotions and her mental link to the seas evelope her, to fill her with the sounds of the ocean itself and play it.
Then suddenly, another sound filled the air near her. At first, with her eyes closed, Michiru thought it was merely her own thought playing along with her music, but it suddenly took a life of it's own, as if the new music playing was comforting her...playing another with her in it's game. She opened her eyes then, almost stopping playing, and turned to where where this other beautiful violin playing was coming from.
Her eyes widened slightly when she saw a young men in the large balcony not too far away from her playing an elaborate looking violin. He was of average size...about five feet eight inches or taller...a couple inches taller than herself. With the bright lights of the stars and the moonlight, Michiru could see he had his eyes closed, and they opened just as she settled looking on his face. He had thick, very dark brown hair that was nearly past his shoulders, and his eyes were grey...very grey. So grey in fact, it instantly reminded her of the color of the ocean right before a raging storm during the day. A grey that when it wanted, it can be cold and steely, but can also be the grey of calmness and intelligence. His face was handsomely formed, but not overly so. It was a face that can be trusted, yet when pushed far enough or aggravated, can be very deadly....just like the very seas itself. He was wearing a form-fitting white short and denim jeans that outlined his slightly muscular body perfectly.
For a moment, the two looked at each other, but instead of stopping, they continued to play the beautiful music they had somehow created together. *My God...I think it's him! I think it's Hiroshi-san!* Michiru thought excitedly to herself. Excitement filling her soul, she smiled softly at him and continued playing her music along with him. For long moments, the two played on, oblivious to the world around them, except to each other. Furiously they played, each trying to get more and more from the other. Then finally, they ended in a beautiful, soft finally, sweat pouring down their foreheards from the force of their playing. With the last note, the two let their hands holding the violin bow down, and they simply looked at each other, instantly feeling a connection. But for Michiru, it was a moment of reflection. How could he have known her style so well? How could he have such a connection to the feelings and the emotions of the seas as she does? So many thoughts entered her mind then, and she resolved that somehow, she would find out.
After a moment and taking a deep breath, Michiru was the first to break the silence. "That...that was amazing! How did you do that? I never...played with someone like that before..."
"Indeed," the young man said, smiling as his deep and cultured voice carried over to her. "The same with me. This has been one of my most exciting nights." He then bowed slightly. "I am Yamamoto Hiroshi. And who, lovely angel, might you be?"
"OH!" Michiru couldn't for her life stop the blush stained her cheeks. She cleared her throat, and graciously bowed back. "Forgive me. I am Kaiou Michiru. Oh yes, I know who you are. I've been long an admirer of your work and music. It's an honor..."
"Kaiou Michiru?" Hiroshi interrupted. "THEE Kaiou Michiru?" He threw his head back and laughed a short, soft laugh. "This is indeed a most special night! You don't know how long I've been wanting to meet you."
Michiru's eyes widened. "Meet....me?"
"Of course my lady! I have followed your career and your music from ever since you came onto the music scene. I have longed admired your style...your utter connection to seas and the mysteries of life. It was almost as if your music spoke to me...beckoned me..." At Michiru's embarrassed look, Hiroshi chuckled again. "Please, let us go inside my room and talk a little bit. I believe my room might be next to yours." He bowed. "It would give me great pleasure, Kaiou-san."
Still in slight awe, Michiru could only nod her head. When the young man nodded and headed back inside his room, she finally shook herself out of her stupor, and hurried inside. *Oh my God, Yamamoto Hiroshi, here, in this hotel? What were the chances in that? Oh please, don't let him be like those snobs my father forced me to date!* So busy was she in her frantic dash to accept reservations and catch her flight, she never bothered to check on who was also staying at the hotel..much less her idol. This was the biggest surprise of her life!
She quickly slipped on her shoes, smoothed her cotton, Summer-colored dress, and rushed out her door to the hotel room just a little ways down from hers. Fortunately, it was the late hour, and many of the other guests were already in their rooms for the night, so there would be little chance of talk. Taking a deep breath, she softly knocked on the door. It immediately opened to reveal Hiroshi, smiling gently. "Please, come in," he invited with light bow.
Inside Hiroshi's room, Michiru sat down at the end of the large, comfortable couch and listened with interest as Hiroshi told her just a little bit of his life and career. He had also been born to wealthy parents, but unlike her own, they had genuinely loved and cared about one another, and they built their fortune on hard, honest work and trust in one another. He had one little sister that sadly died in a boating accident at the age of five, and he and his family had not stopped mourning since.
"I'm sorry..." Michiru breathed out, a hand on her chest.
"No, it's alright, please," he said. "It was many years ago. From since then, my parents and I have done many things to help less fortunate children and orphans find happy homes. She will always live through them." Although the memory misted his eyes slightly, he smiled. "But I would really like to get know you more. Tell me a little about you.
Michiru smiled back, and was about to say something when the bells from a nearby church began ringing. She then looked at her watch, and with a tiny gasp, stood up. "I'm so sorry, I didn't realize it was so late! I really have to get going. The concert is tomorrow afternoon and I still need to practice!" She looked apologetically at him. "I'm sorry Hiroshi, but we'll have to talk another time...."
"Oh yes, of course...please, when can I see you again? Perhaps if I had your number?" The young musician gave her a hopeful look. Although he had only known her a short while, he was already captivated with her. He had to get to know her. At first, it was just because of her music. Now...it was something more, something he could barely understand. Never before had he felt this way about a woman. He looked deep into her eyes pleadingly.
Michiru smiled playfully, and was just about to tell him that she was already seeing someone...just as she had many times before when snobby men asked her out, and she thought of Haruka...but then the image of Yume also entered her mind, and she lowered her head. *Oh Haruka...I miss you already!* she thought to herself. She then looked back up at Hiroshi and saw the raw emotion she felt then...emotion that all of a sudden, mirrored her own. What was this feeling? Did he really want to get to know her? All of a sudden, that idea didn't seem so bad. "We'll see...soon. But for right now, I have to bid you good night." With that, she hurried out, her heart racing in her chest at the sudden, unfamiliar sensation she was feeling, and closing the door behind her.
When she was gone, Hiroshi sighed to himself, the image of Michiru forever burned in his brain. He had never even had a chance to say goodnight back or anything. It was almost as if she was....afraid. He was about to follow her back to her room, but thought better about it. He headed for his room, but never saw the shadow that entered through the balcony.
With a sob, Michiru collasped upon her bed, a tear escaping her eye. *What is wrong with me? How come I didn't tell him about Haruka? Why did I suddenly feel that way towards him just now? He's...he's my idol for God's sake!* Emotionals rushed through her then, emotions she never thought she would feel or consider for anyone else. Maybe...maybe if she talked to Haruka about it, it'll help. But her thought were then interrupted as a frightened cry suddenly erupted to fill the hotel's hallway. At the sound and pitch of the cry, Michiru immediately knew who it was. "Hiroshi!" she shouted.
She jumped up and immediately and rushed out of her room, and when she was standing in front of Hiroshi's door, she kicked it open. What she saw made her cry out in surprise and fear. A clawed hand around Hiroshi's throat, a hideous, purple skinned demon with razor sharp teeth and black horns circling his head looked up from the entrance of the musician's room. It was straddled over the young man and looked about ready to put the final squeeze around his throat to end his life.
When the creature saw her, it's eyes widened and it bared it's teeth. When it had rushed into the room, intending to rip it's target's heart out, it had found this young, worthless human instead. The human male was not it's target, but it was still hoping to cause some mayhem. Now, as it sniffed, it knew it's target had finally appeared, and it growled deep in it's throat at the thought of it's victory where it's Master failed.
His eyes nearly shut, Hiroshi turned his head slightly to Michiru, and in a raspy voice, choked out "Michiru! Run...get out!" But Michiru was barely able to move at the site she was seeing, much less run for her life. Seeing that, the creature finally let go of the violinist, and rushed after Michiru. With a startled cry, the young woman finally moved and ducked out of the way just as the demon was nearly upon her. But she barely had time to stand up again as it rushed at her again, howling it's fury. This time, he was able to tackle her to the ground.
Anger suddenly setting in at how this monster had ruin such a beautiful night, Michiru balled her fist and smashed it into it's face. The demon howled in pain as it was flew back a few feet. Breathing hard, Michiru stood on her feet and scowled at it. "That is one mistake you will regret!" she breathed out dangerously. So angry was she at this...thing..this monster that had invaded her private moment, her time, that she barely noticed Hiroshi's eyes slowly flutter open from the semi-counsciousness he was in. Without a second thought, Michiru reached behind her and produced her henshin wand, thinking Hiroshi was still knocked out. With a clear, confident voice, she yelled out "NEPTUNE CRYSTAL POWER...MAKE UP!"
For a few seconds, the room was illuminated as Michiru's clothes transformed into the fuku that would make her the power Sailor Neptune. Trying not to move too much, Hiroshi gasped in surprise as he brought his hand to his throat "Mi..Michiru?"
But no more could be said as the monster screamed out once more and rushed her. Neptune jumped high and expertly over it's head as he rushed by and smashed into the opposite wall, leaving a slightly body indent. With an angry scowl, Neptune lifted her leg and was about to deal a hefty blow to the demon's back, but suddenly, it quickly recovered and turned around just in time. It caught her leg, and as she gave a short screamed, twirl her around once and smashed her into the wall near the balcony. The Senshi of the Seas groaned in pain as she wiped away a trickle of blood from her lips. Her body shaking, she stood up on her feet, and raised her hand in the air. "D..DEEP...SUBMER..."
But she never got to finish as the demon roared loudly again and rushed at her. It's clawed hand balled in a fist, it punched Neptune in the face hard, nearly rendering her unconscious. When Hiroshi saw that, he eyes flew wide open. "MICHIRU!" he screamed out, somehow finding the strength to stand.
Neptune barely heard him, she was so much in pain, she struggled to get up again, but only collapsed. Suddenly, she saw Hiroshi throw himself on the back of the monster. As it roared loudly and flayed it's arms about, Neptune's eyes widened. "Hiroshi? Hiroshi, NO!" she yelled out. She struggled to her feet and took a step forward.
But the brown-haired musician didn't hear her. He was using all the strength he had left to subdue the monster. Again and again he was smashing his fists in the demon's back and shoulders, making it howl louder with pain. Then, a moment later, something happened that would forever change their lives.
An all new power entered Hiroshi then, a power that somehow, he knew was buried deep inside him....a power that was waiting until this very moment to be released. Harder and harder he punched the demon, until he could almost feel the blood on his hands. Suddenly, his body began to glow with a soft light, and at that moment, Hiroshi understood what the power meant...understood what he was.
Memories slammed into his brain then, of a time long ago that people thought was now a myth. A time of peace and where humans and other being inhabited all of the planet of the Solar System. He remembered how the greatly intelligent and talented, yet shy and gentle princess of the breathtaking planet of Neptune had captured his heart when he had been assigned to be her guardian, how they first had a strong friendship that grew with time. Unlike the other princesses of the Outer planets..as well as the Inner, she had graciously accepted him as her protecter, knowing how important it was to Queen Serenity and her family....
But whatever more memories were coming was quickly interrupted as the demon then buckled under Hiroshi's onslaught, and harshly threw him off it's back. Hiroshi landed with a heavy thud. But by then, the bright and shining symbol of the planet Neptune was shining on his forehead, bathing the room in a soft glow.
There was then a sudden flash that lasted a couple of seconds that made Neptune shield her eyes, and when it finally died down, Hiroshi stood tall and firm, fully energized with a fierce, determined look on his face. Instead of the regular shirt and jean, he now wore a suit of a warrior much like the one Knight Uranus wore, if memory served Sailor Neptune correctly. Instead of the noble blue of Uranus, Hiroshi's colors were a vibrant light green and teal, somewhat like her own colors. Metal platings covered his arms, chest, elbows, and knees, and the underlining of his flapping cape was a deep silver tinged with green.
He blinked, then regarded the creature before him that was about to rush again. "Unholy presence, prepare to be punished for the chaos you have caused. Ushered in by the New Age, I am Knight Neptune, and the rage of the seas shall be your end!" His voice was clear and strong, revibrating throughout the whole room. He raised his hand, and there was bright flash of light. A trident...this one slightly larger than Uranus's...appeared in his hands. In the middle of it was the teal-colored sign of Neptune.
He brought his hand down, and pointing it to the creature, shouted out "NEPTUNE...TSUNAMAI WAVES OF DESTRUCTION!" Immediately, the trident glowed a bright aqua color, and the image of the sea and crashing waves swirled around the top of it for a moment. Then, there was another flash, and the image suddenly turned real and blasted out straight towards the demon. It screamed in fright and surprised as the energy sea energy slammed into him. There was a high pitch wail of pain, and with a loud bang, the creature exploded, and the sound of the crashing seas echoed in the background....